Longfellow School was built in 1916, part of an agressive expansion campaign by the Detroit Public Schools to meet the needs of the growing city. In 1928, an addition was built onto the west side of the school, including classrooms and a new gymnasium. A second addition in 1969 doubled the size of the school, which was reconfigured. The old auditorium and gymnasium were moved into the new wing, replaced with classrooms and school offices.
In the late 1990's, the outer walls of the older wings of the school were re-clad in steel panels, giving it a more modern appearance. An administrative annex was added to the school during this time. In May of 2004, someone broke into the school and set fire to the teacher's lounge. The fire damaged 16 classrooms, causing $500,000 in damage. After cleanup and repairs the school reopened.
From 2003 to 2006, enrollment at Longfellow fell from 582 to 288. Though the school was initially scheduled to be closed, it was decided to merge another school into the existing building. In 2007, the Detroit City Alternative High School program had outgrown its location on McGraw, and was moved into Longfellow.
The administrative annex at Longfellow was closed in 2010. The anticipated growth of the alternative high school program slowed, and began to decline. By 2012, there were only 229 students left, and the school was closed.
Within a year, scrappers had started breaking into the building, stripping out most of the valuable metal. Longfellow was demolished in April of 2016.