This modest but appealing building is listed on the Michigan and National Registries of Historic Places because it is one of a few surviving—and unremodeled—examples of a rural school built according to an architectural plan developed by state Board of Education. That is, to save on architectural fees, the state provided rural school districts—such as the one here in Redford—with anattractive Georgian Revival plan for a small school. The building you see was constructed between 1916 and 1921 when Redford Township was a sparsely settled location separated by at least at few long miles from the city of Detroit. This is the third school building located on this site. I believe that preceding schools were known as the Beech Road School. When this building opened, its teachers provided instruction for 47 students.
Although the architectural design was intended as a standard, moderate cost plan available to many Michigan school districts, the state’s education authorities commissioned an interesting building. There is a concrete foundation with a raised basement—a construction style that was then popular for modest-sized building and large brick homes. The masonry walls are load bearing. In the hipped roof, you see the belfry with an arched opening on each of its faces. Presumably, the schoolmarm rang bells in this belfry every school day to call students to class. The front of the building is symmetrical with the main’s entrance’s pedimented vestibule flanked by banks of windows on either side. When designed, this small building contained two classrooms on the first floor and two rooms in the basement, presumably for storage.
By the early 1920s, thanks to Detroit’s growth and the availability of motor vehicles, Red theford Township was becoming a densely populated suburb of Detroit. In 1923, the school board constructed a 7-room classroom annex linked to the building you see. Six different school districts operating within Redford Township in that year joined together to form Redford Union School district Number 1, hence the disappearance of Redford Township School District Number 5. In the 1950s, another addition was built behind the property pictured here. After 1961, the attractive building became the Board of Education headquarters. Later it became a conference center for the local school district, but it now serves as a center for instructional materials.
The first school building on this location was a log structure erected in 1842. It was replaced in the 1870s by a frame building that was razed for the brick structure now listed on the historical registers. If you walk around this building a bit and think about how our ancestors, including those in rural areas, invested in public education, you can appreciate why this place is listed on the state and federal registers of historic sites.
Date of Construction: 1916 to 1921
Architect: Michigan Department of Education
Architectural Style: Colonial Revival
State of Michigan Register of Historic Places: Listed St. Patrick’s Day (March 17), 1994
State of Michigan Historical Marker: In front of building on Beech-Daly Road. This marker was put in place on July 12, 1994.
National Register of Historic Sites: Listed March 28, 1997
Use in 2008: Annex for the adjoining Redford District School
Photograph: Ren Farley; October 5, 2008
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