More on the Zachariah Chandler Elementary School building in Detroit

Chandler Elementary School, Detroit

Chandler Elementary School, Detroit

 

Faithful readers of this blog are probably aware that I attended Chandler Elementary School in Detroit, Michigan in the 1960’s. In 2004, I made an unplanned visit to the school. I was graciously received by the school staff. They invited me in to take a look around. The halls were pretty much the same as I remembered them as a little boy. It was a special moment for me to “go back in time.” A few years later, I discovered that the school had been closed. All of the windows and doorways were covered. It seemed that the building was properly secured. Now in 2013, the school has been vandalized. Every window and door covering has been removed. The vandals did their work well. I took a few pictures of the building and drove away. How sad…

The school was named for Zachariah Chandler. This blog has mentioned him many times- as I am a great admirer of his. He stands today as one of the most important individuals in Michigan’s history in the 1800’s.  There are so many great things to say about him- Mayor of Detroit, anti-slavery politician, supporter of the Underground Railroad, one of the founders  of the Republican party, and United States Senator. He wasn’t always in agreement with President Abraham Lincoln, but they both worked in their own ways to save the Union and end slavery. He lays at rest in Detroit’s Elmwood Cemetery. I wish he were here-Detroit and our country needs him.

So I drove away from my school-the place where I learned to read (the “See Jane Run” book).  I’ve heard that the city plans to tear the building down and build a new facility. That option sounds better than to leave the once fine structure standing torn and dishonored. If a new school is built, would it be named after Zachariah Chandler? Probably not. I was thinking about that as I drove through Chandler Park on the way home. Then traveling down Harper Avenue, I passed the Chandler Park Public Library. These places were named for a man who is mostly forgotten today. When I was a kid, I used to bowl at Chandler Lanes-but that is long gone now. I visit Zachariah Chandler’s grave every once in awhile. While I’m alive, I’ll remember…

 

 

 

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