Central School

The first thing that strikes the viewer is the neatness of the handwriting. In marked contrast to the greetings found on most postcards, the strokes are smooth and elegant, and as straight as if they had been written on lined paper. Then we read the letter and realize that it was written by a teacher, addressed to another in Russell, MN.

Dear Miss Dickerman:--The other side will show you where I am at present. I just met a girl from Balaton and she was somewhat familiar with Russell so that recalled past experiences and I had to drop a line. I heard a Russell wedding took place recently.

So Miss Hipple has my room this year. Well I wish her good luck, (tell her so for me). I have just a fine school this year altho it is awfully large. I have 46 enrolled 5th and 6th grades.

With love from
Frieda Schumacher

(Let me hear from you)

Central School was awfully large! One-hundred twenty-seven feet tall, it was constructed in 1868 to alleviate the increasing shortage of classroom space in Rochester. It dominated the Rochester skyline for decades. That is, until Sept 1, 1910, when the school caught fire in spectacular fashion and all but the lower two floors were destroyed. What's curious is that the postcard is dated Oct 3, 1910, just one month and two days after the fire--and Miss Schumacher makes no mention of it!

The school continued to operate as an elementary school in what remained of the building's lower half. In 1911, Coffman High School was erected nearby to replace the lost classroom space. In the 1940s, the old school became the Mayo Museum of Hygiene and Medicine. The Mayo Clinic's Mayo Building now stands on the site.

The Mayo Museum of Hygiene and Medicine was said to have been one of the finest collections of historic medical equipment and lore. Medical students came from all over the country to walk its exhibits. Sadly, the medical museum is no more, its collections relegated to the Mayo archives and warehouses. The old school building ceased to exist in 1953, when Mayo Clinic began construction of their new clinic building on the site.