History

In June of 1870 Mr. Charles Palmer, then civil engineer of the Port Huron and Western railroad company, acquired a tract of cut-over pine land from William Imlay and among the stumps and blackberry brush laid out the site of Imlay City.  Almont Avenue, running north and south on the quarter line, was opened and used as a public road to the outside world.

Two brothers Elisha and Libbeus Calkins, purchased a tract of land on the west side of Almont Avenue and laid it out in lots to sell.  In the latter part of August, 1870 Libbeus Calkins built a little school house at his own expense, in which to educate the children that would, he said, be ready to attend the fall and winter school.  Although no school district was yet set off, he knew how to do it, and it was done in time.  School officers were elected and Miss Elizabeth Hulsart was hired as teacher.  The school opened about the middle of September with eleven pupils.  This school building was erected on the north side of Fourth Street, near Calkins Street, and was later rebuilt into a residence (still occupied in 1916 by Mrs. Gilbert Sisson).

            The little village grew amazingly and before spring the attendance taxed the full capacity of this pioneer school.   In 1871, the Bancroft site was purchased and a larger frame, two-story building erected.  Certain taxpayers of the district who thought the new building was much larger and more expensive than was needed did some grumbling.  However, within a decade this building began to be crowded and in 1884 an attempt was made to bond the district for $9,000 to build a larger and more modern high school.  This was defeated, but carried two years later (1886) and the front half of the brick structure was erected, the building of 1871 being tacked on behind to accommodate the lower grade pupils.

            Again the capacity of the building became taxed and a shed to accommodate the kindergarteners was built on the rear.  In 1906, the district was again bonded, for $8,000, and the north half of the Bancroft building was built, much of the timber in the old wooden building of 1871 being used.  The kindergarten shed was moved off and served in the humble capacity of garage for Elmer Flansburg at his home on west Fourth Street.

            In 1922 the district was bonded for $125,000 with which to build a new schoolhouse. In the summer of 1922 the old school was torn down and a new three story modern building was constructed.  The Class of 1923 was the first to graduate from this new building.  In 1952 a one-story brick building was built in back of the school on the west side of the alley to accommodate vocational needs. (The Bancroft building and annex was later used as an intermediate school. It is no longer a school and has been converted to senior citizen apartments.)
     
             
In 1956 a bond issue was passed for a new million-dollar high school and construction was started almost immediately.  The high school was located on West First Street and was completed on September 1, 1958.  The first class to graduate from this building was the Class of 1959.  (This building is the Imlay City Middle School and currently houses grades 6-8.)

District attendance grew rapidly, again making it necessary to build a large one-story elementary school.  The Weston Elementary School was completed on September 8, 1964.  (Today the Weston Elementary School houses kindergarten through second grades.)

In October of 1972 construction began on the Borland Road Elementary School, and students began the 1973-74 school year in that facility.  The original building contained 46,000 square feet.  The total cost of the building, including equipment and furniture, was $1,276,923.  The original building was designed to facilitate the “Imlay City Version” of a non-graded continuous progress program for later elementary students.  Over the course of the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, the academic program shifted from the non-graded continuous program to one in which students were grouped by grade level teams.  By the end of the 1980’s, the academic program evolved into one in which students were grouped into individual grade level classes and the building design changed to facilitate the program.  Substantial remodeling occurred in 1992-93.  The Borland School today houses grades 3-4-5.

            In 1993 the new two-story Imlay City High School was completed and is located at 1001 Norlin Drive (facing Blacks Corners Road) and houses grades 9-12.

In 1974 an administration building was constructed on Borland Road, as well as a bus facility on Blacks Corners Road.  Various additions have been made over the years to all four of the current school buildings (Weston Elementary, Borland Elementary, Imlay City Middle School, Imlay City High School) with major additions to all buildings in 2004.  Athletic facilities have seen many upgrades and improvements over the years, and an athletic complex is currently being developed on the west side of Blacks Corners Road.

This is the annals of the physical growth of the Imlay City schools.  It would be a labor of love, if space but permitted, to also trace the mental and ethical growth of the district, and record the undying names of those who have lovingly labored in furthering the cause of learning.  In nearly a century and a quarter the Imlay City schools have grown to be the peer of any in the county and our graduates are honored in every walk of life.

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