Project Description

Charles Hanneman Elementary School was built in 1916 at 6420 McGraw Street, between Gilbert Street and Cicotte Street.  Hanneman Elementary School was located in Detroit’s Southwest neighborhood.  Hanneman Elementary School was named after Charles Hanneman, who was a local-Detroit business owner (wool and coal company) and was on the Board of Education for over 10 years.  Hanneman Elementary School was part of the Detroit Public School system.  Students and alumni of Hanneman Elementary School were known as “Hanneman Stars,” as their school mascot was a shining star.

Hanneman Elementary School closed in 2008.  Detroit Public Schools (DPS) decided that Hanneman Elementary School was going to get the Vacant Property Security (VPS), in other words, large sheets of metal to cover the doors and windows, that are designed to help keep scrappers and trespassers out of vacant property.  So all of the school’s doors and windows were covered in the big, metal, and most of all, ugly VPS sheets.  The troubling fact for DPS was that they were millions of dollars in deficit and needed to come up with a cheaper way to try and properly secure the near-100 abandoned schools that they owned.  This was their new and improved method.  Before the VPS was here, DPS used just regular plywood sheets to cover the doors and windows.  Obviously, this didn’t work; the wooden boards would become weak and/or weathered over time, break, or were easily removed by anyone that wanted to enter the abandoned property.  VPS was supposed to be the new answer to the same old problem.  VPS actually worked….for about a year or so.  Then the trespassers (mostly metal thieves) found out how to remove the VPS sheets.  Once this began to happen, DPS was in big trouble and the school’s were in even bigger trouble.  The abandoned schools became a favorite target for scrappers.  Hanneman Elementary School was no exception.  By 2010, the VPS metal sheets at Hanneman Elementary School began to slowly disappear and it seemed that the school was always open at one point of entry or another, whether it was a door or a window.

Hanneman Elementary School has been abandoned since 2008.

As of 2015, the building is still standing without any plans for redevelopment, renovation, or demolition.


Hanneman Elementary School in 2010:


Hanneman Elementary School in 2012: