Frains Lake School, Superior Township, Washtenaw County, Michigan
Location: 42.32950, -83.61522, at 7540 Plymouth Rd, Ann Arbor, MI.
Frains Lake School (Superior School District No 2) was built in 1872 and in use until 1965. Actually, I was contacted by someone who attended 2nd grade classes in 1967 in this schoolhouse, so it was in use until at least 1967. They also mentioned that it was known then as Frains Lake Elementary School, and was split into 2 rooms with a permanent wall separating grades K-2 from grades 3-6.
It's a beautiful rectangular red-brick structure in the Italianate style on a fieldstone foundation. An ornate bell tower sits on the roof, multiple rows of progressively projecting brickwork arches form spectacular decoration on top of the windows (5th photo below) and door, and a transom window above the front door let light into the entryway. Three large windows are on each side of the schoolhouse to let in plenty of light. A wood-frame addition painted grey was added to the rear of the building in the 1990s, with a fieldstone basement/foundation and large rear windows overlooking picturesque Frain Lake.
The April 19, 1872 edition of the Michigan Argus newspaper tells of a fire in the prior 37-year-old schoolhouse on April 15th, 1872, which was caused by the stove-pipe which passed through the ceiling and apparently destroyed the school. That schoolhouse was in use since 1835 as both a school and a Wesleyan Methodist church. It was a log cabin at the northwest corner of Plymouth and Warren Roads. Though the article waxes poetic as it reminisces about the old building, one teacher remarked that it had become dilapidated and work out and "was not fit to stable swine."
The 1872 replacement school is a beautiful schoolhouse in a beautiful setting; here are a few color photos of it.
If you go in person to see Frains Lake School, be sure to drive 2.5 miles east and 2.5 miles west, both along Plymouth Road, to see the nearly-as-beautiful twin schoolhouse of Dixboro School and Geer School.