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888 Lakeshore, Grosse Pointe Shores, is a recipient of the Grosse Pointe Historical recognition plaque.

May 08, 2014
History lives and thrives in the Grosse Pointes.

The Grosse Pointe Historical Society pays tribute to living history as it recognizes three properties that reflect the variety of buildings in the area.

The individuals and organizations that have with their imagination and creativity sought to preserve and even repurpose these buildings are recognized for their vision at a free program, 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 13, at the Grosse Pointe War Memorial.

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The Country Club of Detroit will be recognized by the Grosse Pointe Historial Society as a local historical site at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 13, at the Grosse Pointe War Memorial.
"We acknowledge the contributions of residents, artists, architects at the Pointes of History presentations," said Greg Jakub, plaque committee chairman.

Three properties, The Red Crown, The Country Club of Detroit and the Rohns House on Lakeshore, will receive plaques because these properties demonstrate preservation and adaptive reuse. All three are significant in Grosse Pointe history as an outstanding example of an architectural style, a person or business that made a significant community contribution.

The program features photographs, information about the designer and current use. A reception follows the program, at which time property owners and presenters are available to answer questions.

The Red Crown Restaurant, originally a Standard Oil gas station, was built in 1932 by the company. This station, as did all company stations at the time, featured beige brick, red roof tiles and a distinctive façade.

"The Society honors the preservation of this unique building. Its preservation maintains a link to Detroit's automotive heritage and serves as an example of adaptive re-use of an historic structure," Jakub said.

A scale model of the Standard Oil Gas Station, built by Ronald Konopka, will be on display. His model includes miniature cars and uniformed attendants from the 1950s.

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The Red Crown Restaurant will be recognized by the Grosse Pointe Historial Society as a local historical site at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 13, at the Grosse Pointe War Memorial.
The second building to be recognized is the Country Club of Detroit. CCD has a history of "new club houses."

The club's first home was a building on the lake, near the foot of Fisher Road, built in 1886.

In 1905, the club bought lakeside property and retained Albert Kahn to design the club house.

In 1911, the club bought the Weir farm in order to build a new and better golf course on the "upper" property.

In 1923 the next clubhouse was opened. Kahn designed the clubhouse as an English country estate.

Two years later, a fire gutted the building.

This time the architectural firm of Smith, Hinchman & Grylls was hired. The new clubhouse, again in the old English or Tudor style is recognized as an example of a community landmark.

The third property recognized is the summer home built at 888 Lakeshore. The Hermann C. Rohns house is an example of summer homes built on the lake in the early years of the 20th century.

Rohns, an insurance executive, built the cottage in 1904. The brown shingle style home and carriage house include many Craftsman details. Current owner, Patricia Galvin, has maintained and restored these unique elements.

A slide show of all 84 Grosse Pointe historic landmarks that have received plaques are shown at the event's end.

Properties for consideration are suggested to the historical society by trustees, society members and community members. A list is compiled and the committee vets each nominated property.             

The proposed sites are evaluated on three general criteria:

Is it a recognizable historical landmark?

Is the property or one of its former residents associated with events that made a contribution to the history of the community?

Does the property represent the work of an important architect and have artistic value?

The bronze historic plaque markers bear the image of the logo of the Grosse Pointe Historical Society — a French windmill that once stood on the shore of Lake St. Clair in the 1700s. 

When a plaque is awarded, a member of the committee meets with the property owner and the plaque is mounted on the building. The plaque becomes part of the property and remains with it as part of its historic legacy.

Susan Bologna, Michael Farley, Ben Gravel, Greg Jakub contributed to this article.

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