Historic Detroit

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Alexander Macomb Elementary

Macomb School occupies an L-shaped footprint, with a rectangular core block and an ell housing a gymnasium extending to the rear along Evanston Avenue. The building's Flemish-bond brickwork is of mottled shades ranging from dark brown to bright orange.

The building's entrance portal, facing east on Harrell, is sheltered by a projecting shed roof, originally clad in slate but replaced with asphalt shingles, and flanked by two squat, gable-topped piers, decorated by pairs of slender, engaged classical columns. These flanking piers are edged by stone quoins. Near the top of each pier reads "A.D. 1928" in raised bronze letters. Above the building's entrance are the words "ALEXANDER MACOMB SCHOOL" in similar bronze lettering.

The building's symmetrical facade is divided into three sections by a pair of three-faceted, engaged "towers" with crenellated parapets. The building's entrance is flanked by two bays of windows on each side, which are in turn flanked by the pair of engaged towers. Each tower features prominent stone quoins and narrow windows resembling balistraria. In addition to the crenellations atop each tower, a parapet wall that tops the building between the towers is also crenellated, and rests on a low, cornice-like detail consisting of a row of alternating squares of brick and stone.

Each end of the façade is anchored by a section containing two additional bays of windows. These are topped by a shorter parapet wall, containing a course of alternating squares of stone and brick beneath the coping, suggesting crenellation, that also continues around to the side elevations.

The building's southern and northern elevations each contain a two-story, side entrance projection topped by a gabled roof. Above its doorway, lighting the upper story, are a series of four narrow, formerly leaded, glass windows. This bank of windows is emphasized by horizontal and vertical courses of contrasting brickwork, an allusion to Tudor-style decorative half-timbering. The doorway itself is recessed within a Tudor-arched, stone surround, with the name of the school in bronze letters on a stone panel.

To the east of the south side entrance is a solid brick wall; to its west are windows similar to that of the front façade and beyond them, the tall, one-story gymnasium. Centered on the rear of the building is a five-sided bay to the kindergarten room that, on the interior, is lined with a window seat at its perimeter. The interior also originally had a structure centered in the bay that contained a water fountain, aquarium and sand bin, according to the building plans.

*Excerpted from United States Department of the Interior National Park Service National Register of Historic Places Registration Form (Draft). Macomb, Alexander, School. Boscarino, T., City of Detroit Historic Designation Advisory Board (2009) *

The school was built in 1928, opened in 1929 and was dedicated on Jun 12, 1930.