Alumni of Detroit high schools remember their lost glory

February 06, 2020, 8:57 AM

Some of Detroit's finest architecture -- and saddest ruins -- can be found in the dozens of closed-forever schools that dot the neighborhoods. 

Old Cass Tech High (Photo: Wikipedia)

Relics of a prosperous time, these tragic buildings housed generations of Detroit schoolchildren through days of learning. Some were demolished. Some were abandoned to scrappers, looters and urban explorers. All have alumni who remember them fondly. 

Curbed Detroit has a sweet feature this week on some of them -- the old Cass Tech, Cooley and Redford high schools, with oral history-style reminiscences of former students. Here's Harry C. Todd, class of '81, Cass Tech:

The area was like, “Did our parents really love us?” There were drug dealers, hookers—it was skid row. Luckily it was not only a place of tranquility and learning, but a safe zone. It was an area that was like an island unto itself.

I was amazed at the school. It was huge: eight stories with an elevator that been around for decades. But over the years, the building just got older and older. Even so, we loved it. It played a pivotal role in our trajectory.

Cooley, built in 1928, had "a 1,000-seat auditorium ...indoor pool and facilities for fencing, table tennis, indoor track and field, and ice skating and hockey."

Read more:  Curbed Detroit

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