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Birmingham's School History

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Schools Timeline
Birmingham's First Schools, 1819-1869

Pen and ink.Birmingham has always been passionate about education.  The following virtual exhibit is Part 1 of our school history.  It includes vignettes that illustrate some of the earliest school history, with a timeline at the end for quick reference.  Or, download the 9-page.pdf slide show. (Part 2 will be available soon, and will cover the later 20th century schools of Birmingham.) Learn about the evolution of schools during the first era of education.

Advancing Education: The Hill School, 1869-1969
Hill School.Built at a whopping cost of $14,000 in 1869, the Union School was designed to accommodate primary and secondary students.  The incorporation of the Village of Birmingham in 1864 allowed for the raising of tax revenue to build it.  It stood at the corner of Chester and Merrill and served Birmingham and the surrounding communities well for many years. Read more about the importance of the Hill School in Birmingham's history.

New Concepts for the New Century:  1912-1974
“Schools are laboratories where children combine the hereditary influences of the past with the environment of the present in an effort to develop personal abilities to the greatest extent and thus benefit themselves and mankind for the future.” Birmingham Public Schools Annual Report ,1928-29
Baldwin High The evolution of Michigan's compulsory education requirements and the growth in Birmingham's population led to modernization and expansion of the schools as well. The once-formidable Hill School was now insufficient and outdated--students were to be grouped according to their age and grade level in buildings that were suited to their specific needs. Several of Birmingham's extant school buildings were funded and built during this time, and reflect the principles and goals of the period. Read more about Birmingham's early twentieth century schools.

The Modern Era of Birmingham Schools
Seaholm High  Careful planning aside, the pace of growth of the Birmingham community was far ahead of the schools' ability to anticipate. Largely because of the growth of the auto industry in southeast Michigan, the quiet Village of Birmingham became a desirable residential and commercial center in Oakland County. Area farms were annexed and became subdivisions and brought education-minded families with them. Something had to be done to accommodate this quickly changing educational picture!  Read more about how explosive growth and contraction shaped the Birmingham schools during the last 75 years.