Historical Architecture of Grosse Pointe – The Pre 1911 Homes on Lake Shore, Grosse Pointe Shores

Having featured the superb historic homes of 980 and 976 Lake Shore last week, we were curious to find out how many other homes on Lake Shore, Grosse Pointe Shores were constructed around the beginning of the 20th Century.

There is an abundance of homes from this era on St Clair Avenue, Grosse Pointe City, but what about the Shores?

In 2011 the Village of Grosse Pointe Shores celebrated its centennial year. Based on research by Arthur M. Woodford in his book The Village of Grosse Pointe Shores we learnt that as part of this centennial celebration the Village honored the homes built before 1911 – there are at least a dozen.

Mr. Woodfood revealed four of these homes, and we have been able to find six others – to present 10 of these historic residences.

The majority of these homes still exist today, however throughout the course of history, several of these properties have undergone significant alterations, and so it is extremely difficult to find photo’s of the original properties. Nonetheless these homes are prized finds and play a huge part in the early development of our historic community.

Grosse Pointe Shores in 1915. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress.

In 1911 the Village of Grosse Pointe Shores was a vastly different community to what we see today. Lake Shore Road was unpaved, and the only way to reach downtown Detroit was by horse and buggy, by boat, the interurban railway (the Detroit, Lake Shore, and Mount Clemens Railway), or if you were wealthy enough, by motorcar. Year round homes were few and far between, and much of the community consisted of rural ribbon farms and a few summer cottages. Source: The Village of Grosse Pointe Shores by Arthur M. Woodford.

Lake Shore 1880 – 1901. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress.

1911 also witnessed the election of the first president of the newly established Village, George Osius. During this era, and under Mr. Osius’s guidance, the village quickly began to change. The once rural farming community became a haven for wealthy families who began to build expansive homes on the shores of Lake St. Clair.

The majority of the following pre 1911 homes still exist today. The oldest home in the community is 980 Lake Shore. Part of the home dates back to 1849, which makes it possibly the oldest clapboard house in Grosse Pointe to be still on its original foundation. You can read the full story by clicking here. 

971 Lake Shore: – completed in 1890

971 Lake Shore. Image courtesy of Arthur M. Woodford, The Village of Grosse Pointe Shores.

860 Lake Shore: The original home was completed in 1898 (the photo below, from 1972), is of the original Victoria style home. The architectural approach of the property was similar to many of the wonderful mid Victorian style homes found on St. Clair Avenue, and was extremely popular during this era. We believe it was razed around 1990, and a new home built on the lot.

860 Lake Shore

858 Lake Shore: – completed in 1900.

858 Lake Shore

888 Lake Shore: – completed in 1904

888 Lake Shore. Image courtesy of Arthur M. Woodford, The Village of Grosse Pointe Shores.

830 Lake Shore: – completed in 1908

830 Lake Shore. Image courtesy of Arthur M. Woodford, The Village of Grosse Pointe Shores.

920 Lake Shore: – completed in 1908 (rebuilt in 1960)

920 Lake Shore

850 Lake Shore: – completed in 1909 (It has since been extensively remodeled)

850 Lake Shore

844 Lake Shore: – completed in 1909 – designed by John C. Stahl. The photo below was taken in 1946.
Designed by John C. Stahl, this is one of only a few residences in Grosse Pointe by this architect. Stahl, a German American, was born in Detroit, 1874. After graduating from Central High School (Wayne State University) in 1903 he worked in architectural offices during the day and studied building and design at night school. Stahl had a very successful career, he established the firm of Stahl and Kinsey, and designed several churches in Detroit – during his career he was acknowledged as one of the most skilled church and school architects in the state. He was also known to be an admirer of fine woods and incorporated exquisite detailing into many of his homes, including several he created in the Indian Village Historic District between 1912 and 1916.

844 Lake Shore

880 Lake Shore: – completed in 1910 – designed by Albert Kahn
Designed by the legendary architect Albert Kahn, this Italian Renaissance inspired residence is a striking 8,403 sq ft home. C. Goodloe Edgar, president of Edgar Sugar House, dealers in sugar and molasses, commissioned it. As the photo below demonstrates the rear elevation is filled with an abundance of windows, archways and terraces, providing a perfect view of the lake.

880 Lake Shore – Courtesy of the The Legacy of Albert Kahn, by Albert Kahn.

Post 1911 the Village of Grosse Pointe Shores became a location of grand homes, gone were the farms of the original French Habitants who resided in the area pre 1911. The community had quickly established itself as a haven for some of Detroit’s wealthiest families, and luxurious properties with many having been designed by nationally renowned architects, including the Ford Estate by Albert Kahn (completed in 1927).

Thankfully some of these historic homes can still be seen today as a reminder of those early days in the Village of Grosse Pointe Shores.

 

Written by Katie Doelle
Copyright © 2018 Higbie Maxon Agney & Katie Doelle

 

If you have a home, building or street you would like us to profile please contact Darby Moran – Darby@higbiemaxon.com – we will try and feature the property.

(For more historical information on Grosse Pointe, visit Grosse Pointe Historical Society).