School boundaries had beginnings in 1800s
Information reprinted from
1986 Brooklyn Center Sun-Post supplement.
Why is Brooklyn Center divided into four school districts
is a question frequently asked.
And the answer is that the division goes back a long time, to the mid-1800s, long before Brooklyn Center was incorporated as a village in 1911. “The local rural folks could create a district and have it approved by the county board at any time,” said Warren Olson. Olson teaches social studies at Brooklyn Center High School and wrote his master’s thesis on the history of Brooklyn Center School District 286, which includes the Earle Brown School and Brooklyn Center High. OLSON SAID that by the time Brooklyn Center was incorporated as a village in 1911, the present four school district boundaries already existed.
Today, most children attend Osseo District 279 schools. Brooklyn Center School District 286 is wholly contained in Brooklyn Center. Children who live in the northeastern part of the city attend Anoka-Hennepin District 11, and those who live in the southwestern part of Brooklyn Center attend Robbinsdale District 281 schools.
Brooklyn Center District 286 began in 1877 as District 118. “The other districts preceded ours,” Olson said. “They probably go back to the late 1850s to 1870s. The districts as we know them today came only after World War II. A Hennepin County School Survey Committee was established in the fall of 1947. Its purpose was to look at the existing structure of school districts in the county. All counties in the state were looking at school consolidation.”
Going back to 1911, there were four schools that children living here attended:
• Benson, which became part of Anoka-Hennepin District 11 after the school survey report was completed, was just outside the Brooklyn Center border in Brooklyn Park at 73rd and W. River Road.
• Twin Lake School, 49th and Brooklyn Blvd., which voluntarily joined the Robbinsdale District before the study was made. The building is still standing and is owned by Al-Anon.
• Brooklyn Center School, 7100 Brooklyn Blvd., which joined the Osseo District after the study was made. Later, this was the location of the Willow Lane Annex, and was purchased by the village in 1960 for village offices. When city offices moved to 6301 Shingle Creek Parkway, the building was converted by the Brooklyn Center Jaycees for use by the Community Emergency Assistance Program (CEAP). The building burned in 1980.
• The Cap Martin School on the Earle Brown Farm, which was moved to 59th and Humboldt in 1917 next to a new two-room schoolhouse, the forerunner and present location of the Earle Brown School.
OLSON SAID that a preliminary report of the school survey committee suggested the Benson and Earle Brown Schools be consolidated, but that never came to be. “Earle Brown had a density of population and was close to the Minneapolis border. Benson successfully petitioned to join with the Anoka High School district. Also suggested in the report, after Benson went with Anoka, was that Earle Brown be in the Robbinsdale District, but the county study committee said there was very little chance of that being accomplished then, possibly later, “ Olson said.
Very few children went on to high school back in 1911. The only high school to accommodate them in the northern part of Minneapolis was North High School. Irving School, which was the forerunner of Anoka High School and included all grades, was built in 1866. Students in the Osseo District attended Osseo High School, built in 1926, before Park Center opened it doors in 1971. Roots of the district go back to 1858. Robbinsdale High School was built in 1936, and Brooklyn Center High in 1961. Although there was talk of that part of the Anoka District in Brooklyn Center joining Brooklyn Center District 286 back in the 1970s, the only crack in school district boundaries occurred last fall when Anoka students entering grades 10, 11 and 12 were allowed to attend Brooklyn Center High in a new five-year agreement between the two districts.