Built on Detroit's West side in the late 1950s, the school was not completed until Fall 1962. Ford was built to accommodate the student overflow from Mumford, Redford, and Cooley High Schools. When it first opened, Ford's north-side was a bare cinder-block wall. When removed a few years later, the school's classroom sections were connected to the auditorium and gym.
Less than three years after the January 1955 ground breaking ceremony, Detroit's Henry Ford High School (located on Evergreen Rd, between Trojan and Fargo) opened its doors to 9th and 10th grade students on September 5, 1957. The school was built on a 23.5-acre (95,000 m2) site (costing $120,000), which was part of a parcel of land known as Southfield Woods. The building cost was $2.275M. At that time Ford consisted mainly of classrooms and a cafeteria – there was no 11th or 12th grade until the fall of 1959. Ford had no gym, auditorium, or laboratory facilities. Its initial capacity was designed for 1,225 people. The initial enrollment was 1,541 students and 64 faculty. Construction of additional facilities would be completed by the end of 1962.
Henry Ford High School under construction
Henry Ford High School shortly after construction in 1957
Another of Ford High's state track and field champions, Ijnanya Alhamisi (1991) was first to the finish line in the 400-meter dash at the 1990 MHSAA finals. Ijnanya was also the MHSAA 400-meter silver medalist in 1991.
Mark Brisker, American-Israeli professional basketball player.
Musicians Fred Kotenko, Ralph & Russ Terrana (class of 1960) were founding members of The Sunliners; the group eventually became known as Rare Earth, of Motown Records fame.
Susan Lutzo (1975) swam to an eighth-place finish in the 50-yard butterfly at the inaugural MHSAA Girls' Swimming and Diving Championships (1972); her result was the best by a DPSSAL swimmer at the groundbreaking event. Susan was also a two-time MHSAA championship qualifier in the 100-yard butterfly and 200-yard individual medley (1973, 1974).
Kevin Machemer (1976) was a three-time MHSAA finalist in springboard diving; he won a silver medal while representing HFHS at the 1976 championships. Machemer would later earn NCAA All-American recognition at Michigan State University and the University of Michigan. Kevin was also a member of the ill-fated 1980 US Olympic Team; when the United States boycotted the Games of Moscow, he was denied an opportunity to compete. In July 1980, President Jimmy Carter presented Machemer and his teammates with a commemorative gold medal from the US Mint.
Jeremy Orr (2003) won back-to-back MHSAA titles in the 200-meter dash (2002, 2003).
Cheryl Pruitt (1987) won two state titles in the 400 meter dash; taking first place in her event at the 1985 and 1987 MHSAA track and field championships.
Rodney Saulsberry (1974) is renowned nationally as a professional announcer and voice-over performer.
Larry VerBerg (1977) and Athleen Bowles (1977) won individual state titles at the 1977 MHSAA track and field finals; VerBerg took first place in the 880-yard run, and Bowles sprinted her way to a gold medal in the 100-yard dash.