[graphic header] Detroit: A National Register of Historic Places Travel Itinerary, National Park Service

Grosse Pointe High School

The construction of the Grosse Pointe High School in 1928 marked an important transition in the history of this area along the shores of Lake St. Clair. Grosse Pointe's move away from its farming community origins began after the Civil War, when wealthy Detroit businessman purchased much of the area's lake-front property for summer homes. By 1900, year-round mansions were rapidly replacing seasonal residences, and a sense of community had begun to form. Reflecting many citizen's growing perception that Grosse Pointe was a real (although economically exclusive) town, the need for a high school became a topic of debate in the 1910s. After a five-year battle with landowners reluctant to have their land condemned, the school district finally began the construction of the area's first public high school in 1927. Many residents saw construction as a symbol that Grosse Pointe had made the transition from resort to town and so were willing to pay for one of the finest public schools buildings in Michigan. Grosse Pointe High School dramatically announces its presence through its Georgian Revival design and a 114 foot-tall clock tower that dominates the facade. The interior is similarly impressive -- the school opened with five libraries, two gyms, an auditorium, and a swimming pool--amenities some thought too luxurious. During the Great Depression, the interior received a beautiful series of WPA-funded murals, and the area's growing population led to additions in the 1940s and 1950s. It became Grosse Pointe High School South in 1967, when the township built another high school, but the building continues to serve the students and town of Grosse Pointe.

The Grosse Pointe High School is located at 11 Grosse Pointe Boulevard in the Detroit suburb of Grosse Pointe, one block north of Jefferson Avenue. Tours of the High School are available by appointment only: call (313)-343-2133, leave a message for the Preservation Club.

Grosse Pointe High School Grosse Pointe High School

  Cleminson Hall Cleminson Hall (former Library)
Photographs by Deborah Goldstein

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