Behind the Victory Flagpole — the history of Loring School

This article was written by guest writer Jodie Walters



Loring Community School is currently a Pre-K through 5th grade elementary school located in the Victory neighborhood at 2600 44″ Ave. N., very near the Victory Memorial Drive.

It started out in 1924 as a wooden portable. The original school was only two rooms but a couple more were added in 1925, and again in 1926. Then in 1928 the cornerstone was laid for the two-story brick structure that still stands today. It was heated by steam from two low-pressure boilers, hand fired by coal.

In the early days students went home for lunch but over time that changed. In 1977 the original gymnasium was turned into a dedicated lunchroom, and a new gymnasium and a media center were added on to the building. Also, the building design’s U-shaped center was filled in to make use of the space.

The school property consists of 4.58 acres and sits adjacent to Victory Park, which is used by the school as a playground. Improvements continue; plans for the 2019-2020 school year include a new more safe and secure entrance, and air conditioning throughout the building. These projects will be followed by kitchen and lunchroom upgrades.

The school is named after Charles M. Loring (1833-1922) known as the “Father of the Minneapolis Park System.” He was a mill owner with many other business ventures who was a very civic-minded individual. Despite his many accomplishments, he is remembered most for his love of trees and parks. He especially believed in the importance of parks to children, and was among the first to push for children’s playground equipment in Minneapolis parks so that children would have safe places to play.

It was Charles Loring who had the idea for the Victory Memorial Drive to honor the Hennepin County war dead from World War I. He paid for the elm trees and gave money for the up-keep of the drive. When the Minneapolis school district decided to build a school near the Victory Memorial Drive, it seemed only fitting to name it after Charles Loring.

In 2005 the Victory Neighborhood Association launched a “Lincolns for Lincoln” campaign toward the restoration of the Lincoln statue (located in a small park across from the central memorial plaza with its granite monument and flagpole). Loring School students solicited donations of “Lincoin currency” (pennies and five dollar bills). This was a historic nod to the Grand Army of the Republic’s original campaign to acquire the statue, during which Loring School students were asked to contribute their pennies. In the latter campaign, donation jars were also placed at neighborhood events and in local businesses. Within a year, nearly $2,000 was raised.

Loring School today is a beautiful school with a diverse student body. The school places an emphasis on health and wellness and is well-known in the community for their Schoolyard Garden, beehives and Kids Cook Classroom.

Their Mission: We exist to ensure that all students learn. Their Vision: Every child college and career ready. Their theme as a school this year is Honor.

Information for this article came from the Minneapolis Public Schools History and Minnesota Historical Society websites. Many thanks also to Buzzy Bohn for additional information and clarification.

A little bit about guest writer Jodie Walters. She grew up in Hopkins, then moved around a bit, lived in London for a year and Rochester NY for seven years, before returning to Minnesota. She and her family have lived in the Cleveland neighborhood of Minneapolis since 1983. She is semi-retired and works part-time at the General Mills James Ford Bell Research Center.

-Barbara Meyer Bistodeau