Eagle Pointe celebrates 100 years

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published June 22, 2022

 Neighborhood boys show off the catch of the day in this undated historical photo from Eagle Pointe on the Lake.

Neighborhood boys show off the catch of the day in this undated historical photo from Eagle Pointe on the Lake.

Photo provided by Anne-Marie Poltorak

 Children ride their bikes in this undated historical photograph from Eagle Pointe on the Lake.

Children ride their bikes in this undated historical photograph from Eagle Pointe on the Lake.

Photo provided by Roy Vorhees


ST. CLAIR SHORES — The Vorhees moved to Eagle Pointe on the Lake when Roy was around 2 years old. He, along with his parents and siblings, lived there for about 13 years before leaving in 1959.

“I spent my high school years in Grosse Pointe and went on to Michigan State but would visit friends frequently here during those years,” he said.

He moved back to the subdivision, on the east side of Jefferson Avenue north of 10 Mile Road, in 1972 and has lived there ever since.

“There are probably around 17 people like me who grew up here and then moved back,” he said.

Eagle Pointe on the Lake Subdivision is special, Vorhees said. Growing up, he recalled there being bowling leagues, Cub Scouts and Brownies, poker nights, an Easter Bunny to deliver eggs, an annual pancake breakfast with a fishing derby, campouts along the lake and flashlight tag at night.

“I think it’s one of a kind — when we talk about it with other friends, everybody seems to see how unique it is,” he said.

Although there are nearly 200 homes in the subdivision now, Vorhees said there were about a third fewer homes when he was a kid, “with the rest being ditches and fields and more trees to climb. Many more kids; families had many more kids back in those days.”

The history of the neighborhood helps it stand apart, as well. Eagle Pointe is celebrating 100 years in 2022.

“Our titles go back to the original owners of the Abbot family, who settled back in this part of Michigan in the 1700s,” he said.

According to the historical page on eaglepointescs.com, French settlers founded the land that is currently St. Clair Shores in the early 1700s, outlining the coast with a system of strip farms measuring, at most, about a tenth of a mile wide by a mile in length to use irrigation from the shoreline. The French built their log cabins just off the lake, and pastures, farms and orchards stretched west of the homes.

James Abbot was born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1744 and immigrated to Detroit in 1768. He was the original owner of private claims 599 and 623 on the southwest coast of Lake St. Clair, which spanned from the current Nine Mile to 12 Mile roads. After his death, his wife and children gained full rights to his property in 1811 and allotted portions of the land to joint tenants, which were eventually sold to individual owners in 1844.

The Abbot children sold off fractions of the lots and subsequently sold the private claims to willing buyers outside of the family. This continued until into the 1900s as the lots became neighborhoods, which eventually flourished into a subdivision. Eagle Pointe Subdivision was incorporated in 1922.

“Nobody seems to know what the original homes were,” Vorhees said. “We don’t have years for those homes because it wasn’t until the late 1920s that St. Clair Shores (started) recording the years.”

Vorhees said there are several homes that were built in the 1920s that have a history tied to the Prohibition era.

He said a longtime resident living on Pointe Drive told him a story of when there were only three homes on the street.

“Legend has it that the second house from Jefferson, on Pointe Drive. ... It’s a big house. It was a two-story old house and half on the right-hand side wasn’t really two stories. It was one story because it had one floor with a huge still,” he explained. “They brewed stuff there. ... From there to the next house east, which is one-third of the way down the street, they did the bottling in that house and had underground pipes.”

The longtime resident’s house was on the same street.

“She talks about the time when she was in bed and the feds came down and banged down the door and had her dad up against the wall,” Vorhees recalled. “They did a raid, and they miscalculated and had the wrong house. She was like 4 years old.”

That’s just one of the many Prohibition stories tied to the neighborhood, he said.

“I’m not sure how accurate they are,” he added.

The Eagle Pointe subdivision will celebrate its centennial throughout the summer. The fun began with a June 4 Kick Off Block Party. On July 16, there will be a Children’s Day with a fishing derby, bike parade, face and rock painting, games, and a time capsule. Aug. 27 will bring fun for the adults with a Centennial Speakeasy/Prohibition Party.

There will be a historical marker installed to commemorate the Sept. 29 anniversary.

Vorhees said Eagle Pointe gives residents many opportunities to meet their neighbors, from spring cleanups at the lake, to fireworks displays and decorating competitions at Halloween and Christmas.

“Because of dog walking, because of the intimacy of the four streets, being behind the fence, and the 1,000-foot lakefront lot which brings us together during nice weather, we certainly get to know each other better than most communities,” he said.