Grosse Pointe comprises five communities—Grosse Pointe Shores, Grosse Pointe Woods, Grosse Pointe Farms, Grosse Pointe, and Grosse Pointe Park. (Grosse Pointe Shores extends into Macomb County, but is included here for the purposes of this book. Grosse Pointe Woods does not front on Lake St. Clair, and no entries for it appear in this book.) The Grosse Pointes lie six miles northeast of downtown Detroit. As was the case in Detroit, the lake front of the Grosse Pointes was divided into narrow ribbon (also called long lot) farms that ran about a mile inland from the lake. In the 1850s wealthy Detroiters began erecting summer homes here. From about 1910, people who profited from the lumbering and extractive industries and the industrial development of Detroit and Michigan built large year-round houses, transforming the communities into one of the most exclusive residential areas in the nation.
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