Encyclopedia Of Detroit

David Mackenzie House

David Mackenzie was an educator in Detroit, serving as longtime principal of Detroit’s Central High School, and founder of the College of the City of Detroit, precursor to Wayne State University. Central High School was located at the corner of Cass and Warren avenues, and today the building is known as Wayne State’s “Old Main.” Mackenzie’s home, one block south of the school, was a convenient location for the administrator and educator.

The David Mackenzie House was built in 1895 by the firm of Malcolmson & Higginbotham in the Queen Anne Revival style. The home’s most prominent features are the round tower with a conical turret and circular windows on one corner of the structure, the slate roof with gables and the wraparound wooden porch. Originally built for Detroit banker Frank H. Blackman, Mackenzie moved into the home in 1906. Because of Mackenzie’s hand in the formation of Wayne State University, the school purchased the home after Mackenzie’s wife Esther passed away in 1935. It has been used in several capacities as a campus building. It has also been the home of Preservation Detroit, the organization that helped save the house from being demolished in 1975 and led to the designation of the Mackenzie House, Old Main and the Hilberry Theater as the Wayne State University Buildings Historic District in 1978. The house was designated a State of Michigan Historic Site in 1979.

In March of 2018, Wayne State announced plans to move the Mackenzie House to Second Avenue and Forest Sreet, around the corner from its current location to make room for the university’s planned expansion of the Hilberry Theater and construction of its new Gateway Performance Complex.



David Mackenzie House c.1975

Invitation to Mackenzie House benefit, 1979

View all items related to David Mackenzie House