Posted by on September 24, 2011 in Architecture - 8 Comments

David Mackenzie High School – Detroit, Michigan

David Mackenzie High School 1David Mackenzie High School, at 9275 Wyoming Avenue in Detroit, Michigan, was built in 1927 and opened to its first class of students in September of 1928. Its design is attributed to  Smith, Hinchman and Grylls, now known as SmithGroup, and was executed during the time in which Wirt C. Rowland served as their Chief Designer. In 2007 it was shuttered and permanently closed after nearly 80 years of service to the Detroit Public School System.

David Mackenzie High School 2David Mackenzie High School 3One plainly obvious feature sets Mackenzie apart from other public secondary educational buildings of its era: numerous custom Pewabic Pottery motifs around the main entrances and along the roof lines. Although seemingly influenced by the art of native southwestern- and meso-american David Mackenzie High School 6David Mackenzie High School 7cultures, there’s a level of originality present here that precludes easy classification. You can fairly describe it as “Art-Deco”, but the place also has an undefinable quality all its own. Beautifully staggered and stenciled masonry work throughout accentuates the color-rich Pewabic themes.

Since its closure in ’07 there’s always chatter circulating around town about Mackenzie’s impending demolition, but it hasn’t happened yet, and no date’s been set as far as we know. Click here to check out one of our favorite local blogger’s take on this classic of Detroit architecture. ~I♥DM

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About the author

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Dale Carlson grew up along the northeastern shores of Lake Michigan, where at a young age Detroit called out to him in his dreams. In 2008, after extended stays in ten different Michigan cities, the author settled permanently in southeast Oakland County where he currently lives and works in various capacities within the local real estate industry.