Central High School (Detroit)

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Central High School
2425 Tuxedo Street
Detroit, Michigan
School type Public
School district [[Detroit Public Schools (DPS)Detroit Public Schools)]]
Principal Abraham Sohn
Grades 9-12
Language English
Area Urban
Color(s) Navy and White         
Athletics conference Detroit Public School League
Team name Trailblazers
Central High School in 1904; this building is now Old Main at Wayne State University

Central High School, previously Central Collegiate Academy, and originally named Central High School is the oldest public secondary school in Detroit, Michigan; it is owned by the Detroit Public Schools. As of 2012 Education Achievement Authority operates the school.[citation needed]

Effective July 1st, 2017, Central High now operates under the control of Detroit Public Schools Community District.[1]


In 1858, Detroit's first high school opened on Miami Avenue. By 1863, due to increased enrollment, the school was moved to a building that had formerly housed the State Capitol - becoming Capitol High School. In 1871 the University of Michigan granted accreditation to the school.[2]

In 1893 a fire destroyed Capitol High School; it continued to function temporarily at the Biddle House on East Jefferson Avenue. In 1896, Capitol became Central High School, located at the intersection of Cass and Warren Avenue; the structure is still in use as Wayne State University's Old Main.[2]

During 1904, innovative educator David Mackenzie returned to his hometown as the new principal of Central High School. By 1913, under Mackenzie's direction, a one-year, college-level premedical curriculum was established at Central High - the first junior college curriculum organized in Michigan. In 1916, the program was extended to two years, and in 1917 the state legislature approved Mackenzie's plans for establishing the Detroit Junior College, forerunner of Wayne State University. In 1919, David Mackenzie was officially appointed first Dean of the college.[3]

In 1926, due to a further increase in the student population, Central High School moved to its current location, at 2425 Tuxedo Street.[4]

In fall 2015 several former students from Highland Park Renaissance High School, a high school in Highland Park which closed earlier that year, enrolled in Central. To help the Highland Park students adjust, David Oclander, the principal of Central, established a "dean of culture" at the school.[5]


As Detroit's oldest high school, Central has enjoyed a tradition of athletic success.[6]

Central High School dominated city league men's basketball during the early twentieth century, winning championship titles in 1906, 1907 and 1909. Despite the absence of tournament play (1910–1919), Central High was a perennial fixture atop the standings at season's end.

CHS also won city tournament titles in 1934, 42 and 1980.[7] In 1998, Coach Oronde Taliaferro marched his Trailblazers through the postseason, all the way to the Michigan High School Athletic Association championship game. In the final, Central dispatched Belleville High 63-47 to claim the state title.[8]

During the 1980s, Central's track and field program stamped an indelible mark in the record books; Coach Woody Thomas and his track men won a total of four MHSAA team titles - in 1980, 81, 82 and 1984.[9]

Notable alumni[edit]


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 42°23′1.6″N 83°6′43.3″W / 42.383778°N 83.112028°W / 42.383778; -83.112028