Losing Lee School


Robbinsdale citizens and businesses responded with over $14,000 for new uniforms for the Marching Band so it could parade smartly in the Aquatennial Parade. Howard Groenke of First Robbinsdale Bank and Warren Thompson of Guaranty Bank were in charge of the fund raising.

In March, Applebaum’s Grocery was one of the first stores to open in the new mall between Montgomery Wards and the Terrace Theater. The land was obtained from Wards and the theater by American Income Properties of Illinois and a mutual parking agreement was made. George Murad, manager of Montgomery Ward, said, “the additional shops were welcome and portend great things for the business growth and expansion in Robbinsdale, Robbinsdale being an active, living, viable community.” Interest in the new Wards- Terrace Mall increased after Duff’s Smorgasboard and the Time-Out Arcade opened in 1982.

In May, the Robbinsdale Historical Society put on a beautiful display of antiques and historical pictures in Robbin Gallery. Again, in May, 1982, the display was enlarged and featured “Toys and Tools of Yesteryear” and on May 13, the Robbinsdale Concert Band played for the Open House. The display also featured the paintings of William LaBissoniere and Einar Dahl.

The Robbinsdale City Band, both Concert and Marching, gave two memorable concerts. One on May 28 and the other on October 22 in the high school auditorium in celebration of its 75th year. It dates its beginning to a 1906 concert by the Grenell Minstrels. A slide show reviewing Robbinsdale history was narrated by Wayne Murphey. Roger Thompson conducted

Lee School, the oldest elementary school, was closed because of decline ing enrollment in the school district. Much opposition to the closing surfaced in Robbinsdale. David and Barbara Southward, Duane and Karen Friederich,  Sue Leland and John Holtz led the fight to save Lee School because Lee had the the least amount of enrollment decline and the best facilities ( cafeteria, theater, gymnasium) of’ any grade school in the district. The town was in turmoil, but the school was closed.

One last game of 4 square at Lee School in 1981.

By the fall of 1981, two thirds of the residents of School District 281 were angry when the school board was thinking of closing Cooper High School in New Hope and keeping Armstrong High School open, the newest but most expensive-to-operate school. The voters had approved an 8.5 mill increase because of the dire financial straits of the schools and could not understand keeping Armstrong open. Hundreds attended school board meetings. At first it was feared Robbinsdale High School would be closed but it was the only school in the eastern half of the district, the least expensive to operate and Superintendent Hood recommended that it remain open.

In December, Helen Schoenheider opened her beautifully Christmas decorated home for tour groups as a way to raise money for various organizations. Many church groups, the Robbinsdale Historical Society, the Monticello Historical Society, several antique clubs, the Flower Show Judges Council, a bottle club and many other groups visited her home over a two weeks period. Mrs. Schoenheider had been president of the Diggers Club in 1974 and 1975, and had won many flower arrangement awards.

This post is part of a series loosely based on the book Robbinsdale Then and Now by Helen Blodgett.