Detroit: Thomas C. Houghten Elementary

Thomas Houghten Elementary was built in 1924 to serve the Old Redford neighborhood.   It had been built for 870 students, but had only 208 the year before it closed.  Like many others in the area, there was no way for the struggling school district to justify the maintenance of a large, antique building for so few students.  Detroit Public Schools stated the following upon the announcement of Houghten’s 2009 closure:

 “All of the major infrastructure system, such as windows, roof, heating and electrical systems, within the 85 year-old building are problematic and in need of significant repair and / or replacement, requiring a potential investment of around $4.3 million.”

DPS, scrambling for funding as the city approached its ultimate bankruptcy and not quite following the city’s upward trajectory today, has closed almost 200 schools in the past 15 years.  As Houghten closed its doors in 2009, the district was relinquished to a series of emergency managers who haven’t been able to help.  Though Detroit is undergoing an incredible rebirth and rise in population, the future of the district remains highly uncertain.


The only information I’ve been able to find about the school’s life is very basic and formal.  If you were a student here, I’d love to hear from you or have a conversation to make this article a little more personal.  Any historic photographs would be helpful as well.  Thank you.

Sources: Houghten Elementary on DetroitUrbex


3 thoughts on “Detroit: Thomas C. Houghten Elementary

  1. It was sad to see the old school in severe disrepair. I attended Houghten form 1969 to 1972 (Kindergarten to part of Second Grade). My Father as well as both my Brothers attended Houghten. As a school it served generations of Redford families, And though the building is gone, the memories will remain!

    Liked by 1 person

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