Grosse Pointe

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St. Paul Catholic Church at 157 Lake Shore in Grosse Pointe Farms - The current French Gothic Revival structure was constructed in 1899 and designed by Harry J. Rill

Grosse Pointe refers to a coastal area in Metro Detroit, Michigan, USA, that comprises five adjacent individual communities. From southwest to northeast, they are:

The terms "Grosse Pointe" or "the Pointes" are ordinarily used to refer to the entire area, referencing all five individual communities, with a total population of about 46,000. The Grosse Pointes altogether are 10.4 square miles, bordered by Detroit on the south and west, Lake St. Clair on the east and south, Harper Woods on the west of some portions, and St. Clair Shores on the north. The cities are in eastern Wayne County, except for a very small section in Macomb County. The Pointes begin six miles (10 km) northeast of downtown Detroit and extend several miles northeastward, in a narrow swath of land, to the edge of Wayne County. The name "Grosse Pointe" derives from the size of the area, and its projection into Lake St. Clair.1

Grosse Pointe is one of the most affluent suburban areas in Metro Detroit, sharing a border with northeast Detroit's historic neighborhoods. Grosse Pointe has many famous historic estates along with remodeled homes and newer construction. On the coast of Lake St. Clair, the area has a waterfront allure. Downtown Grosse Pointe, along Kercheval Avenue from Neff to Cadieux, nicknamed "The Village," serves as a central business district for all five of the Grosse Pointes, although each of them (except Grosse Pointe Shores) has several blocks of retail. Downtown Detroit is just over seven miles (11 km) west of this downtown area, accessed by Jefferson Avenue, or several other cross-streets.

The north-south area along Lake St. Clair generally coincides with the boundaries of the two high schools. The southern areas (basically south and west of Moross Road) feature retail districts.

History

Some of the historic homes that can be found in The City of Grosse Pointe

Grosse Pointe, recognized for its historic reputation for scenery and landscape, has grown from a colonial outpost and a fertile area for small orchard owners and farmers to a coastal community with prime real estate chosen for grand estates.

The Grosse Pointes were first settled by French farmers in the 1750s after the establishment of the French Fort Pontchartrain. Members of the British empire began arriving around the time of the Revolutionary War. In the 19th century Grosse Pointe continued to be the site of lakefront ribbon farms (which are long narrow farms that each adjoin the lake, useful for irrigation and early transportation needs). Beginning in the 1850s, wealthy residents of Detroit began building second homes in the Grosse Pointe area, and soon afterward, hunting, fishing, and golf clubs appeared. Some grand estates arose in the late 19th century, and with the dawn of the automobile after 1900, Grosse Pointe became a preferred suburb for business executives in addition to a retreat for wealthy Detroiters. By the 1930s, most of the southern and western areas of Grosse Pointe contained established neighborhoods, with remaining gaps and the northern sections such as Grosse Pointe Woods developing after the 1930s.

A passenger rail line that connected Detroit to Mt. Clemens along the shore was operational by the late 1890s, making Grosse Pointe more accessible. As the automobile became the primary method of transportation and the rail line decommissioned, the vista of what became Lake Shore Drive gradually improved. Lakeside estates are accessed from Lake Shore Drive and Jefferson Avenue.

Over the course of the 20th and 21st centuries, Grosse Pointe has gained a reputation as a notable American suburb; entrepreneurial leadership, recreational activities afforded by the Great Lakes waterway, an international border with Canada, and a focus on quality of education contributed to the successful development of the region. The Russell Alger, Jr., House, at 32 Lake Shore Dr., serves as the Grosse Pointe War Memorial. Grosse Pointe contains fifteen recognized Michigan historical markers.2

Culture and contemporary life

Townhouses in Grosse Pointe.

"The Village", concentrated along Kercheval Avenue in Grosse Pointe serves as a central business district for the five Pointes with traditional street-side shopping. The Village has its own Sanders Candy and Dessert Shop, founded by Frederick Sanders Schmidt who opened a store Detroit in 1875. The Village has become a vibrant district with the emergence of mixed-use developments (more information at the Grosse Pointe page). Grosse Pointe Farms is home to "The Hill" district, located on a small bluff, which includes offices, stores, restaurants and the main branch of the public library. Near its "Cabbage Patch" district, Grosse Pointe Park has retail and restaurants on multiple cross-streets, as well as a farmer's market held weekly during the warm months. Grosse Pointe Woods' main business district lies along one of its main roads, Mack Avenue.

The recreational lifestyle historically associated with Grosse Pointe has given rise to many private clubs. The Country Club of Detroit in Grosse Pointe Farms features a notable classic course, tennis, and traditional amenities. The Grosse Pointe Yacht Club, at the intersection of Vernier Rd. and Lakeshore Dr. on Lake St. Clair, is an acclaimed boating club. The Grosse Pointe Club, also called the "Little Club," is a highly exclusive, historic club on the lakefront, on a site where wealthy Detroiters and Grosse Pointers have gathered for recreation since its organization in 1885,3 when Grosse Pointe was a cottage-town. The Lochmoor Club is another club in Grosse Pointe which has an expansive golf course and other amenities. The Hunt Club is the equestrian club of Grosse Pointe. It houses an impressive number of horses and stables for the suburban area.

A vintage mansion in Grosse Pointe, Michigan.

Many prominent Detroiters, members of the Ford family, including Edsel Ford (son of Henry Ford) and his wife, Eleanor Clay Ford, as well as Henry Ford II (grandson of Henry Ford), have chosen to reside in Grosse Pointe. The Edsel and Eleanor Ford House, at 1100 Lake Shore Drive, is open to the public for guided tours.

Each city has at least one municipal park along Lake St. Clair. The landlocked Grosse Pointe Woods has its park at the southern tip of St. Clair Shores, adjacent to Grosse Pointe Shores. Access to each of these parks is restricted to residents of its municipality, causing occasional controversy among residents of both Grosse Pointe and other neighborhoods in Metro Detroit. Jefferson Avenue, a major thoroughfare in Detroit, becomes Lakeshore Drive between Grosse Pointe Farms and Grosse Pointe Shores, and is the scenic carriageway of all five Grosse Pointes, after skirting the eastern neighborhoods of Detroit. Lakeshore Drive was featured on HGTV's television program Dream Drives and in the films Grosse Pointe Blank and Gran Torino.

The region is home to University Liggett School, Michigan's oldest independent school, and two high schools: Grosse Pointe South High School and Grosse Pointe North High School, which are the termini of the Grosse Pointe Public School System.

Newspapers and community organizations generally serve all five cities, as do the public library and school system, but municipal services are separate. The Grosse Pointe News, on a weekly basis, and the Grosse Pointe Times, on a semi-weekly basis, publish local news, though the Detroit Free Press and The Detroit News provide the majority of regional, national and international news.

In popular culture

The Grosse Pointe waterfront at Neff Park.

Grosse Pointe is frequently referenced in television, film and literature, often as an icon of wealth and luxury. Grosse Pointe is known for a very preppy lifestyle, including dress, auto, and homes. The classic "preppy/old money" style is extremely popular in the area, a prominent subculture existing alongside an appreciable but less well-known working class in the Grosse Pointes.

The Grosse Pointes are the setting of two novels by award-winning novelist Jeffrey Eugenides: The Virgin Suicides, which is satirical of his high school, University Liggett School, and Middlesex. Grosse Pointe was also featured in Lisa Birnbach's Official Preppy Handbook for its preppy qualities. Included were references to a stereotypical way of speech, the "Grosse Pointe Monotone," and a guide to private clubs and restaurants in the area. A novel, Grosse Pointe Girl, was written by Grosse Pointe native Sarah Grace McCandless.

The 1997 film Grosse Pointe Blank is set almost entirely in Grosse Pointe and shows scenes of Detroit and Grosse Pointe, but was filmed in Chicago and Monrovia, California. The film stars John Cusack, Minnie Driver, Joan Cusack, and Dan Aykroyd. John Cusack played the role of a 1986 Grosse Pointe South high school graduate turned assassin who returns to the Pointes after a long absence. The opening drive sequence was filmed on location in Grosse Pointe, along Lakeshore Drive, as was a brief scene depicting Grosse Pointe South High School. This same road was featured in Michael Moore's 1989 film Roger & Me, and in the 2009 film Gran Torino starring Clint Eastwood. Gran Torino is set in modern Detroit and its inner suburbs, and several scenes were shot across the Grosse Pointes, particularly Grosse Pointe Park.

A number of television programs make reference to the region, most notably Grosse Pointe starring Lindsay Sloane, Bonnie Somerville, and Nat Faxon. It aired on The WB Television Network in 2000 and 2001. In the television series Northern Exposure, pilot Maggie McConnell was a native Grosse Pointer who had moved to Alaska. In the Nickelodeon program Hey Dude, the character of Brad Taylor was from Grosse Pointe. The 1980s "21 Jump Street," with a very young Johnny Depp, mentioned Grosse Pointe in the first season when the show supposedly took place in Detroit. Finally, in an episode of the Simpsons, Homer yells, "Go back to Grosse Pointe" to a bunch of deer that he thinks are fur-coat-wearing tourists.

Architecture

Grosse Pointe has a significant collection of historic architecture as well as some newer mansions. Albert Kahn designed the Edsel & Eleanor Ford House (1927) at 1100 Lakeshore Dr. in Grosse Pointe.4 Rose Terrace (1934–1976), the mansion of Anna Dodge, once stood at 12 Lakeshore Dr. in Grosse Pointe. Designed by Horace Trumbauer as a Louis XV styled château, Rose Terrace was an enlarged version of the firm's Miramar in Newport, RI.5 A developer, the highest bidder for Rose Terrace, demolished it in 1976 to create an upscale neighborhood. This gave a renewed sense of urgency to preservationists.5 The Dodge Collection from Rose Terrace may be viewed at the Detroit Institute of Arts. The Italian Renaissance styled Russell A. Alger House (1910), at 32 Lakeshore Dr., by architect Charles A. Platt serves as the Grosse Pointe War Memorial.6 Many noted architects designed works in Grosse Pointe including Albert Kahn, Marcel Breuer, Marcus Burrowes, Chittendon and Kotting, Crombie & Stanton, Wallace Frost, Robert O. Derrick, John M. Donaldson, Louis Kamper, August Geiger, William Kessler, Hugh T. Keyes, George D. Mason, Charles A. Platt, Leonard Willeke, Eliel and Eero Saarinen, Field, Hinchman, and Smith, William Buck Stratton, and Minoru Yamasaki. Included below are examples of some of Grosse Pointe's many historic structures.

Landmarks

Name78910 Image Year Location Style Architect Notes
Grosse Pointe Academy GrossePointeAcademy2.JPG 1928 171 Lake Shore Dr.
42°23′35″N 82°53′37″W / 42.39306°N 82.89361°W / 42.39306; -82.89361 (Academy of the Sacred Heart)
Tudor William Schickel,
Magginnis and Walsh
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places.11 Formerly known as the Academy of the Sacred Heart.
Country Club of Detroit 220countryclub.JPG 1927 220 Country Club Dr. Tudor SmithGroup
Russell A. Alger Jr., House12 Moorings.JPG 1910 32 Lake Shore Dr.
42°23′13″N 82°53′50″W / 42.38694°N 82.89722°W / 42.38694; -82.89722 (Alger, Russell A., Jr., House)
Italian Renaissance Charles A. Platt Grosse Pointe War Memorial. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places.11
Beverly Road Historic District BeverlyRoadHistoricDistrict.JPG 1911 23-45 Beverly Rd.
42°23′18″N 82°54′6″W / 42.38833°N 82.90167°W / 42.38833; -82.90167 (Beverly Road Historic District)
Colonial,
Neo-Renaissance,
Tudor
Albert Kahn, Robert O. Derrick, Raymond Carey, and Marcus Burrowes, et al. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places.11
Ralph Harmon Booth House 315Washington.JPG 1924 315 Washington Road Tudor, Jacobean Marcus Burrowes Originally home of U.S Minister to Denmark, Detroit Institute of Arts Philanthropist, and brother of George Gough Booth, 12,000 square feet (1,100 m2).
JP Bowen House 16628EastJefferson.JPG 1927 16628 East Jefferson French colonial Wallace Frost A 9,000-square-foot (840 m2) lakefront estate.
Buck-Wardwell House Buck-Wardwell House.jpg 1840 16109 East Jefferson, at Three Mile Colonial William Buck The oldest extant brick house in Grosse Pointe, a large colonial home.
Christ Church Chapel ChristChurchChapel.JPG 1930 61 Grosse Pointe Rd.
42°23′29″N 82°54′3″W / 42.39139°N 82.90083°W / 42.39139; -82.90083 (Christ Church Chapel)
Neo-Gothic Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue Listed on the National Register of Historic Places.11
Defer Elementary School Defer Elementary School, Grosse Pointe Park, Michigan (October 12, 2008).jpg 15425 Kercheval
42°23′0.01″N 82°56′6.66″W / 42.3833361°N 82.9351833°W / 42.3833361; -82.9351833 (Defer Elementary School)
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places.11
Charles A. Dean House- "Ridgeland" 221Lewiston.JPG 1924 221 Lewiston. Mediterranean, Tuscan Hugh T. Keyes A 9,000-square-foot (840 m2) hillside estate.
Paul Harvey Deming House "Cherryhurst" PaulHarveyDeming.JPG 1907 111 Lake Shore Dr.
42°23′30″N 82°53′40″W / 42.39167°N 82.89444°W / 42.39167; -82.89444 (Deming, Paul Harvey, House)
Tudor Listed on the National Register of Historic Places.1113
C. Goodlee Edgar House 1910 880 Lake Shore Dr. Colonial Revival Albert Kahn 8
Benson Ford House- "Woodley Green" 1934 635 Lake Shore Dr. Georgian Hugh T. Keyes The house is the former home of Benson Ford, grandson of Henry Ford.10 Also known as the Emory W. Clark House.9
Edsel and Eleanor Ford House14 EdselFordHouse1.jpg 1927 1100 Lakeshore Dr.
42°27′21″N 82°52′26″W / 42.45583°N 82.87389°W / 42.45583; -82.87389 (Ford, Edsel and Eleanor, House)
Cotswold Albert Kahn,
Jens Jensen
President of Ford Motor Company, son of Henry Ford, the 20,000-square-foot (1,900 m2) estate is open to the public for guided tours. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, located in Macomb County.
Henry Ford II House 160Provencal.JPG 1957 160 Provencal Rd. Georgian The mansion has 9,723-square-foot (903.3 m2) and is the former home of Henry Ford II, Chairman and CEO of Ford Motor Company, grandson of Henry Ford.10
Grosse Pointe South High School15 GPSouthHS.jpg 1928 11 Grosse Pointe Blvd.
42°23′27″N 82°54′8″W / 42.39083°N 82.90222°W / 42.39083; -82.90222 (Grosse Pointe High School)
Georgian George J. Haas Listed on the National Register of Historic Places.11
Grosse Pointe Memorial Church GrossePointeMemorialChurch.JPG 1927 16 Lake Shore Dr. Neo-Gothic William E.N. Hunter Listed on the National Register of Historic Places.11
Grosse Pointe Yacht Club Grosse Pointe yacht club.jpg 1929 Lake Shore Dr. at Vernier Venetian Guy Lowell
Henry B. Joy House16 Lake Shore Dr. at Kerby Albert Kahn "Fair Acres" estate, home of the President of the Packard Motor Company.
J. Bell Moran House- "Bellmoor" 15420WindmillPointe.JPG 1928 15420 Windmill Pointe Drive Tudor Robert O. Derrick A 12,000-square-foot (1,100 m2) lakefront mansion, the centerpiece of the Windmill Pointe strand of mansions.
Purdy-Kresge House 1012ThreeMileDrive.JPG 1929 1012 Three Mile Drive Tudor Leonard Willeke A 7,700-square-foot (720 m2) house along a notable row.
Saint Paul Catholic Church17 SaintPaulGrossePointeFarms.JPG 1899 157 Lake Shore Dr.
42°23′41″N 82°53′37″W / 42.39472°N 82.89361°W / 42.39472; -82.89361 (Saint Paul Catholic Church Complex)
French Gothic Harry J. Rill Listed on the National Register of Historic Places.11
Murray Sales House 251Lincoln.JPG 1917 251 Lincoln Neo-Renaissance Louis Kamper A white-stucco estate designed by the famed Washington Blvd. architect.
Carl E. and Alice Candler Schmidt House CandlerSchmidt.JPG 1904 301 Lake Shore Rd.
42°24′18″N 82°53′18″W / 42.40500°N 82.88833°W / 42.40500; -82.88833 (Schmidt, Carl E. and Alice Candler, House)
Tudor Listed on the National Register of Historic Places.11
William B. and Mary Chase Stratton House Stratten.JPG 1927 938 Three Mile Dr.
42°22′43″N 82°55′24″W / 42.37861°N 82.92333°W / 42.37861; -82.92333 (Stratton, William B. and Mary Chase, House)
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places.11
"Kasteel Batavia" R.W. Judson House KasteelBatavia15324WindmillPointWinterGrossePointe.JPG 1927 15324 Windmill Pointe Drive.
42°21′46.22″N 82°55′30.63″W / 42.3628389°N 82.9251750°W / 42.3628389; -82.9251750
Tudor Wallace Frost A 9,931-square-foot (922.6 m2) lakefront mansion, Original site of the Windmill with one of the only remaining original French missionary pear trees. Home of the President of Continental Motors.
John T. Woodhouse House Woodhouse.JPG 33 Old Brook Ln.
42°24′24″N 82°53′18″W / 42.40667°N 82.88833°W / 42.40667; -82.88833 (Woodhouse, John T., House)
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places.11
Sutton Residence 175Merriweather.jpg 1931 175 Merriweather Road Colonial Louis Kamper The smallest family home by Kamper; built for his niece Paula Kling Sutton, and husband John R. Sutton Jr.
F. Caldwell Walker House 211Vendome.JPG 1929 211 Vendome Rd Colonial Robert O. Derrick F. Caldwell Walker, grandson of distiller Hiram Walker, commissioned the 18,158-square-foot (1,686.9 m2) mansion.18

Notable residents

Edsel Ford of Grosse Pointe was the son of Henry Ford and served as the President of the Ford Motor Company.
Roy D. Chapin of Grosse Pointe was the founder of the Hudson Motor Car Company and served as U.S. Secretary of Commerce.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Farmer, Silas (1890). History of Detroit and Wayne County and Early Michigan, p. 129. Munsell & Co.
  2. ^ Michigan Historical Markers
  3. ^ Farmer 1890, p. 340.
  4. ^ A&E with Richard Guy Wilson, Ph.D.,(2000). America's Castles: The Auto Baron Estates, A&E Television Network.
  5. ^ a b Zacharias, Patricia (June 24, 2000).Mrs. Dodge and the Regal Rose Terrace. Michigan History, The Detroit News. Retrieved on November 23, 2007.
  6. ^ Grosse Pointe War Memorial, the Russell A. Alger Mansion. Retrieved on November 24, 2007.
  7. ^ Historic sites online.Michigan Historic Preservation Office. Retrieved on December 11, 2007.
  8. ^ a b Hill, Eric J. and John Gallagher (2002). AIA Detroit: The American Institute of Architects Guide to Detroit Architecture. Wayne State University Press. ISBN 0-8143-3120-3. 
  9. ^ a b Meyer, Katherine Mattingly and Martin C.P. McElroy with Introduction by W. Hawkins Ferry, Hon A.I.A. (1980). Detroit Architecture A.I.A. Guide Revised Edition. Wayne State University Press. ISBN 0-8143-1651-4. 
  10. ^ a b c d e Grosse Pointe Historical Society.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l National Register of Historic Places - Michigan: Wayne County. National Park Service. Retrieved on December 12, 2007.
  12. ^ Russell A. Alger Jr., House.Michigan Historic Preservation Office. Retrieved on December 6, 2007.
  13. ^ Michigan State Historic Preservation Objects.Deming, Paul Harvey, House. Retrieved on April 5, 2008.
  14. ^ Edsel and Eleanor Ford House.Michigan Historic Preservation Office. Retrieved on December 6, 2007.
  15. ^ Grosse Pointe High School. Michigan Historic Preservation Office. Retrieved on December 11, 2007.
  16. ^ Henry B. Joy House.Grosse Pointe Historical Society. Retrieved on December 6, 2007.
  17. ^ St. Paul Roman Catholic Church Complex. Michigan Historic Preservation Office. Retrieved on December 11, 2007.
  18. ^ Cox, Sarah and Jessica J. Trevin (September 26, 2011).Sunday Mansion Touring. Detroit.curbed.com, Detroit Free Press. Retrieved March 27, 2012.

References and further reading

  • A&E with Richard Guy Wilson, Ph.D. (2000). America's Castles: The Auto Baron Estates, A&E Television Network.
  • Bridenstine, James (1989). Edsel and Eleanor Ford House. Wayne State University Press. ISBN 0-8143-2161-5. 
  • Cantor, George (2005). Detroit: An Insiders Guide to Michigan. University of Michigan Press. ISBN 0-472-03092-2. 
  • Fisher, Dale (2003). Building Michigan: A Tribute to Michigan's Construction Industry. Grass Lake, MI: Eyry of the Eagle Publishing. ISBN 1-891143-24-7. 
  • Godzak, Roman (2000). Archdiocese of Detroit (Images of America). Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 0-7385-0797-0. 
  • Godzak, Roman (2004). Catholic Churches of Detroit (Images of America). Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 0-7385-3235-5. 
  • Godzak, Roman (2000). Make Straight the Path: A 300 Year Pilgrimage Archdiocese of Detroit. Editions du Signe. ISBN 2-7468-0145-0. 
  • Hill, Eric J. and John Gallagher (2002). AIA Detroit: The American Institute of Architects Guide to Detroit Architecture. Wayne State University Press. ISBN 0-8143-3120-3. 
  • Meyer, Katherine Mattingly and Martin C.P. McElroy with Introduction by W. Hawkins Ferry, Hon A.I.A. (1980). Detroit Architecture A.I.A. Guide Revised Edition. Wayne State University Press. ISBN 0-8143-1651-4. 
  • Socia, Madeleine and Suzie Berschback (2001). Grosse Pointe: 1890 - 1930 (Images of America). Arcadia. ISBN 0-7385-0840-3. 
  • Tentler, Leslie Woodcock with forward by Edmund Cardinal Szoka (1992). Seasons of Grace: A History of the Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit. Wayne State University Press. ISBN 0-8143-2106-2. 
  • Tutag, Nola Huse with Lucy Hamilton (1988). Discovering Stained Glass in Detroit. Wayne State University Press. ISBN 0-8143-1875-4. 
  • Woodford, Arthur M. (2001). This is Detroit 1701–2001. Wayne State University Press. ISBN 0-8143-2914-4. 

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