At first it was only young single men who made the long trek to the wilderness of the Keweenaw to work in the burgeoning copper empire. As mines matured into thriving industries and the communities around them became more civilized, those single men were soon joined by married men with families looking for work as well. With the arrival of these families came the need for the city to provide public education and the buildings necessary to provide that education.
At first only small one-room schools were necessary, but as the amount of school-aged children increased new larger buildings had to be constructed. For Hancock this meant the construction of both an elementary and high school along the city’s main street. Sitting at the grassy base of a rocky ridge the two schools were set back from the road by a long sandstone wall. These schools served the community until 1922, when the wood-framed high school burnt down. Quickly a new school was built to replace it.
Built atop the short ridge behind the old schools, the new high school is a three-story sandstone building built in the Gothic Revival style. Capped by a battlemented parapet, the building’s front façade is overrun with an array of large windows designed to allow a generous amount of natural light into the classrooms. An impressive walkway and staircase makes its way up the terraced schoolyard to the building’s main entrance.
NOTES: Since construction, this building has continually been used as a school – just not always the High School. With the completion of a new middle school up the hill, this building will cease being used as a school for the first time in over a century.
DIRECTIONS: The school sits on the right side of Quincy Street in downtown Hancock, four blocks west of the Scott Hotel.