History of George Defer Elementary School



George Defer

bullet The land upon which Defer Elementary School was built was once a rhubarb patch located on the Ludwig Meininger farm, a two-block wide strip of land which extended from what is now Chandler Park Drive in Detroit to Lake St. Clair.

Lydia Meininger (1893-1950),
 great-granddaughter of Ludwig Meininger; photo 1914

bullet The Meininger farm also included a strawberry field, an apple orchard, and dairy cows.  The Meininger family sold its rhubarb patch to be developed as subdivisions. 
bullet Defer was designed by Detroit architect George J. Haas (who also designed South High School). Construction began in 1924 and was completed in 1925, making Defer the oldest school building in use today in the Grosse Pointe system.  The school is designed in the Tudor Revival style and decorated with Pewabic ceramic tiles.  Click here for information about Pewabic Pottery.

Pewabic Tiles

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bullet The cost of the original construction was $244, 219.19; an addition was built in 1927 for $102,263. 
bullet Defer was named after George Defer (1880-1927) who was a trustee of the Village of Grosse Pointe Park from 1914-1917 and its president from 1918-1926.  At the time of his death in 1927, he was a newly elected Michigan State Senator.

bullet Defer's  first principal was Frederick Kerby (1925-1960). Other former principals include Jay Flowers, Robert Shover, Sheila Turney, and Dave King.
bullet Defer celebrated its 75th Anniversary at a Spring Social on June 12, 2000.

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bullet A ceremony was held on June 10, 2002 during which the state historical marker and the Peace Garden and Peace Pole were dedicated.

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