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A hundred years later: The Larsmont School

Kids from a third-grade class at Congdon Elementary sit in the Larsmont School during a recent field trip. Photo by Ken Vogel.

Ken Vogel

The historic schoolhouse in Larsmont that stood in silence over the long winter came to life suddenly with the sounds of children laughing and playing this spring, On May 29, the little red schoolhouse was bustling with activity as third-grade students from the Congdon Park Elementary School participated in a pioneer day field trip.

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Thirty-two children filled the one room schoolhouse with laughter and tapping feet in anticipation of the trek back in time to the early 1900s. Calculators and computers were replaced with slate boards and chalk, and the bathroom down the hall was instead an outhouse out back.

“This is the largest class I have ever had her,” said Marge Fisher, the third-grade teacher at Congdon Elementary. It was also the final class for Fisher as she is planning to retire.

“I have been doing this for 25 years now and it has always been so much fun,” she said of the field trip to the old one-room schoolhouse.

According to Fisher, the students are assigned homework to learn about pioneer history prior to the field trip, so they have a little background before the living history lesson.

“I love history, so this has been one of my favorite outings,” Fisher said. “I have had so many students come back to tell me their memories about the field trip.”

Fisher said the objective of the entire day is to discover the past. On the day of the field trip, the boys dress in knickers with button up shirts and the girls wear dresses with aprons and bonnets. The accompanying parents must also dress accordingly.

The benches around the classroom were adorned with pails and baskets covered with towels containing era-appropriate lunches: fruits, nuts, jams and water or milk made up the meal du jour.

“I am sure it was real strict back then,” said third-grader Grace Beaster.  “I like how it is not a big building with so many people and so many distractions,” she added. Her favorite part of the trip? The fashion.

“I really like wearing the clothes, especially the bonnet,” she said.

Michael Kastelic, another third-grader, said he would like to have more field trips like the Larsmont one.

“Back then, they must have had so much fun. They had smaller classes and classmates knew everyone well,” he said.

This year’s field trip holds special significance for the students and the little red school house: The Larsmont School will be holding its centennial celebration Aug. 23-24.

The two-day event will include an ice cream social, a variety of food vendors, several arts/crafts vendors (including handmade jewelry from the 1900s).

There will also be a church service on Aug. 23 conducted by Pastor Jim Joseph of the Living Waters Church in Two Harbors.

During the two-day centennial event, people will have the option of taking the North Shore Scenic Railroad from Duluth to Two Harbors. The train will deposit its passengers in Larsmont where the old train depot once stood, just across from the Mocha Moose.

Marlys Wisch, the Larsmont Community Club Centennial Committee chairperson, said the committee will shuttle people between the platform and the schoolhouse. The members of the committee hope to honor the culture and history by using a horse-drawn carriage as transportation.

For more information of this event contact Marlys Wisch at (218) 834-5988 or check online for updates and a schedule at