Monday, August 1, 2011

Field Trip: Iron River, Michigan

A mining boom in the early twentieth century resulted in rapid population growth for Iron County, Michigan. Designed in 1902 and constructed 1904-05, Iron River's Central School (218 West Cayuga Street) was intended to serve the community's entire public school system. The student population grew so rapidly that Milwaukee architects Van Ryn & DeGelleke's initial building proved insufficient shortly after its completion, and Chicago architect John D. Chubb completed wing additions in 1911 (one shown above). Annex buildings were constructed in 1923, and by 1928 high school students were moved to a new structure, while primary and secondary students remained at Central.

By the mid-1970s, the local economy and population had dwindled, and Central School was closed in the spring of 1980. Listed on the National Register since 2008, the structure's fate remains uncertain despite periodic proposals for its adaptive reuse.

Image above: Central School, as photographed 23.07.2011. K. Rylance.

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