A History of Mounds View 1895-2020

Project by Morgan Dalton and Josie Mackenthun


On the corner of Hodgson and Turtle Lake, the first school in what would become the Mounds View district was founded. It would eventually become known as Turtle Lake. It was open until the 40s, until low enrollment closed the school and it was demolished. Later on, the Turtle Lake Elementary School currently attended by students was built in a new location.

Image from Google Maps.


Six Ramsey County school districts combined to form one larger district that would eventually feed directly into Mounds View.


Mounds View High School was built.

Image from 1955 Mounds View High School Yearbook.


Irondale High School opened.

Image from the Minneapolis Star.


For the first time, girls were allowed to participate in non-contact boys sports.

Image from the Minneapolis Tribune.


Chippewa Middle School was completed.

Image from the Minneapolis Star.


Further additions were made to elementary schools to address air quality issues and overcrowding.

Image from Mounds View School District Webpage.


The district continues to expand and additions are currently being made to accommodate over 11,000 students within the district.

Image from Mounds View School District Webpage.

Then and Now

High school in the modern era seems pretty standard, but even just a couple of decades ago, Mounds View was different.

Students are always in contact with their schools now, from daily emails to digital grade books, but in the past, this was not the case. Schools used newspapers as a way to convey information to their students. They would publish the week’s lunches in the paper as a means of communicating with their students. They would also announce PTA meetings and recreational activities in local papers.

While school-run activities are entirely focused on students today, previously, recreational programs extended beyond students, to classes for adults within the community. These classes included “Charm and Figure Control,” “Creative Greeting Cards” and “Millinery,” a type of hat making.

Despite the changes technology has brought to schools, there are some similarities from the 20th century to the 21st. The 1994 yearbook includes a short article about graphing calculators. This was the first time almost all students owned one of these ― as the article states ― “zany” devices. Similarly, before smart boards, teachers used TVs on rolling carts. English teacher Gretchen Nesset remembers watching the events of 9/11 on one of these. “We got a TV on a cart just in time to see the second plane and it was just crazy stuff… we knew, especially in a world of kids, we knew the world had changed forever for them,” Nesset said.

While some things have changed; others have not, like the stresses high school brings. Teenagers have been struggling with mental health for a long time. Though it was less emphasized than it is now, it was still discussed, albeit on a much smaller scale. Since the 1980s, mental health has been on the mind of the Mounds View District, and surveys from the period show students struggling with mental health.

Students today feel like there are no adequate mental health resources, and while there is limited information on how students felt then, it is clear this issue has been brought to the forefront as time has marched on. Counselors in the 80s functioned much like deans do today; they helped students change classes and provided a middle person between parents, students and teachers. However, they did not provide mental health services.

While technology has made several changes to the way schools and students communicate, there are aspects of high school that have not changed in decades. As schools continue to evolve, one thing is for certain: no one can predict what high school will be like in the future.

Images from left to right: the Star Tribune, the Minneapolis Star, and the Minneapolis Star.

Senior Pranks

In 1999 students streak during homecoming football game. In the cold and sleet, around 30 students ran across the field naked during halftime. This celebration was a semi-regular tradition at Mounds View, and added quite a bit to the homecoming experience.

One year seniors decided to play dress-up for their prank, “On the last senior day all the boys wore suits, all the girls dressed up, and they walked out with style and it was absolutely wonderful.”

100 crickets were released in the ceiling tiles at the end of the school year.

Image from the Star Tribune.

Before the construction that wiped out Mounds View’s circle drive, some seniors decided to spray paint the large white statue that sat in the center of the loop.

One graduating class decided to take over the parking lot for a day by convincing other students that the parking lot was for seniors only that day. Using some fantastic forgery techniques and creativity, they cleared the parking lot. “[The seniors] got a piece of school letterhead and forged the principal's signature...and they wrote a very official sounding letter and they handed it out to all the underclassmen [saying] that since the next day was the seniors’ last day, they wanted to give the seniors the whole parking lot. No underclassmen were supposed to drive to school, and of course it’s Mounds View kids: All of them follow the rules,” said English teacher Gretchen Nesset.

Image from the Minneapolis Star.

Some pigs were released labeled 1, 2 and 4 so administration spent hours looking for a 3.

In further parking themed antics, seniors set up a Craigslist page for a parking monitor’s car, with Mounds View’s office as the contact phone number. According to Nesset, they included a clever description of the car’s many features, such as a “big trunk spacious enough for cones and boots,” and the car having “one seat that was all worn in from lots of sitting.”

Image created by Jenna Stellmack.


Created with an image by Jason Dent - "Tennis Court Texture "