George Brady School – Detroit

Exterior

School Exterior

The Goerge Brady School opened in 1923 and served 350 students with thirteen teachers during its first year in operation. It was named after George Newton Brady, a native Detroit businessman known for his involvement in various charities, including the Michigan Fresh Air Society and the Boy Scouts Movement.

The school is a Neo Gothic Style elementary school designed by architecture firm Malcomson & Higginbotham. It is constructed of brick and has stone trim for the quoining, crenellation, cornice treatment and window trim. The most interesting features of the building’s interior are the Pewabic tilework, wainscot, and the carpentry. The two most interesting spaces are the auditorium and gymnasium. There is also a fallout shelter in the basement with supplies, you know, in case of communist invasion. The buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places; however, that fact has done little to help preserve the structures.

Brady School is the first academic facility in Detroit to be built using the “Brady Plan”. The Brady Plan was an architectural system designed to accommodate facility expansion. According to Detroit Urbex the plan became central to the building program of the Detroit Board of Education at the time. Grant, Parker and Courville schools were also built according to the Brady Plan. There were two additions to the Brady School. In 1924 a second unit was added to expand the original facility. It increased the school’s capacity to 1,320 children. Then, in 1961 a five room building was added on the northeast corner of the site to function as the school’s kindergarten.

While Detroit’s financial implosion made headlines during the housing market collapse and subsequent recession, its school system had been in financial trouble for decades. By the start of the recession in 2007, enrollment was down to one sixth of what it was during the 1960s. Around that time many schools where closed including this one. Closing in 2007, the school was sealed and patrolled for a time to keep scrappers and vandals at bay. Photos of the school from 2013 show a secure building and according to Detroit-ish the building was once fitted with motion sensing cameras to catch any trespassers that made it inside. However, in its current state of decay the place is wide open to people, animals and the elements. Nobody seems to care about it anymore. While we were standing in front of the school with camera gear a cop drove by and didn’t even slow down.

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