Historic Detroit

Every building in Detroit has a story — we're here to share it

New Elementary

The Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish was founded in 1928 at 17142 Rowe Street. In 1936, three Catholic parishes in the Detroit-Hamtramck area completed construction of new schools, including Our Lady of Good Counsel, St. Peter Claver (which built the first Catholic school for Black children in the Michigan), and Immaculate Conception (which built the first Catholic school for Ukranian children in the Michigan).

During the 1936-1937 school year, 104,000 students attended parochial primary and high schools in Detroit.

The Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish school building was erected at a cost of $34,000 and was first opened for classes in the fall of 1936. The school hosted grades one through eight and, in its inaugural semester, included 226 pupils in attendance.

Tuition was $2 a month and five Sisters from the Immaculate Heart of Mary staffed the school. By 1938, the parish added a new wing to the school building in order to accommodate increasing enrollment numbers. In the years immediately following World War II, the school's student population greatly expanded, necessitating the erection of a second addition, which included a new auditorium.

The existing historic church's interior space was also converted into six new classrooms while mass was held within the school's new auditorium. By 1950, classes were offered in half-day sessions due to booming enrollment numbers and by the early 1960s, approximately 1,200 pupils attended the Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish school.

The school also included 27 instructors, including 18 Sisters and nine lay staff. In 1957, the parish had erected a new church building at the site. Enrollment dropped by 300 pupils by 1970, due to the school's efforts to reduce the overcrowded conditions. The 1970 passage of Proposal C, which banned public aid to private schools, led to increases in tuition and further decline in enrollment.

The school was eventually shuttered and, in June 2011, the church was closed when Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish was merged with the nearby St. Raymond parish. The Detroit Public School system subsequently gained ownership of the property and sold it to the City of Detroit in 2015.