Beach School was originally formed in the spring of 1883 as Ramsey County Rural School District 26 and was located on the Brachvogel family farm; it remained at that site for 15 years before being relocated to Portland Avenue. In 1923, the third and final building to house District 26 was constructed by local contractor W.H. Jackson. That structure, which effectively became a community gathering place for the White Bear Beach neighborhood on the north end of White Bear Lake, was located on land that is now part of the Eagle Brook Church property, just north of Buffalo Street and east of Highway 61 in White Bear Township.
From the 1920s, until the school was closed in the 1970s, Beach School was a vibrant, active community. The school grew from a classic rural school to play a significant role in Independent School District 624, when it was formed in the 1950s. The school’s dynamic Parent-Teacher Association sponsored many activities for the students and greater community throughout the decades.
The careful location of the school, between Bald Eagle and White Bear lakes, brought students from both neighborhoods. In addition to the classrooms and library, the lower-level auditorium could seat 125 people and provided a space for community events. There was always something going on to draw people together, including “chili skates,” where people would ice skate and enjoy a chili supper, to regular card-playing tournaments for adults, held as fundraisers throughout the year.
The school closed due to diminishing elementary enrollment in White Bear during the 1970s, and the building was demolished in 1990, but the lasting friendships and memories created at Beach School continue today.
Sara Markoe Hanson is the executive director of the White Bear Lake Area Historical Society. She will be sharing history thoughts monthly.