Central High School Auditorium – Grand Forks ND


Downtown Grand Forks, North Dakota’s historic Central High School building received an auditorium constructed with the assistance of the federal Works Progress Administration (WPA) during the 1930s. The building has since been expanded with further additions.

Federal Writers’ Project:
“CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL, 1st and 2nd Aves. N. between 4th and 5th Sts., has an auditorium unit constructed entirely without windows. It was the first public building in North Dakota to utilize indirect lighting throughout. It was erected in 1936-37 with WPA assistance at a cost of $275,000, and includes a pipe organ, the gift of the Grand Forks Music Association.”

Source notes

"North Dakota: A Guide to the Northern Prairie State" by Federal Writers Project, 1938 (page 152).

Project originally submitted by Evan Kalish on March 29, 2015.

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Location Info

N 4th St. and 1st Ave. N
Grand Forks, ND 58203

Coordinates: 47.925260, -97.033521

7 comments on “Central High School Auditorium – Grand Forks ND

  1. June Lawrence

    I was a GF, ND resident until I retired at the lake. I am trying to find out if the currently used bathing house at the Riverside Park swimming pool was constructed by either the CCC or the WPA? I have read that the stone structures at the Fairgounds and Calvary cemetary were constructed by WPA and that the structures and old swimming area dam was built by CCC.. I just saw this article that Central HS auditorium was assisted by WPA.
    Can you help re the bathing house and any other structures in GF are built by those units. Thank you.

  2. Why is this listed as the former Central High School? It is still in service as Central High School.

    June, the Riverside Park bathing house was WPA. There are more, I recommend you read the link at https://history.nd.gov/hp/PDFinfo/MPDF%20Complete%20Rev%2010_2010.pdf or talk with the Grand Forks Historic Preservation Commission.

    • Gabriel Milner

      Thank you for passing this along. We’ll take a look.

    • Evan Kalish

      Lorna, good point. I think when I first posted this, the imagery that I saw was of some of the building’s newer additions, which led me to believe these were two different sites. Made the change; thank you!

  3. George C.

    Just wondering what you mean it was built in 1936 ?. It was originally built in 1881 and has been a school since 1917. Not sure where you got some of your information but I just wanted to ask. I as well was a student of GF Central and both my kids go there now

    • Evan Kalish

      Good point! I should have read the source more clearly when I first posted this story: it was the auditorium unit that was added to the high school at the time, built by the WPA.

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