Roosevelt School

Established in 1909

Before the Roosevelt School was built in 1909, a prior school at East Main Street and Gilbert was built around 1883-4. This school, known as the East Avenue School, quickly became overcrowded, which led to the construction of the new school at the corner of East Main Street and Charlotte Avenue. This first school would later come to be known as the East Avenue School Annex. Once it was decommissioned as an active school, the Annex was refashioned as the Eastside Neighborhood branch of the Kalamazoo Public Library from 1910 to 1940.

East Avenue School, Kalamazoo, c. 1885-1892. KPL catalog number P-233

Eastside Branch, Kalamazoo Public Library, Roosevelt School Annex, Kalamazoo, c. 1920. Courtesy of Kalamazoo Valley Museum, 69.9.1

The Roosevelt School
East Avenue School, Kalamazoo, Michigan, c. 1917. KPL Postcard Collection

Built just east of the original school, atop a hill in 1909, The East Avenue School was renamed for the 26th President in 1926. It functioned as both an elementary and junior high school until it was closed in 1975. Three years later, Borgess Medical Center purchased the defunct building, but without any plan to repurpose the neglected building, nor any interested buyers, it sat atop the East Main hill until January of 1988, when it was demolished. Today, the Eastside Neighborhood Association calls the hill home, along with a series of apartments named Roosevelt Hills.

Photograph probably by Mamie Austin, Roosevelt School, Kalamazoo, c. 1940. KPL catalog number P-995

Class Colors: Purple and Gold

Class Flower: Lily of the Valley

Class Motto: Rowing not Drifting

Class Yell: R-R-R-rip saw, R-R-R-rip saw, R-R-R-rip saw bang,

We are members of the 9A gang,

Are we for ’em

Well I guess!

Loyalty and Leadership,

Yes! Yes! Yes!

–from Rough Riders Annual (1926)


Roosevelt Class Photograph, The Rough Riders Annual, 1926

Article written by Ryan Gage, Kalamazoo Public Library staff, March 2022


The Rough Riders Annual (1926), (H 371.8976 R856)

Local History Room Files

Subject File: Kalamazoo Public Schools – East Avenue School

Subject File: Kalamazoo Public Schools – Roosevelt School

Share: Facebook Twitter