The Clay School, photo submitted in 1982.
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Clay School
453 Martin Luther King, Jr., Boulevard, Detroit - Wayne County
Property Type school
Historic Use EDUCATION
Style Italianate
Architect/Builder J. B. TARLETON
Narrative Description The Clay School is a two-story, rectangular plan, brick building constructed in 1888. The building rises from a high basement, demarcated with a stone watertable, and is capped with a flat decked hipped roof. The street facade of the building contains a central pavilion highlighted by a round arched main entry embellished with stone and topped with a masonry tower and frame cupola. The brick has been painted and the frame cupola was removed in the late 1970s; otherwise the building is unaltered.
Statement of Significance The Clay School was built in 1888 by the Detroit Board of Education and is significant as the oldest school building still standing in Detroit. The building was designed by architect J.B. Tarleton. Built as a neighborhood school, this masonry structure replaced an 1873 frame school building on the same site. The Clay School was used as an elementary school until 1923 and from 1923 to 1931 was used as a special education center for discipline problem boys. The building subsequently housed a vocational study headquarters and administrative offices for the Practical Nursing Center. In 1981, the building was sold to a private owner and plans were made for its rehabilitation and use for office space.
Period of Significance 1866-1900
Significant Date(s) 1888
Registry Type(s) 07/08/1982 National Register listed
09/08/1982 State Register listed
Site ID# P25051