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December 05, 2013
GROSSE POINTE SHORES — The author of a forthcoming book about Grosse Pointe Shores has “extraordinary access” to historical documents regarding the community’s heritage, according to D.J. Boehm, chair of the municipal Ambassador Committee.

“There’s a collection of over 200,000 items from 1880 to 1950 that includes photos of homes along Lakeshore which have never been published,” Boehm said.

Members of the volunteer committee, formed to promote the Shores as a good place to buy houses and raise families, expect the book to be published in 2014 by Arcadia Press.

They’ve chosen Arthur Woodford to write it.

“The theme is to tell the story of Grosse Pointe Shores from its founding to the 100th anniversary in 2011,” Woodford said. “The committee would like a publication they can present to new residents that move into the community and a special situation that warrants a gift from the city, as well as having on sale as part of the Arcadia series.”

Woodford, of Harsens Island, edited both “Tonnancour” volumes for the Grosse Pointe Historical Society. He also edited “The Michigan Companion,” published in 2011 by Omnigraphs, and wrote an Arcadia book about former Tashmoo Park.

“Albert Kahn representatives granted him access to some documents,” Boehm said.

Among Kahn’s many architectural designs is the original Shores city hall, built in 1915, during the administration of George Osius, the village’s first president and namesake of the municipal lakeside park.

City hall was renovated by local architect Robert Wakely in 1984 during the administration of Gerald Schroeder, namesake of the playfield behind the building.

Woodford is researching Osius.

Osius headed Michigan Ammonia Works, was president of the Detroit Public Library Commission and served on the boards of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and Community Fund, the predecessor of the United Fund.

“He was a very community-minded individual,” Woodford said. “That shows in all that he did in Grosse Pointe Shores.”

Despite the number of photos available, Boehm hopes for an image of the former tow rope on the sledding hill.

Publication of the book is being financed by a private benefactor.

There’s no cost to the community. The city retains rights to profits from sales, city officials said.

Arcadia products, such as books it published about Grosse Pointe and the Grosse Pointe War Memorial written by residents Suzy Berschback and Ann Marie Aliotta, are quasi self-published under the aid of company editors.


While work progresses on the book, parallel efforts continue about the selection of a commemorative municipal tile.

“There’s discussion about putting a picture on the tile rather than the city seal,” Boehm said. “If you like that idea, if you dislike that idea, let (City Manager) Mark (Wollenweber) know.”

“So far, we’ve gotten very favorable comment about that,” Wollenweber said.

Tiles may be produced by Motawi Tileworks in Ann Arbor or Pewabic Pottery in Detroit.

“We have pricings from Motawi,” Wollenweber said. “They do a wonderful job. I’m expecting a quote shortly from Pewabic Tile.”

“Some (people at) Motawi trained at Pewabic,” Boehm said.

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