Grosse Pointe

Grosse Pointe

Grosse Pointe, name referring to five residential suburbs of Detroit, Wayne co., SE Mich. They include the city of Grosse Pointe (1990 pop. 5,681), inc. 1879; Grosse Pointe Farms, city (1990 pop. 10,092), inc. 1893, on Lake St. Clair; Grosse Pointe Park, city (1990 pop. 12,857), inc. 1907, on Lake St. Clair; Grosse Pointe Shores, village (1990 pop. 2,955), inc. 1911; and Grosse Pointe Woods, city (1990 pop. 17,715), inc. 1927. The area was originally settled, and called Grosse Pointe Park, by the French along the lake shore c.1712. Farms clustered there became organized as Grosse Pointe township c.1846. As the nearby city of Detroit boomed with the auto industry, many wealthy industrialists established large estates in the outlying area. Henry Ford's family, including his son Edsel, built their homes there. Of interest in the Grosse Pointe area are the mansion of Russell A. Alger, now a war memorial center, and a branch of the Detroit Institute of Arts.

Grosse Pointe is a wealthy suburban city bordering Detroit in Wayne County in the U.S. state of Michigan. The city is just over one square mile, and had a population of 5,670 at the 2000 census. It is bordered on the west by Grosse Pointe Park, on the north by Detroit, on the east by Grosse Pointe Farms, and on the south by Lake St Clair. Downtown Detroit is about west of Grosse Pointe, accessed by Jefferson Avenue, or several other cross-streets. Grosse Pointe is one of five similarly named municipalities in northeastern Wayne County, and is often called "the City," or Grosse Pointe City.

Together with the Park and the Farms, the City is part of the older, southern Pointes, which have a greater overall population density than the northern Pointes (Grosse Pointe Woods and Grosse Pointe Shores). These areas became heavily populated 1910-1930 as one of Detroit's first commuter suburbs; in the previous century Grosse Pointe was home to cottages, resorts, farms, and widely-spaced lakefront mansions. Grosse Pointe ("the City"), Grosse Pointe Farms, and Grosse Pointe Park make up the Grosse Pointe South High School district. Downtown Grosse Pointe, along Kercheval Avenue from Neff to Cadieux, nicknamed "The Village," is considered by many to be the central downtown for all five of the Grosse Pointes, although each of them (except Grosse Pointe Shores) has several blocks of retail.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.3 square miles (5.9 km²). 1.1 square miles (2.8 km²) of it is land and 1.2 square miles (3.1 km²) of it is water (part of Lake St. Clair). The total area is 53.07% water.

The street layout of Grosse Pointe is basically a grid inside of its Cadieux, Mack, and Fisher Rd. boundaries. Inside of this small rectangle, most blocks have single-family homes built between 1910 and 1950, on parcels wide on average. Some streets have homes with large backyards, such as Washington and Lakeland, while streets offer less space. In some areas, the homes are configured in a more urban, close-together fashion, while in other nearby areas lots are as much as 150 feet wide.

Home sizes and styles vary widely, from 1,500 to , but slightly under on average. Most of the largest homes are found within a few blocks of the lakefront, and there are several blocks of mansions south of Kercheval. Predominant architecture includes the neo-Georgian, tudor revival, Dutch Colonial, and arts and crafts styles. Some Victorian homes and traditional bungalow homes can also be found, mostly just north and south of the Village retail district. Some blocks, generally just south of the Village, have townhouses and apartments. Most of these were built in the 1920s, though some appeared later in the 20th century. These can be seen along St. Paul, Maumee, and Jefferson Avenues, mostly west of Rivard Blvd., and between Notre Dame and Cadieux south of the Village retail district.

There are retail and low-rise office buildings along Kercheval Avenue in the Village district, on Fisher Road near Grosse Pointe South High School, and along Mack Avenue bordering Detroit.


As of the census of 2000, there were 5,670 people, 2,388 households, and 1,559 families residing in the city. The population density was 5,297.9 per square mile (2,046.0/km²). There were 2,504 housing units at an average density of 2,339.7/sq mi (903.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 97.18% White, 0.79% African American, 0.07% Native American, 1.04% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.30% from other races, and 0.60% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.46% of the population. 19.9% were of German, 14.8% Irish, 13.9% English, 7.8% Polish and 7.2% Italian ancestry according to Census 2000. The largest reported religious affiliation was Roman Catholic.

There were 2,388 households out of which 30.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.7% were married couples living together, 7.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.7% were non-families. 31.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.37 and the average family size was 3.02.

In the city the population was spread out with 25.4% under the age of 18, 4.3% from 18 to 24, 25.3% from 25 to 44, 29.3% from 45 to 64, and 15.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females there were 88.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 83.2 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $81,111, and the median income for a family was $101,889. Males had a median income of $79,637 versus $44,167 for females. The per capita income for the city was $53,942. About 2.2% of families and 2.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 1.3% of those under age 18 and 1.9% of those age 65 or over.

Downtown development

Multiple major planned investments in downtown Grosse Pointe, also known as "The Village," may increase density and add residents to what was once a shopping-only district, and represent a slight change in direction for the already-distinctive city. The Village is generally seen as the heart of all five of the Grosse Pointe municipalities.

After months of receiving citizen input regarding three possible plans from three different developers for two lots (on either side of St. Clair Ave.) currently used for municipal parking directly north of the current row of retail, the City decided to grant Morningside Equities Group of Ann Arbor the right to develop mid-rise buildings on both lots, creating an all-new street wall along St. Clair, and expanding the size of the Village with ground-floor retail and upper-floor condominiums. East of St. Clair a five-story neo-Tudor brick residential building with ground-floor retail space will rise. West of St. Clair a three-story structure with retail and a parking deck will be built.

Meanwhile, south of Kercheval along St. Clair Ave., another new residential or mixed-use development is in the works. "The Sterling," a senior-geared condominium building, was planned, but the deal recently fell through, with the developer citing the poor regional housing market. Another development proposal is expected soon.

Also, the former Jacobson's building along Kercheval, west of St. Clair, is now virtually completely redeveloped. Upper floor office space will accompany a slate of new retailers, including a now-open Trader Joe's grocer occupying specialized space in the renovated building.

Building upwards, and on top of former surface-lot space, in downtown Grosse Pointe is a rare chance for the city to add density without changing the landscape of any of the neighborhoods. The parking lots that will be built upon represent some of the only land that has not been built upon in this mature, mostly built-out city. Another goal is to return the Village district to its stature as a vital shopping destination, as it was when Jacobson's was still in operation.

Notable places

  • The Village shopping district, Kercheval Road between Neff and Cadieux.
  • Neff Lakefront Park, at the foot of University Pl. A restricted-access park with pier and harbor on southern Lake St. Clair, pool, playgrounds, picnic areas, volleyball courts, and ice-skating in the winter.
  • George Elworthy Field. A city park with tennis courts, sports fields (including Little League Baseball diamonds), and playgrounds, within walking distance of the Village. Bounded by Neff Rd., St. Clair Ave., Waterloo St., and Charlevoix Street.
  • Ralph Harmon Booth House, 315 Washington Road. The largest house in the city; an architecturally significant English Revival mansion, designed by Marcus Burrows, in the midst of other historic homes. The former home of the President of Booth Newspapers, who served as U.S. Minister to Denmark and a key Detroit Institute of Arts Philanthropist, Ralph Booth, the brother of George G. Booth.
  • Henry Tiffany Cole House, 394 Lakeland at Maumee. A large, distinctive Tudor mansion.
  • John M. Dwyer House, 372 Lakeland. A huge Georgian Colonial mansion, part of a row of mansions on lower Lakeland Ave.
  • Waterman House, 330 Lincoln. A stucco Georgian mansion built in 1911 at the corner of Maumee. Once the home of the inventor of the outboard boat motor. Features a chapel imported from England.
  • The Murray Sales House, 251 Lincoln. An Italian villa in white stucco off of Jefferson Ave. built in 1917. Designed by the famed Louis Kamper, the architect of some downtown Detroit skyscrapers, among other buildings.
  • "Rosecroft," the B. Tobin House, at 266 Lakeland Ave. A unique 1912 Tudor designed by Albert Kahn.
  • Several blocks of mansions and architecturally significant houses (including some townhouses) on Lincoln, Washington, Roosevelt, Rivard, University, and Lakeland, south of Kercheval.
  • Historic smaller homes, among the oldest in the city, along St. Clair Ave. and Notre Dame Ave., especially near Kercheval.
  • Several blocks of houses representing upscale residential architecture of the 1910-1930 period.
  • Dodge Place. A mid-century subdivision built on part of the former Horace and Anna Dodge mansion(s) site.
  • Fisher Road retail district (between St. Paul and Maumee), across from Grosse Pointe South High School.
  • Mack Avenue business district, along the length of Mack Ave. in Grosse Pointe, constituting the border with Detroit.
  • Maire Elementary School (Cadieux near Kercheval), the only of the Grosse Pointe Public Schools within the small city.
  • Grosse Pointe Unitarian Church (Maumee near Neff), the only church within the one square mile city.

See also


External links

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