Backus Community Center 900 5th Street, International Falls Minnesota
(218) 285-7225 | Email
Office Open Monday thru Friday 8:00 am to 4:00 pm

MISSION STATEMENT: “Historic Backus Community Center, the heart of International Falls, where all generations celebrate arts, culture, recreation, wellness and life-long learning”

The Alexander Baker Building

Backus building Construction of the Alexander Baker School began in 1912 and was completed in 1914.

The building was named after early settler Alexander Baker, who first settled in the area in 1870.

The second school building was designed by architect Nairne W. Fisher in the Art Deco style and constructed using P.W.A. funds in 1936-1937. At a cost of $391,000 it was the most expensive public works project in Koochiching County. Named the "E.W. Backus Junior High School", it served the educational needs of area students for decades until closed by the school district in 1991.

A grass-roots group of dedicated individuals began a campaign to convince the school district to sell them the building complex rather than demolish it at the cost of almost $1,000,000 to the county. Following years of struggle, the keys were finally handed over to Citizens for Backus in 2002. 

The Backus Building was refurbished for use, and is a fully functioning community center.

The AB Building, however, is in need of extensive repair and renovations.

AB Building

Below are features and highlights in the Alexander Baker Building. Click on a photo for an enlarged view: If you would like to join the team to preserve this historic building, please contact Ward Merrill at (218) 285-7225 or