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Grosse Pointe Shores

Every picture tells a story

Shores seeks old photos and more for book on city’s history

January 8, 2013

» click to enlarge «
The historic Vernier Roadhouse, once owned by John Vernier, served frog legs and beer to ice racers at the turn of the century. The early Grosse Pointe Shores building — which dates back to at least 1888 — was later turned into a clubhouse and then became part of the Grosse Pointe Yacht Club.
The Vernier brothers once owned the Vernier Store, an ice cream parlor and candy store located on Lake Shore, near Vernier Road. The city is looking for historic photos for a book about Shores history.

GROSSE POINTE SHORES — The city has had enough political battles in recent years to make for a compelling novel, but Shores officials are looking at telling their city’s story in a less contentious manner.

The city’s Ambassador Committee, whose mission is to promote the Shores to potential new residents, is seeking historic photos from past and present residents for use in a book that will explore the city’s history. The Shores was incorporated in 1911 as a village and became a city after voters approved that change, along with a new charter, in 2009. In 2011, the city celebrated its 100th anniversary with a weekend of activities that included a historical display and a parade.

City Council member Kay Felt, the council liaison to the Ambassador Committee, said they have residents who are interested in donating money to cover the cost of producing the book. At press time, the donors wanted to remain unnamed.

In addition to photos, Felt said the city is looking for historic information on properties in the Shores, and current or former residents with such information are encouraged to share this with officials for the book.

During a Dec. 18 City Council meeting, Mayor Ted Kedzierski said he had met with one of the donors earlier that day.

“They’re pretty excited about it,” Kedzierski said about the book project.

Officials were still debating whether to contract with Arcadia Publishing — a Mount Pleasant, S.C.-based company that has published thousands of local histories, but whose books are more photo-based than text-based — or to self-publish. As Kedzierski noted, they would have more creative freedom with regard to space and layout, if they published the book themselves.

As of mid-December, Felt said they were in the final stages of selecting an author for the book. Although she didn’t want to reveal the names of the finalists yet, she indicated that one of the candidates is someone who has written other local history volumes.

If they go with Arcadia, Kedzierski said they’d need about 200 photos, as well as the rights to use them. He said they see the book as something that could be presented to businesses, especially those currently located in downtown Detroit or in the process of opening offices there, as a way to market the Shores as a place for executives to live.

Although the mayor didn’t necessarily see the book as something that would be sold, Felt said they would likely want to make some copies available for residents and others who wanted to purchase one.

“We also think it would be nice for people to have in their homes … and to share with friends,” Felt said.

Kedzierski stressed that the cost of this project is being covered by contributions.

“It wouldn’t involve any city money,” he said.

The council as a body is expected to weigh in on this issue nonetheless.

“This would represent Grosse Pointe Shores, so the council has the final say, yes or no,” Kedzierski said.

Anyone with historical photos or other information they would be willing to share for the book should contact City Manager Mark Wollenweber at (313) 881-6565.

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