Michigan’s Largest Abandoned High School
Cooley High sits abandoned in an old Detroit neighborhood.
The school opened in 1928, named after Thomas M. Cooley, a former Chief Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court from 1864-1884. Cooley was also one the first batch of professors at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
Upon opening in 1928, the student body was over 1.5 thousand; with each year, the number grew. And with more & more students, the extra-curricular activities grew as well. Baseball, basketball, fencing, football, hockey, speed skating, swimming, table tennis, tennis, and track were just a few. The Cooley High Cardinals was one of the most respected school teams in Michigan.
These sports and activities spawned quite a few professional sports figures in the years to come, including Cooley graduates Milt Pappas, Mike Ilitch, Roy Tarpley, Joe Ginsberg, and Willie Green.
Thanks to a shortage of funds and a dwindling student body, the school made the tough decision to close its doors for good. In the spring of 2010, the last students left its halls.
A fire broke out in 2017, which basically gutted out the school’s awesome theater (auditorium), which is shown in the photo gallery below.
Detroit’s Cooley High is not to be confused with the 1975 movie “Cooley High”, which was about a school in Chicago.
Cooley High still sits abandoned, silhouetted against the neighborhood sky and partially surrounded by trees and bushes. The location is the corner of Chalfonte Street & Hubbell Avenue, between the Detroit neighborhoods of Belmont and Littlefield.