Historic Detroit

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Crockett Technical School

Crockett Technical School (Burroughs Intermediate School)

Planning for the Burroughs Intermediate School began in 1923, when the Detroit Board of Education earmarked funding for the erection of the facility in order to relieve overcrowded conditions at elementary schools on Detroit's eastside, north of Gratiot, west of the railway, and east of Hamtramck. In 1923 only five public schools were extant within this district, and they were all over capacity due to the booming development within the area. However, the need for a new school was questioned and the Detroit Board of Education was accused of overspending on building construction over the six previous years.

In June 1924, a plan for the building which was developed by architects Malcomson and Higginbotham was rejected because it was judged to be too "extravagant." The Detroit Board of Education therefore commissioned the design firm of Smith, Hynchman, and Grylls to provide a more modest design for the building. Malcomson and Higgenbotham protested the move as they had collaborated with school system staff on the development of the design. They also noted that they had expended a significant amount of resources on the project. The Detroit Board of Education ultimately selected Malcomson and Higgenbotham to develop the school's final design.

The Detroit Board of Education erected the Burroughs School in 1925-1926, directly adjacent to the Lodge Playground. The building was one of two intermediate schools that the Detroit Board of Education built that year within the city. At the time of the school's construction, the Detroit Board of Education noted that Burroughs represented "...the best features of junior high instructional needs...." and marked "...a departure from the three-story type... of intermediate school..." which had been previously erected within the city."

The Burroughs school's programming replicated that of the extant three-story intermediate school type, but the building more closely replicated the Detroit Board of Education's elementary school buildings in plan due to its two story height. Also, the Burroughs School had one pool, versus the district's earlier intermediate schools, which were typically built with two (one for each grade).

Burroughs was erected at a cost of $850,000. When completed in 1926, the building boasted a capacity of 1800 pupils and included 30 recitation rooms, two mechanical drawing rooms, one typewriting room, two art rooms, two sewing rooms, two domestic science labs, four science rooms, a general shop, a print shop, a machine shop, a wood-turning shop, two gyms, two orthopedic rooms, a swimming pool, a library, a restroom for teachers, an auditorium, an office, and a large cafeteria. By 1939, 2300 students attended Burroughs.

The school's population expanded steadily, due to development of adjacent neighborhoods such as Eastwood Gardens and Halfwood Gardens and the nearby location of the Chrysler Corporation and Parke-Davis plants. It was noted by the Detroit Board of Education the neighborhood surrounding the school was "stable" and was occupied by a number of white/ European ethnic families during this period.

By the early 1960s, the school's catchment area witnessed the beginnings of a shift in its ethnic makeup as African-American families began to locate to the neighborhood. Relations between the neighborhood's existing population and its new residents were initially strained as evidenced by a number of racially-charged incidents, to include the discovery of epithets which had been spray painted on Burroughs's exterior doors in 1964. By 1969, two-thirds of the school's teachers were black.

Aerial maps indicate that a new wing was added to the north of the original school building sometime between 1967 and 1972. The addition, which was one story in height and housed 13,240 square feet, was known as the ''Burroughs Annex". The Burroughs school was closed in 2003 and its 800 students were transferred to three nearby schools. The Burroughs Annex was demolished in 2004 and in 2006, the building was reopened with the location of the Crockett School within its interior space.

The Crockett School, which was a college preparatory program that was initially founded in 1980 as the Crockett Technical Center, was named after a prominent local physician, Dr. Ethelene Crockett. The Detroit Public School system, successor to the Board of Education, permanently closed the building in 2012 and subsequently sold the property to the City of Detroit in 2015.

According to a report in WXYZ Detroit from Aug. 2023, Crockett School is set to be demolished at the end of 2023.

Last updated 25/10/2023