West Bloomfield residents Gina and Rob Gregory have released the third edition of their book, “Our History & Remembrance of Pleasant Lake, West Bloomfield, Michigan.”

West Bloomfield residents Gina and Rob Gregory have released the third edition of their book, “Our History & Remembrance of Pleasant Lake, West Bloomfield, Michigan.”

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

Couple explores Pleasant Lake history in new book

By: Mark Vest | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published November 3, 2022


WEST BLOOMFIELD — Although the word “home” can take on a significant meaning for many people, for local couple Gina and Rob Gregory, the place that they call home is so special that they believed it was worthy of filling the pages of a book.

The couple recently released the third edition of “Our History & Remembrance of Pleasant Lake, West Bloomfield, Michigan.”

The first two editions were published in 1997 and 2007.

Pleasant Lake is located between Walnut Lake, Halstead and Drake roads.

In anticipation of the 100th anniversary of the subdivision they live in, Pleasant Lake Highlands, the couple decided to publish a third edition of the book, which includes new memories and information from 34 sources about the creation, habitation, development and current status of Pleasant Lake and its surrounding areas.

The latest edition of the book has been accepted by the Library of Congress and contains 375 images and 40% more text, according to a release about the book.

According to Gina Gregory, who is the president of the Greater West Bloomfield Historical Society, the idea for the book started with an interest in recording the story of the last weekend-only resident of Pleasant Lake Highlands, Dorothy Gorman.

“From there, the effort has snowballed over the years,” Gregory said. “It’s exciting to put it all together. This is a color edition, professionally formatted. … It chronicles the history of our lake and the immediate area surrounding it, which includes the history of the southwest corner of West Bloomfield Township.”

Gregory said that the first edition of the book was written using a four-line text screen computer. It was 28 pages long and featured 47 black-and-white photographs, with the second edition consisting of 98 pages and 153 black-and-white images.

The current edition comprises 150 color pages and 375 images, Gregory said. She added that 200 copies were printed for Pleasant Lake Highland’s 100th anniversary, and that home movies will be available for viewing on the homepage of the Greater West Bloomfield Historical Society’s website, gwbhs.org.

Gregory shared information about the residence Gorman occupied on weekends.

“The property was first purchased by her grandfather in 1924,” she said. “They built a home there, and we have a photo of that in the book, when there were no trees or subdivision. So life has changed from this being a rural resort area to then a suburban area, and now it’s a well-built-out subdivision suburban area.”

Gregory said that she has lived in the Pleasant Lakes Highlands subdivision since 1982, with Rob having lived there since 1979.

She discussed how research was conducted for the book.

“By talking to neighbors, and one question leading to another, and the way all research goes: You just kind of look around and see what you can develop,” Gregory said. “I worked with the Bentley Library (in Ann Arbor), the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Detroit Public Library, (and the) Oakland County Pioneer and Historical Society. This latest edition has maps that were created through (the) Oakland County Office of Economic Development.”

Despite being a decades-long resident of Pleasant Lake, Gregory still finds herself being fascinated by the area she calls home.

“You just develop a real appreciation for how special this area is,” she said. “We have 3.37 acres, or miles, of ‘Natural Beauty Roads’ close to us,” she said of a Road Commission of Oakland County designation that preserves wildlife and vegetation in certain areas. “We have woodlands and wetlands. We have the West Bloomfield Trail close to us. We have Karner Farm. … We have Detroit Archers, on Drake Road, close by, and then large properties that are undeveloped.”

Lisa Hendricks has been a Pleasant Lake Highlands resident for nearly 40 years. She contributed pictures for the book.

Hendricks said that the book captures Pleasant Lake “very, very well.”

“They have done extensive research — way more than anybody I can think of would’ve even thought to do,” Hendricks said. “It’s very in-depth, and they’ve looked up old residents and families of property owners. They’ve really put a lot into this book.”

From Gregory’s perspective, the book she and her husband authored can also appeal to residents who don’t live in the Pleasant Lake Highlands subdivision.

“I’ve put in here everything that I’ve learned about our local history, so it’s an exhaustive resource,” she said. “For anyone who lives in West Bloomfield, or especially the southwest area of West Bloomfield, there’s information in here that’s of interest to everyone.”

Gregory described the landscaping of the area as “wooded” and “beautiful.”

She considers the work and research she has put into the book over the decades a labor of love.

“When I go for a walk through my neighborhood, I’m observing how beautiful it is and thinking, ‘That might make a good photo for the book,’” Gregory said.

The book includes historical information, personal profiles and even “pretty interesting” photographs of wildlife.

“I love being able to see pictures of how it used to be, compared to now, and read about how kids went to school then compared to now — some of the area around the neighborhood, how it was developed and has changed or how it wasn’t developed in some areas and now it is very developed,” Hendricks said. “It’s very interesting. … Anybody that lives here, especially if you’ve been here a while, it is our history.”

Gregory said 34 people contributed to the book.

Gregory has been the president of the Greater West Bloomfield Historical Society since 2013. She attended Cody High School in Detroit before going on to get a master’s degree in education from Michigan State University.

Gregory taught in the Detroit Public Schools system for approximately 15 years prior to retiring after having children.

She expects the third edition of “Our History & Remembrance of Pleasant Lake, West Bloomfield, Michigan” to be the last.

“This was a large project,” Gregory said. “I think that we said everything that there is to say. So if we run out of 200 copies, we’ll get more.”

The price of the book is $40.

To order a copy, send an email to ginagregory1951@gmail.com.

Community members can also review and purchase the book during a free Pleasant Lake History Open House scheduled at the Orchard Lake Museum from 1-4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 13.

The Orchard Lake Museum is located at 3951 Orchard Lake Road in Orchard Lake.