Historic Detroit

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Calvin Coolidge Elementary

Redford Township, School District No. 7 erected the first unit of the Calvin Coolidge Elementary School in 1925. Prior to the building's erection, classes for the neighborhood's grammar-school aged children were held at a "...little red district school" on Southfield Road, while its primary students attended classes that were held "...at a nearby cottage." (Detroit Board of Education, 1967).

The school's original unit boasted a capacity of 420 and housed nine rooms. Shortly after the building was constructed, it was absorbed into the Detroit Public Schools system when the area was annexed to the City of Detroit. Between 1926 and 1927, the City's school population increased by 22,000. The Grand Dale neighborhood, within which the school was built, was developed by the Frischkorn real estate company and platted in the early 1920s along the City's Plymouth Road commercial corridor. By the mid-1920s, new construction in the neighborhood boomed, necessitating the erection of the Coolidge school, as well as the Ford and Parker schools.

This rapid growth spurred the Detroit Board of Education to expand the Coolidge school in 1927-1928 with addition of a new 16-room wing. The cost of the addition was $187,960 with a design by architects Vernor, Wilhelm, and Molby. The new unit could accommodate 640 pupils, increasing the school's capacity to nearly 1,100.

By 1934, the school reached an enrollment of 1,104 with classes organized according to a sixteen-section platoon in addition to four "regular" non-platoon classrooms, and an open window room. Two of the regular classrooms located held within a portable building within the site. By 1940, the school was overcrowded to the extent that the students were required to attend half-day sessions. The Detroit Board of Education therefore constructed a new four-room unit in 1941 at a cost of $114,000. The wing was erected as a result of a $1,122,316 City-wide building campaign.

Growth within the Grand Dale neighborhood continued apace, with enrollment at Coolidge reaching 1475 by 1947. In order to accommodate the still-overcrowded conditions, the open window and vocational programs were eliminated and a playroom was subdivided. Also, grades seven and eight were transferred to the nearby Tappan Intermediate School.

In 1949, Detroit residents approved a special millage which provided $50,000,000 to the Detroit Board of Education so that it might update and expand its facilities to ease overcrowded conditions which existed in the decade immediately following the close of World War II and to prepare for a projected enrollment increase of 40,000 students between 1955 and 1963. During this building campaign, which extended between 1949-1954, the Detroit Board of Education erected 119 new school buildings and additions to existing buildings.

A 1951 addition to the Coolidge school was erected during this building campaign. The wing, which was erected was erected at a cost of $266,843, allowed for the return of seventh and eighth grades. The new unit included an auditorium and classrooms and had a capacity of 280 pupils.

The Detroit Public School system, successor to the Detroit Board of Education, closed the school in 2009 and subsequently sold the property to the City of Detroit in 2015.

Last updated 01/05/2023