Project Description

Dexter Ferry Elementary School was built in 1922 and was located at 2920 East Palmer Street between Joseph Campau Avenue and Mitchell Street, in Detroit’s Poletown neighborhood, on the city’s east side. Ferry Elementary School was a brick, two-story structure that also featured brick, square chimney-like structures along the roofline and a beautiful copper crown above the main entrance. Dexter Ferry Elementary School had an average enrollment of around 400 students and served students from kindergarten through sixth grade. Dexter Ferry Elementary School was named after Mr. Dexter Ferry, a Detroit businessman that founded a seed company, known as D.M. Ferry & Co. D.M. Ferry & Co. was the largest seed company in the world at one time. Ferry Street in Detroit, Michigan and The D.M. Ferry & Co. Building, now home to Greektown and Fishbone’s Restaurant, are also named after Mr. Dexter Mason Ferry. The D.M. Ferry & Co. Building is where his seed company’s headquarters was located. Alumni and former students of Ferry Elementary School were known as the “Ferry Falcons,” as their school mascot was a falcon. Ferry Elementary School was a property of the Detroit Public Schools system.

Ferry Elementary School was “flagged” for closure by Detroit Public Schools due to low enrollment and low functioning. Throughout the years, Ferry Elementary School had around 500 students enrolled annually, but by the 2000’s the number dropped down around 300 students. With the drastic decrease in enrollment and combination of low test scores, it had became apparent that Ferry Elementary School was in deep trouble.

In 2005, Ferry Elementary School was forced to close it’s doors for good. When Ferry Elementary School closed in 2005, it was one of the original Detroit Public School (DPS) properties that was boarded up with large, brown- wooden boards. DPS covered all of the doors and windows of Ferry Elementary School with these boards. The problem was that there was no way that wooden boards were going to keep scrappers out of the buildings. Over time the wooden boards would warp, bend, crack, and break and then they were even easier to remove. Ferry Elementary School’s boards stayed strong over the years, but eventually scrappers made their entrance in the back of the school. Several of the wooden boards were removed and the school had become rather easily accessible. A large fire had damaged the interior of the school as well.

In 2010, Ferry Elementary School was finally demolished.

As of 2015, a large, empty field sits where a beautiful school once stood. There are no current plans for redevelopment of the vacant property.