In 2013, I visited an inner-city school that was once locked up and protected, but essentially given up by the city after a break-in by scrappers. I went back again this year to see how much change can happen over three years.
A little history: Hutchins was built in 1922 to address the growing number of students pursuing intermediate and high school educations, featuring a state-of-the-art vocational program as well as double pools and gymnasiums to be separated by gender. The school’s gym and classroom floors were constructed of hardwood maple, while the hallway floors were built of terrazzo and battleship linoleum.
The neighborhood had already been deteriorating by the 1960’s, and was located two blocks from the police raid on an after-hours bar on 12th Street that sparked the ’67 riots. The National Guard troops took over the school for the three days it took to restore order as much of 12th Street was destroyed, and the neighborhood never recovered, though it stayed open another 40 years. When it eventually closed, the loss of Hutchins, another Detroit Public School much too large to succeed in the face of the declining enrollment of the early 2000’s, was made a little extra bitter by the fact that the quality of education had been noticeably rising. AOL sponsored a new technology classroom with 30 new computers around the time of the Superbowl in 2006 and the school was standing out in academic competition. But, eventually, the terribly small number of students forced the program’s relocation, and the replacement Crosman alternative school reopened at Hutchins failed as well. The school closed forever in 2009 and was patrolled and protected by Detroit Public Schools police until 2013, when it was breached by scrappers and ultimately destroyed.
And a couple extra last shots around the school from 2016:
There are currently no plans for the future of Hutchins Intermediate School.
1922 newspaper image and backstory source: DetroitUrbex.com