“Sweet, Sweet Powder Blue!” So begins a popular cheer at Mumford High School, the only school in Detroit accented with blue tiles. But as any savvy Detroiter knows, the school’s blue exterior is hardly its only distinction.
Mumford, located in Northwest Detroit, sits on twenty acres of land at the corner of Wyoming and Thatcher. It’s named for Samuel C. Mumford, a Detroit Edison treasurer, who served for 22 years on the Detroit Board of Education and was elected Board President three times.
Mr. Mumford was best known as a spirited, honest, unselfish and even tempered man who won the respect of all who came in contact with him. Among his efforts, the most notable was ridding the Board of Education of corruption during the 1920s, which won him the respect of the entire community. His character was impeccable and prestigious.
Blueprints for Mumford were completed in 1941, however, World War II delayed construction until 1947. The school finally opened its doors in September, 1949, to a student body of 428 and a faculty of 12. The first unit, known as the south wing, was opened under the leadership of its first principal, Mr. C. E. Frazier Clark. The building was not completed until 1953, when the auditorium, gymnasium, shop wing and cafeteria were opened. The dance studio wing and fitness center were both completed in 1981.
Mumford is noted for many firsts: the first Compact High School in Michigan, creating a positive alliance between business, higher education, organized labor and the school; the first Metro-Detroit high school to offer a state-of-art Computer Technology Center; the pioneer school for Channel One,a unique national presentation of news focused on youth.