In the early 1910's, the south side of Detroit was growing as immigrants from around the world settled in the city. Springwells Township, which today would cover most of Dearborn and parts of Southwest Detroit, started construction on three schools in 1916-1917. After the schools were completed the eastern part of Springwells Township was annexed to the city of Detroit, and the schools became part of the Detroit school district.
One of the three was Oliver Wendell Holmes school, which was built in 1917. The southern wing of the school was added on in 1922, as part of the rapid expansion of the district in the early 1920's. The northern wing of the school was built in 1931.
Holmes was originally slated for closure in 2007, but was kept open. Enrollment and Holmes started to fall in 2004 and never recovered. With a capacity of 637, just 330 students were enrolled in 2008. As part of the 2010 master facilites plan, O. W. Holmes was scheduled for closure in 2012. The students were moved to the new Munger School.
Holmes was demolished in October of 2013.
Trivia: O. W. Holmes was the first school in the country to receive Schieber in-wall folding tables, which later became a common fixture in schools.