Van Zile Elementary School

In the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, Detroit expanded outward by annexing the towns that sorrounded the city. Sometimes this included annexing schools built or under construction for suburban school districts, like Outer Drive School. Outer Drive was built in 1921 on what would become the city’s northeast side when the territory was annexed to Detroit in 1925. In 1926 the school was renamed for Philip Van Zile, a former prosecuting attorney and judge in Wayne County. The school was expanded several times in the 20’s and 30’s, as well as a much larger addition that included a gymnasium and auditorum in 1950.

Overcrowding was a constant issue at Van Zile. An junior high school was built just north of Van Zile in 1963, and for several years students were bussed to nearby schools. But by the late 2000’s enrollment had fallen 500 to just 278. The school closed in 2011.