Project Description

George W. Ferris Elementary School was an elementary school that was built in 1911 in the Detroit suburb of Highland Park, Michigan.  Ferris Elementary School was located at 60 Courtland Street, at the corner of Second Avenue.  Ferris Elementary School was located down the street from the main Ford Model T Plant and Headquarters.  When people came from all over the United States to work at Ford Motor Company, their children needed somewhere to got to school.   Ferris Elementary would become that school.

The original Ferris Elementary School became overcrowded by the 1920’s, so the school built a huge addition in 1924.  Ferris Elementary School now had a gymnasium, auditorium, library, and swimming pool.  George W. Ferris Elementary School was named after George W. Ferris was a great American engineer, that would go on to show off his new invention at the 1893 World Expo in Chicago.  That invention was the “Ferris Wheel.”  Within just a few years of his invention, the Ferris Wheel would become the center attraction for many amusement parks, world fairs, and carnivals.  Ferris Elementary School was a property of the Highland Park School District.  Alumni and students of Ferris Elementary School were known as the “Ferris Falcons,” as their school mascot was a falcon.

By 1960, enrollment was still increasing at Ferris Elementary School, so the school built a final addition.  This “modern” addition included room for a new library, a cafeteria, and an auditorium.  These rooms were all surrounded by a glass-walled courtyard.  With the enrollment continued to increase, things were really looking up for Ferris, so they changed it from an elementary school to junior high school.  Ferris Elementary School became Ferris Junior High School. In the 1970’s and 1980’s, the population of Highland Park (just like Detroit) began to decrease in large amounts.

By the 1990’s, Ferris Junior  High School had just over a few thousand students left.  Highland Park School District decided that it would have to look into closing some of their schools. Ferris Junior High School officially closed in 2000.  Highland Park School District never did anything to properly secure the school.  When Ferris first closed, they chained the doors shut, put some wooden boards over the first floor windows, and cinder-blocked one of the side entrances.  Then they left the school and it appears that they never checked in on the property ever again.  I

n 2012, Highland Park School District announced Ferris Junior High School was going to be demolished.

As of 2015, Ferris Junior High School is still abandoned and there are no current plans for the property.


Ferris Elementary School/Ferris Junior High School in 2009: