Alternative High School

Built in 1911, the alternative high school was slated to be an “African-centered, non traditional” school.  Designated for students who were struggling academically and were 1-2 years behind classmates their age.  In 1921 the school was expanded and enrollment was steady, as there were plenty of troubled/struggling youth to fill the classroom space.  The alternative high school maintained a steady flow of students, peaking in 2007 with its highest enrollment to date, with 736 students.  At that time, it was attributed as having the largest school student body size in the Detroit City School District.  However despite the enrollment achievement, it was decided that the alternative high school would close as part of a DPS Realignment Plan.

After the decision was made, attendance dropped to the low 300’s and then down to the mid 200’s at the time of closure.  Among the decisions for the school’s closure, was the aging condition of the building, including cracks in the foundation, dilapidating roof, unsound/leaky walls, as well as several other maintenance issues with the doors, window and the heating system.  The alternative school closed its doors in 2011.  Since that time, its been heavily vandalized and subject to the elements.

Jesuit School

Got up super early on a much deserved day off, to go explore with the hubby and a friend.  We bundled up and headed out into the 36 degree winter weather for our morning explore of an abandoned school.

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The decaying campus in the hills were once home to a sawmill, several elegant estates, busy Jesuit college and a small Christian school.  The property used to bustle with activity. It was originally a sawmill site that fueled the growth of the nearby towns, now submerged by a reservoir. In the late 1800s, a wealthy miner built a 15-room house and developed orchards and a commercial trout farm there. It expanded still further when purchased by the son of another wealthy miner.

Since its abandonment more than three decades ago, the site has been reclaimed by nature. Termites and rodents have moved into rooms that once held students. Ivy climbs its crumbling brick walls. A once-elegant fountain is now a planter box filled with foliage. The wind whispers through broken windows of the former library.

The majority of the buildings that we explored today were built between 1940-1950 and completely deserted in the 1970’s.