James A. Garfield School

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James A. Garfield School
James A Garfield School Detroit Michigan.jpg
Location840 Waterman Street
Detroit, Michigan
Coordinates42°18′23″N 83°06′33″W / 42.3064°N 83.1093°W / 42.3064; -83.1093Coordinates: 42°18′23″N 83°06′33″W / 42.3064°N 83.1093°W / 42.3064; -83.1093
ArchitectE. A. Walshe & Son
Architectural styleLate Victorian
NRHP reference #84001857[1]
Significant dates
Added to NRHPJanuary 26, 1984
Designated MSHSMarch 20, 1974[2]

The James A. Garfield School is a school building located at 840 Waterman Street in Detroit, Michigan. It is also known as the Frank H. Beard School.[3] The school was listed on the National Register of Historic Places and designated a Michigan State Historic Site in 1984.[1][2]


The James A. Garfield School is one of the oldest existing schools in the city of Detroit, as well as one of the least altered. The original building, named for president James A. Garfield, was (according to a September 20, 1896 issue of the Detroit Free Press) designed in 1896 by E. A. Walshe & Son[3] for the Springwells Township school district,[4] replacing the previous four-room schoolhouse that had become drastically overcrowded.[3]

In 1907, the Springwells School District merged with the schools of Detroit.[4] After the merger, the name of the building was changed to honor Frank H. Beard, the director of the Springwells school board for 17 years.[3]


The brick school is built in the Victorian Romanesque style. The symmetrical front façade is organized into five bays, with the central and end bays projecting outward and the other two receding.[2] The entrances are topped with semi-circular arches, and the structure boasts a variety of window shapes and sizes. The elaborate brickwork, multi-planed roofline, and the red brick tower conveyed the importance the community attached to public education.[4] An addition to the original school was built in 1900.[3]

Current use[edit]

Today the school houses the Beard Early Childhood Center.[3]


  1. ^ a b National Park Service (2008-04-15). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
  2. ^ a b c Garfield, James A., School from the state of Michigan
  3. ^ a b c d e f Frank H. Beard School from the city of Detroit
  4. ^ a b c James A. Garfield School from Detroit1701.org

External links[edit]