Clay School

453 Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard between Cass and
Second in Detroit's Cass Corridor

This is the oldest school building in the city of Detroit. The city's school system dates from the 1830s. A frame school building was erected on this site in 1873 to provide an education to children living in this area. It was replaced in 1888 by the two-story rectangular building that you see. There is a high basement extending above the ground and demarked with a highly visible stone watertable. The front of the building on Martin Luther King Boulevard displays a round arched entry decorated in stone. There is a masonry tower that was, for about nine decades, topped with a wood cupola soaring above the hipped roof.

From 1888 until 1923 this was a Detroit elementary school. For the subsequent 8 years it served as an educational center for boys with discipline problems. Later it became an office building for the school system. In 1981, it was sold to a developer who gradually converted this former school building into an office building.

Michigan Historical Register: P25051, Listed September 8, 1982
National Register of Historic Sites: Listed July 8, 1982
Date of Erection: 1888
Architect: J. B. Tarleton
Style: Italianate
Location: 453 Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard
Photo: Ren Farley, September, 2002
Use in 2002: Begin remodeled into an office building.


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