|COOLEY HIGH (HUBBELL) BUS LINE
|The above map (left) shows the route of the COOLEY HIGH (Hubbell Street) bus route as it appeared on a September 1950 DSR Transportation Guide Map.
The Cooley High route has been highlighted on map in black to distinguish it from surrounding routes in green. (Click-on map to view larger detailed version)
The COOLEY HIGH bus line was an obscure and unusual route operated by the Detroit D.S.R. (Department of Street Railways) during the
1950s. Although very limited information seems to exist on the service, the "COOLEY HIGH" coach line did appear on DSR route maps
published during the 1950s through the early 1960s.
|The above photo (right) shows Detroit's Thomas M. Cooley High School shortly after it opened in 1928. Located on Hubbell between Fenkell and Chalfonte,
Cooley High was the only Detroit school to have a regular DSR bus route that also carried the school's name. When this photo was taken, Model T style
cars and horse-drawn vehicles (center) still shared the road, while Hubbell Street (foreground) remained unpaved. (Virtual Motor City COL. photo #77178 )
-- HUBBELL STREET TRIVIA:
Did you know?? Prior to the surrounding area being annexed to the City of Detroit from Greenfield Township, the road known today as Hubbell
Avenue (a 6½-mile long north-south roadway that travels along Detroit's west-side) was known as Church Road north of Fullerton Street and
Chase Road to the south. But by 1926, the entire street (now within Detroit) had been renamed in honor of Clarence W. Hubbell (1870-1950),
a civil engineer who began working for the Detroit Department of Water Supply (DWS) in 1893, but also served as the "Civil Engineer Officer" for
the Board of Water Commissioners from 1903 to 1907. He would return to city government in 1917 after being appointed to the position of "City
Engineer" for the City of Detroit (1917 to 1922), where he oversaw the design, bidding and construction of 66 major underground sewer projects.
Clarence Hubbell played a major role in the development of Detroit's infrastructure during the early 1900s.
Meanwhile, in 1915, Mr. Hubbell established his own engineering consulting firm — which later incorporated as "Hubbell, Roth & Clark, Inc." The
company would become a leader in civil engineering; designing water-sewerage systems and waste-water treatment facilities. Today, the firm he
founded still exists as HRC Consulting Engineers and is headquartered in Bloomfield Township, MI.
When construction began on Detroit's Thomas M. Cooley High School
on Hubbell Street in 1927—just three years after the surrounding area had been annexed to Detroit from Greenfield Twp.—transit service to the area was limited mostly to short feeder bus routes (many of which not yet launched)
that connected to the Grand River
streetcar line a mile or two away. The only immediate bus route at the time was the DSR
bus line, which provided bus service along Fenkell Street just north of the new school. An attempt was made in 1929 to launch bus service through the developing neighborhood along Hubbell Street when a "Hubbell"
bus route began operating from Wyoming and Puritan—via Puritan and Hubbell streets—to Fenkell and Hubbell. This service was implemented on April 8, 1929. However, the Hubbell
bus service through that (initially) sparsely settled area was short-lived and the service was discontinued three months later, on July 17, 1929.
The first reference of bus service along Hubbell Street to service Cooley High School appears to be in 1941, when service along Hubbell (between Schoolcraft and Fenkell) was operated as a branch service off the Schaefer bus route (launched on Oct. 6, 1941), but only on school days during A.M and P.M. school hours. It appears that the service continued to operate off the Schaefer schedule for a number of years. The next available information shows that by 1950, service to Cooley High was now being operated as a separate bus route, and was listed on a September 1950 issued DSR Transportation Guide Map as the "COOLEY HIGH" coach line.
While the DSR did operate a number of school runs for the Detroit Board of Education beginning in August 1940—which lasted well into the mid-1970s—many were special "school spots" operating along already established routes, while others were special daily chartered-service "school runs" that picked-up children at designated locations, much like Detroit Public Schools (DPS) contracted school-buses do today. The Cooley High route was unusual in that it operated as a regular route providing local bus service along Hubbell Street. It was also listed on DSR routes maps along with regular streetcar and bus lines. Normally, DSR school spots and school runs were not listed on timetables or maps distributed to the public.
A January 1951 published "DSR Transportation Guide of 1951" describes the COOLEY HIGH coach route as follows:
Northbound—Schoolcraft and Grand River via Schoolcraft, Hubbell, Chalfonte, Sussex to Fenkell.
Southbound—Via Fenkell, Hubbell, Grand River to Schoolcraft.
A.M. and P.M. service on School Days ONLY.
By 1956, the route had been extended 1¼-mile northward to Outer Drive, with service hours now listed as "7:35 A.M. to 3:50 P.M. on school days ONLY." Although service to Outer Drive was still being listed on a 1960-61 DSR Service Map, a 1963 Service Map shows the route had now been extended ¾-of-a-mile north to Seven Mile Road. However, by the mid-1960s, the Cooley High route seems to have been discontinued as a regular bus route and no longer appeared on DSR Service Maps. In addition, the Cooley High route was never assigned a route number when the DSR began assigning route numbers to its bus routes in 1966. (see: DSR Route Numbers)
Although it appears that the Cooley High line had now been discontinued as a stand-alone bus route, this did not bring about the elimination of bus service along Hubbell Avenue directly to Cooley Senior High School. According to those familiar with the service, it appears that the Cooley High service continued to operate for a number of decades thereafter, well into the D-DOT years.
|A QUICK LOOK AT DETROIT'S THOMAS M. COOLEY SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL
Detroit's Cooley High School—named in honor of Thomas McIntyre Cooley (1824-1898); renowned 19th century professor, lawyer, jurist,
and former Chief Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court—opened as a public high school on September 4, 1928. The three-story building,
built in a Mediterranean Revival-style architecture, is located on a 17.6-acre site at the intersection of Hubbell and Chalfonte streets, just
south of Fenkell on Detroit's northwest side. Built during the time when the surrounding recently annexed neighborhood was experiencing
rapid growth, Cooley High would see its student population expand from 1,570 in 1928 (the year it opened), to 3,750 students by 1932.
Today, the alumni list includes locally and nationally known personalities that attended Cooley High, including: Mike Ilitch (1947) — founder
of Little Caesars Pizza and also the owner of the Detroit Tigers and Detroit Red Wings; James P. Hoffa (1959) (son of Jimmy Hoffa) — an
attorney and President of the International Teamsters Union; Rich Fisher (1968) — longtime Detroit local TV news anchorman with WXYZ,
WJBK, and WKBD-TV; S. Epatha Merkerson (1970) — award winning actress and star of NBC-TV's Law & Order; Willie Green (1999)
— professional basketball player with the Philadelphia 76ers; Roy Tarpley — former NBA player; Obie Trice — rap music artist; and Tony
Ortiz — sportscaster and sports talk-show host for Detroit radio stations WXYZ-FM, WXYZ-AM and WWJ-AM.
During the last 20-plus years, Cooley High's student population would become a casualty of the city's overall population decline. The school
would see its student enrollment fall from 3,120 students in 1988, to only 1,194 students by 2010—lower than when it opened in 1928. Due
to major DPS budget constraints and a declining enrollment, the school system's emergency manager announced that Cooley High would
close at the end of the 2010 academic year. DPS officials cited a lack of students to fill the classrooms, a crumbling building, and too high
of a cost to fix repairs, as reasons for the building's shutdown. As a result, Cooley High School closed its doors on June 18, 2010.
HISTORY FOOTNOTE: Detroit's Cooley High sits just south of the intersection of two city streets named in honor of two early 20th century civil engineers who were
instrumental in the development of Detroit's underground water supply, sewer, and sewage disposal systems: Hubbell Avenue, named for Clarence W. Hubbell
(see above) and Fenkell Street, named for George H. Fenkell, a former Commissioner of Public Works, and a long-time Superintendent & General Manager of the
Department of Water Supply (1919-1938). Both Hubbell and Fenkell played a significant role in the infrastructure development of Detroit during the early 1900s.
|A more recent photo (taken in Oct. 2008) of the former THOMAS M. COOLEY HIGH SCHOOL
located at 15055 Hubbell Avenue in Detroit. (Photo source: Wikimedia Commons)
After the DSR
was reorganized as the Department of Transportation (D-DOT)
in 1974, it appears that the Cooley High
service continued to operate, but more as a "school spot"
operation assigned to another route than as regular service. Generally, a "School Spot"
provided additional service to and from a particular school along a portion of an already established route during school arrival and dismissal times. This added service helped to alleviate service delays and passenger overloading along a particular line. The Cooley High
service was rare in that it operated along a route that didn't exist as regular service. Although the former DDOT
Route #99 Lahser
was similar in that it too primarily operated only during school hours, it differed in that the Lahser
line was an established bus route displayed on timetables and maps issued to the public.
According to DDOT coach operator Tony Wilkes—also a Cooley High alumnus—the Hubbell service was still in operation when he attended Cooley during the late 1970s; with a number of his schoolmates utilizing the service. He remembers that the buses displayed a "Hubbell" sign on the destination sign-curtain while the "route" sign-curtain was left blank. Agreement that this service continued to operate was also confirmed by a number of DDOT coach operators who operated runs assigned to school-spots at Cooley High via a route that was referred to as the "Hubbell Spinner."
Evidence that the service was still being assigned to runs on other lines is verified by a DDOT Imperial Express Schedule Sheet dated Sept. 5, 1989. The schedule sheet shows one of the Imperial Express runs (run #2) being assigned two trips in the P.M. via the Hubbell Spinner school-spot. The nine-minute long route operated from Hubbell and Ellsworth (one block south of Fenkell) to Hubbell and Seven Mile. There also appeared to be an attempt made by DDOT in 1989 to assign a route number to the service upon the arrival of the #2000-series MCI "Classic" coaches—the city's first coach fleet equipped with computerized route/destination signs. According to a DDOT employee issued Route Destination Sign-Code booklet dated Dec. 5, 1990, the service was listed as Route "#101 HUBBELL" with route destination codes listed for "101 HUBBELL / FENKELL" and "101 HUBBELL / SEVEN MILE." Whether this route number designation was ever "officially" used by DDOT appears doubtful.
According to the information gathered from various DDOT employees, it appears that after nearly 55 years of operation the Hubbell Avenue service to Cooley High School was discontinued sometime during the mid-1990s.
Information for the above article compiled from various sources, including numerous DSR Route Maps and Detroit street maps in the author's possession – dating between 1917-1963; the Jan-Feb 1991
edition of Motor Bus Society's Motor Coach Age Magazine in the article titled "Detroit's DSR, Part 1" by Jack E. Schramm; and from other miscellaneous sources, including information on the Hubbell
Spinner shared by DDOT employees, for which the author is forever grateful. Special appreciation to D-DOT TEO Tony Wilkes for his assistance. Cooley High Route Map edited by H.B.Craig,II
Virtual Motor City Collection photo #77178 courtesy of the Walter P. Reuther Library, Wayne State University. All rights, including those of further reproduction and/or publication, are reserved in full by
the Walter P. Reuther Library, Wayne State University. Photographic reproductions may be protected by U.S. copyright law (U.S. Title 17). The user is fully responsible for copyright infringement.
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