Abandoned Art Deco School in Norcross, Minnesota

Abandoned Art Deco School in Norcross, Minnesota

Norcross is a small town in Grant county, a short drive southeast of Breckenridge, directly west of Alexandria. The sign on the outskirts of Norcross proclaims a population in the sixties.  We decided to visit Norcross after seeing a photo of the beautiful art deco public school building.

Norcross, Minnesota

We spoke to a Norcross resident who told us this school is owned by a couple from Arizona who intended to fix it up, but haven’t been seen in about two years.

Norcross, Minnesota

Norcross, Minnesota

Norcross, Minnesota

Norcross, Minnesota

Norcross, Minnesota

Norcross, Minnesota

Norcross, Minnesota

We spoke to a local man named Jerry who told us the home above was his mom’s house, and he suspected it might have been a store at one time as well. I thought it had a certain depot-type appearance too.

Norcross, Minnesota

This post office is still in use. Very picturesque.

Norcross, Minnesota

Jerry showed us some historic photos of Norcross, including this one which shows the same post office on the far left.

Norcross, Minnesota

Norcross, Minnesota

Norcross, Minnesota

Norcross, Minnesota

Norcross, Minnesota

This was the office for a lumberyard which no longer exists. Just to the left of this building there was once a large community center which is now gone too.

Norcross, Minnesota

If you build it……….. they will go?

Norcross, Minnesota

Photos by Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp, copyright © 2016 Sonic Tremor Media

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47 thoughts on “Abandoned Art Deco School in Norcross, Minnesota

  1. Thank you for taking and posting such great photos of my home town. I was born and raised there and now live just 5 miles in Herman. I have so many wonderful memories of the people and places, it was like one big family!

    1. Hi, my mother was born there and my grandparents lived their all of their lives. Harvey and Marie Freeman. I loved this town and my grandma lived across the street from the school. She worked at the school, grandpa worked there also and the creamery and bus driver. Many other positions there. Mom s name was Delores HAAS married to Floyd HAAS.

  2. Another good one is Leonard, MN. They have an old grocery store that is still in use with the creaky floors, high old ceilings and all. Other old buildings not in use, also. Very neat town I live 8 miles from!

    1. My Aunt Sylvia ran that store for many years. When she took it over she found many original items upstairs from the previous proprietor.

  3. I moved away 38 years ago and not just moved back to my home farm. We have morning coffee in the old fire hall monday through friday. It is like family everybody watches out for one another. I never thought moving back to Norcross would be the best thing we did. but I love it here. I am glad you enjoyed you visit.

  4. according to former mayor silas olson, there were many bars in norcross along with several restaurants, gas stations, creamery, lumber yard, along with many other businesses. back in the late 70’s thru the 80’s i was a police officer in herman. norcross contracted with herman for police services. during the summer i made it a point to stop and visit with silas if he was sitting outside in the shade. his wife would bring out homemade lemonaide and i would visit with silas and listen to the stories about the area and people.

    1. And of course you never actually did any REAL police work, you just sat in the shade drinking lemonade. By any chance was this in North Norcross? I think you should elaborate on this area as well as very little is known about it but sounds like an interesting place!

  5. I have some great memmories of the school as my grandma was the principal and also a teacher named Mrs. Noma Ogg. she would tell some things about the days she was their. I when on one day andthe school was great. You took some great pictures of it.

  6. Silas Olson was my grandfather and Kristy was my grandmother. Every summer when I was a child in the 70s, my family would travel up to Norcross for a week or two in the summer. In those days, there was a gas station and a post office in Norcross but that was about it. My dad Burnell grew up in Norcross in the 40s and 50s but when to high school in Herman–he would walk (or knowing my dad, mostly likely run) the road between the towns to go to school. I have many fond memories of the area–including the fields of sunflowers, the willow trees, “eskimo pies” and the kind hearted folks up there. Silas was a natural historian and he didn’t mind telling the same stories again and again. Grandma Kristy was quite deaf and would usually just turn off her hearing aid when Silas got to reminiscing.

  7. I, too, love the school building, mostly because I love art deco style. So unique in a small town like this. I see the county assessor has valued the building at only $2,800. How I’d love to own this building and turn it into a coffee shop or something similar.

  8. We lived in Norcross for 2years and when we moved, I did not want to move. It was very small town but wonderful, friendly people.

  9. I grew up in Norcross in the early 90’s as a 3rd generation. The old restaurant in the pictures my mom ran it from 1992 until April 1997 until the development board had decided to move in a new restaurant that was purchased from Barrett MN. I used to get up and go to work with my mom and pour coffee for the locals until my bus would come.

    The school one of my aunts went there and then when they shut it down and merged with Herman. The Post Office is still used today, it is a great historic building! The old community center I had played basketball in there until they tore that down. It was in bad shape then.

    All in all tiny community but everyone knows everyone and is supportive of everyone!

  10. My dad’s sister Ellen Satter and her husband Einer lived on a farm in Norcross. We had huge family gatherings in the 60’s and 70’s. I then remember visiting my cousins Jr. and Jo and their children Renee, Laine, Andrea and Amy every summer. We last had a Roman reunion in the 80’s on the farm.

      1. I have a good Einer Satter story for you. Before Reverend Schendel had polio he reffed basketball games. One week he had a busy week doing that with tournaments, so he went back to his old sermon notes from back when he first came to Norcross, and “freshened them up” a bit for Sunday’s message.
        After worship, as he greeted the congregation, Einer shook his hand, telling him “pretty good sermon”, then whispered in his ear “was a lot better the first time”
        As told to me by Rev Vern Schendel

  11. Awwwww my hometown. I was born and raised there.. My grandma Edna ran the restaurant there. I remember when my aunt and uncle owned the school. I don’t know if anyone remembers Tetor Haugen??? Rita was my favorite babysitter making me butterfly toast. mmmmm Back in the day with no technology but imagination. One big happy family…I went from babysitting the Satter girls to being friends and hanging out with them. Good memories..

  12. Grew up in Norcross 70 and 80.
    Remember when you all came to town. Half the town was related it seemed. Silas was my great uncle. We all had a lot of fun in that town..different world it was. Every thing is gone..

  13. You can go back home, but you can’t go back! Was home in Oct and had many wonderful memories in this town and community. Sad to it almost a ghost town.

  14. I attended 1st grade in norcross.Unfortunately that next year it closed.I was the 3rd generation of my family there.Was a great town to be a kid in.Too bad there isn’t much left there.

  15. My grandparents Ben & Betsy Spohnholtz lived in Norcross. I remember spending many summers there with my cousins. My grandfather Ben drove grader for Grant County.

  16. Love the photos of Norcross.

    My father is a Tintah kid … he raised me in Wheaton.

    Back in the 70s, there used to be somebody located on the main street of Norcross who was skilled at small engine repair. Dad and I would bring lawn mowers and tillers to town to get them tuned up and have blades sharpened.

    BN/Amtrak continued to run daily passenger trains through Norcross at track speed every night in each direction until October of 1979. Sometimes Dad would take me over to Norcross, Herman or Tintah to watch the spectacle … beautiful trains with vistadomes, diners and sleepers running at breakneck speed toward Seattle (westbound) or Minneapolis and Chicago (eastbound). I hold tightly to a deep and abiding love of passenger trains to this very day.

    Norcross is a Great Northern Railway town. I hope that the people who live there are active in keeping their water tower preserved … it’s an old railway relic once used for filling steam locomotives.

    My best to all,

    20 January 2015

  17. Started in the fifth grade in the new school. In the fall of 1940 we thought it was really nice as we went country school before. Dale johnson

  18. I went to school in Herman and worked for Herman school on a student program. I remember going to Norcross school to finish cleaning it out after it closed down and thought it was such a neat building. Never would have guessed it would be sitting empty!

  19. I lived in Campbell and not too far from Norcross now. All these stories are priceless. Has anyone started saving them to put them in print with the pictures? These beautiful small towns have so much history. Please don’t let the memories and stories become abandoned like the buildings. I was just reading Campbell’s Community History at their Centennial. So fun!

  20. I remember in the seventies, going with dad when he hauled grain to Norcross. We would stop at the store there and he would buy my sister and I candy. I remember the store had a metal door on it.

  21. Drove out there yesterday to see the school, and nearly missed it. But it’s still there, tucked away. I always wish I could go inside these schools and see what they look like now. I would love to see something come of this, that’s for sure. It would be a great project!
    Norcross is a great little community, and I love seeing the history about it.

    1. Love this town. My great grandma lived there Clara Laddusaw and mother Delores Laddusaw, grandmother Marie Freeman, Aunt Gertie and Uncle Fred Gilliam. Love the school.

  22. My family attended church in Norcross Methodist Church in the 60’s. there is nothing mentioned about the church whether it is still there and active Very interesting pic.

  23. I used to live there when I was small. My parents and I were migrants. The house we used to live in got torn down, it was a beautiful two story house(in front of the community center). I remember playing inside in the community center with my cousins. This town left an imprint on us. We would roam the streets and felt safe. We would eat delicious icecream at the restaurant. It saddens me that most of these old homes and buildings are not there anymore. Beautiful place, one day we shall go visit.

    1. My family had migrant workers that lived in Norcross. Maybe your family worked for Dean & Dick Aanerud? I remember as a kid going to visit and there were so many people living together and women always cooking something. I always enjoyed listening to the laughter and fast talking Spanish.

    2. I remember when the migrants first came to Norcross. So exciting! My grandmother (who would have been well into her 80s at the time) took us over to her former neighbor Coreen’s old house which the migrants were going to rent for the summer. We helped her clean up the place, and then she freshened up the kitchen with a gallon of pink paint. I will never forget my amazement when my grandma even painted the fridge pink!!! Anyway, I was very shy but the migrants made a big impression on me and inspired me to study Spanish and Latin American history in college and grad school.

  24. I grew up on a farm right by Norcross. Always a friendly place to be. The co-op was full of guys talking farming, and then they would all go to the local cafe for coffee. Everyone knew everyone. What a great place to grow up. Many great memories. Great feature about a great old town!

  25. I will be visiting Norcross in August 2018. My mother and her 8 brothers and sisters were all born and raised here. Her father, Henry Dufrene, was a prominent figure in town from the early 1900s to about 1933. I’m hoping their old homestead is still standing.

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