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

David Mackenzie High School 5

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.

8 Comments

  1. Posted October 9, 2011 at 2:52 am

    […] Central door Pewabic mosaics (c.1931), David Mackenzie High School, 9275 Wyoming Street, […]

  2. Posted July 19, 2012 at 7:16 am

    Editor’s Note: The razing of David Mackenzie High School is currently in its late stages as of July 2012 and will most likely be completed by the start of the 2012-2013 school year. RIP to one of the sweetest high school buildings in Detroit’s history. ~ILDM

  3. Anon
    Posted August 3, 2012 at 8:16 pm

    I just can’t believe they knocked it down. It is a sad and tragic as the bulldozer hitting Tiger’s Stadium. They could have done something with some of both of these.

  4. Posted November 30, 2014 at 12:01 pm

    […] Designer’ (1922-1930): Yost Field House at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor (1923), David Mackenzie High School (1927; demolished, 2012) on Wyoming Street just north of Oakman Blvd, the Michigan Bell Telephone Company Building in Traverse City, Michigan (1927), Michigan Bell […]

  5. Donna Smith
    Posted June 11, 2015 at 2:13 pm

    It was heartbreaking to see my old school pass away with so many other Detroit landmarks. Other cities improve and reinvent their historic structures, why not Detroit? There are many Stags that will remain loyal to the old Blue and Gray and it is evidenced by other lasting monuments. The Class of June 1967 (my class) added a minimal fee to the price of one of our reunion tickets and purchased a brick on the River Walk. We have been immortalized in the city for future generations. The Mighty Mack shall never been forgotten.

  6. Kelly G
    Posted January 13, 2016 at 11:56 am

    Does anyone know what happened to the tiles, were they salvaged?

  7. Posted January 23, 2016 at 7:17 pm

    Wish we knew, Kelly. Thanks for reading.

  8. John O'Donnell
    Posted April 9, 2016 at 11:15 am

    Leave it to the idiots that run that city to destroy treasure when ever possible. They could have saved most of the beautiful building accents and incorporated them into the new building. But that would have taken effort. When they tore down Cass Tech, they left all the desks in it. They never reached out to the alumni to see if anyone wanted any memorabilia for cash or for free. For a bankrupt city to be destroying the very things that make it like no other place, reminds me of the story ‘Acres of Diamonds.’

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