Samuel C. Mumford High School was built from 1947 until it opened in 1949. It was located at 17525 Wyoming Avenue, between Santa Clara Street and Thatcher Street, on Detroit’s upper west side. Mumford High School was designed by architects McGrath and Dohmen in a beautiful Art Deco theme. Mumford High School’s exterior featured imported powder-blue limestone blocks that accentuated the Art-Deco styling. During the school’s first few decades of the 1950s and 1960s, Mumford High School served a predominantly Jewish-student population and enrollment was around 1,200 students annually. By the 1980’s and 1990’s, the neighborhood around Mumford High School began to change and slipped into poverty, oppression, and crime. Despite the troubled surroundings and different racial makeup of students, Mumford High School continued to thrive through those difficult years. The average attendance rate at Mumford High School was consistently over 90% and was the highest for all Detroit Public Schools. That attendance rate would continue to stay above 90% all the way until the school’s closing in 2012. Mumford High School was named after Samuel C. Mumford, who was the president of the Detroit Board of Education and served on the board for over 22 years. Alumni of Mumford High School were known as “Mumford Mustangs,” as their school mascot was a mustang (horse). Mumford High School was a property of the Detroit Public School system.
The most notable alumni member of Mumford High School was now-famous, Hollywood-film and television producer Jerry Bruckheimer, who’s credits include “Beverly Hills Cop,” in which Eddie Murphy’s character, Axel Foley is seen wearing a “Mumford Phys. Ed Dept.” t-shirt. It was Jerry Bruckheimer’s way to pay homage to his alma mater.
In 2012, Mumford High School was closed and was demolished shortly after. A new, modern Mumford High School was built on the same site as the old Mumford High School. Of course, the new Mumford High School is nothing in comparison to the old one. The old Mumford High School will always be remembered as one of Detroit’s most beautiful structures.