Independent School District No. 152 had its origins in a subscription school founded in Moorhead, Minnesota in 1872. It only had a life of two months, but later that year a permanent five-month school was started and housed in the Presbyterian Church.
On April 15, 1873, a school district was organized. The members of the first school board were James Douglas, president; Andrew Holes, treasurer; and James H. Sharp, clerk. James H. Sharp remained prominent on the Board of Education until 1905 and is remembered as the father of the Moorhead Public Schools.
On September 15, 1879, Moorhead Independent School District No. 2 was organized. The first graduate of Moorhead High School was Mathias Forsberg in 1883.
In 1880 Sharp School was built on the present site of Townsite Centre on Eighth Street. In 1894 the school was completely rebuilt. It served Moorhead students until 1921 when it was torn down and Moorhead High School, now Townsite Centre, was built. The school served students until the current high school was built in 1967.
In 1955, District No. 2 merged with other districts in the area to form Independent School District 152.
Moorhead High School has had the Spud mascot — also known as Spuddy — since the early 1920s. The name Spuds was adopted between 1918 and 1922. The area has a history of potato farming and at least one school was built on former potato farmland. In 2004, the Spud mascot was adopted district wide.
The digital archives website for Moorhead Area Public Schools features more than 100 years of Spud history, including high school yearbooks, school newspapers, team photos, programs from music and sporting events, and game film dating back to the 1950s. A joint project between Moorhead Area Public Schools and the Moorhead Schools Legacy Foundation, the website contains more than 25,000 images and will be expanded over time.
In addition to the website, touch screens with the same information are located in the lobby of the Moorhead High School gymnasium and the lobby of Horizon Middle School’s Performing Arts Center.
With a history spanning more than 140 years, the story of Moorhead Area Public Schools is detailed on a 50-foot-long historical timeline in the lobby of Horizon Middle School’s Performing Arts Center.
The first three decades of the school district’s history are included in a single panel, but beginning in 1910 each decade has its own panel. In addition to the panels, historical items are displayed.
The inspiration for the project stems from the 2003 School Naming Task Force, which proposed that previous schools be honored in a display. The idea re-emerged with the creation of the 2016 School Naming Task Force. The task force conducted research into district history as part of its charge to name the new buildings being constructed.
The history wall project was a joint venture between Moorhead Area Public Schools and the Moorhead Schools Legacy Foundation with funding provided by Hornbacher’s and Matthew and Janelle Leiseth.
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