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The population was 10, at the census. The township encompasses several islands in the Detroit River , of which the largest is named as Grosse Ile. Later taken under British rule after , the island was not settled by European Americans until after the United States achieved independence in the American Revolutionary War. According to the United States Census Bureau , the township has a total area of Grosse Ile is the largest island on the Detroit River.

At least three homes still standing on the island were built during this period by a descendant or relative of the Macomb brothers.

The Rucker Homestead, the oldest structure in use on Grosse Ile, has portions that date to The front structure was added by John Anthony Rucker in Westcroft, which is open to the public, features a nursery well known for growing and selling hybrid azaleas and rhododendrons.

Westcroft is one of the oldest farms in Michigan still owned by the same family. Most of the original buildings at Westcroft Gardens are still standing and well preserved.

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Macomb Street of the central business district of Grosse Ile was named in honor of the New York brothers. A monument commemorating the day that the tribal chiefs and elders signed the deed to the Macomb brothers is located at the foot of Gray's Drive and near the shoreline of the Detroit River. The original deed, which was written on parchmentis stored in the Burton Historical Collection at the Detroit Public Library.

Boating has been both a means of transportation and recreation since the first residents lived on the island. Native Americans used canoes to travel between Grosse Ile's islands and the mainland in Michigan and Canada. Early European settlers primarily used sail-powered vessels to travel to and from the islands. By the late 19th century, Grosse Ile was known as a popular destination for recreational boaters. It was also served by steamboats operating from Detroit and small towns along the river and lakes.

St. Thomas Lutheran Church Grosse Ile Christian downriver ELCA downriver Pastor Heather Oberlin christian Grosse Ile CONTACTS. OFFICE HOURS: Mon. Wed. Fri. 9-noon. EMAIL: [email protected] Church Rd. Grosse Ile, MI GET CONNECTED. Your Name (required) Your Email (required. Grosse Ile Township is a civil township of Wayne County in the U.S. state of population was 10, at the census. The township encompasses several islands in the Detroit River, of which the largest is named as Grosse by French explorers in , Grosse Ile means "Big Island". Later taken under British rule after , the island was not settled by European. Grosse Ile Township has confirmed with Wayne County that as of this week the Grosse Ile Parkway Bridge is still on track for a projected reopening in December Wayne County maintains that construction completion is dependent upon weather and other factors that could delay reopening. You can find the most recent ates from Wayne County HERE.

During this time period Sugar Island, which is one of the twelve islands commonly considered to comprise Grosse Ile, featured an amusement park, dance pavilion, and bathing beach. Paddle steamers regularly carried people from Detroit and other points along the Michigan side of the Detroit River to Sugar Island.

During this era and into the early 20th century, a number of wealthy residents from Detroit and other nearby towns built summer homes along the shoreline mainly on the southern end of Grosse Ile in order to enjoy views of the Detroit River or Lake Erie.

The interior section of the island was sparsely populated, as most of the land was undeveloped woodlands or part of farms. The residential population of Grosse Ile totaled at the U. The majority of houses were located around the perimeter of the island and main roads crossed the community chiefly in either a north-south or east-west direction. Inthe federal government funded and constructed a series of channel range lights to assist ships to avoid shallow areas in the Detroit River and its shoreline.

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The northernmost of the channel range lights was the Grosse Ile Light, which is now the only lighthouse remaining on the island. It was rebuilt in and designed as the classic white structure that has become one of the iconic landmarks on the island.

The lighthouse is considered a symbol of Grosse Ile; its image is used on the masthead of the Ile Camera community newspaper and many other places. The lighthouse's beacon was turned off in the s, and the structure is no longer an important navigation aid for lake freighters.

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Small boaters still refer to the lighthouse in their navigation of the area. Inthe Grosse Ile Township purchased the lighthouse from the U. The GIHS was given the responsibility to preserve and maintain the lighthouse.

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The GIHS annually holds a tour of the lighthouse during a weekend each fall, which is the only time of the year that it is open to the public. Island resident Cameron Waterman invented the outboard motor and successfully tested his invention during February in the ice-filled Detroit River off the shore of Grosse Ile. The company eventually manufactured and sold up to 1, outboard motors per year until Waterman sold the business in During the fall ofthe GIHS celebrated the th anniversary of Waterman's invention by hosting a public exhibition featuring fully restored Waterman outboard motors.

These are highly collectible and very rare. During the Prohibition eraGrosse Ile became a crossing point for bootleggers illegally smuggling alcoholic beverages from Canada. They typically arrived at the island via small speed boats. During the winter months, some daring smugglers drove cars across the frozen river. During the s and s, a small airport on the southern end of Grosse Ile was the location of historic early aviation activities.

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The Curtiss-Wright Flying Service operated a flying school at the airport. Amelia Earhart is rumored to have stopped at the airfield on occasion. Grosse Ile was the home of a U. Navy base for forty years. The U. Naval Air Station Grosse Ile opened in after three years of construction of seaplane and dirigible facilities.

During World War IIthe naval base developed into an important center for military flight training. The base was expanded considerably to accommodate large numbers of American and British fliers who trained on the island.

Bush was stationed at the base for training during for about two months. He later became a politician and President of the United States.

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During the height of the Cold Warin the U. Army installed an Ajax-Nike missile base at the airfield; it was functional until being decommissioned in The Navy closed the base during November The federal government transferred it in to the township government for civilian use as a municipal airport. Today, the Grosse Ile Municipal Airport is used primarily for general aviation.

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It has also been the site of public airshows. Occasionally it serves as a temporary docking area for blimps that visit southeastern Michigan to fly over major sporting events.

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The airport campus is also the site of Grosse Ile Township Hall, which was moved to this location in from Macomb Street, and a number of private businesses. In the Canada Southern Bridge Company, a subsidiary of the Canada Southern Railroad Companyestablished a railroad from the Michigan mainland to the island that carried both passengers and freight.

The company laid tracks across Grosse Ile and built bridges over the Detroit River to enable trains to be transferred to a ferryboat on Stony Island one of the islands near the east shoreline of Grosse Ile's "main island".

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Once on the ferryboat, the train cars were taken to Ontario, Canada across the river, where they were put back on a rail track to travel to Buffalo, New York and other points east. Canada Southern operated trains on this route for about ten years before ceasing service due to financial difficulties. From Trenton, travelers could connect with trains or streetcars to Detroit and other cities in the region. Inthe Michigan Central Railroad built a small brick and stone depot along the tracks near East River Road on the east side of the island.

Train service peaked during the early 20th century, but rapidly declined after Edward W. The bridge, which is privately owned, is on the west side of the island and connects to the city of Riverview. After automobile traffic crossing the bridge became the most popular means of traveling to and from the island, the Michigan Central Railroad ceased daily passenger service in early ; in it ended its occasional freight service.

Duringthe county government converted the Michigan Central Railroad's defunct rail bridge crossing the Trenton Channel into the Wayne County Bridge for use by vehicular, bike and pedestrian traffic. The rail tracks across the island were replaced by a roadway that is now known as Grosse Ile Parkway.

The Wayne County Bridge is commonly referred to as the "Free Bridge" by residents because of it does not charge a toll.

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Today, about three-quarters of the vehicle traffic going to and from Grosse Ile travels over the Wayne County Bridge, while one-quarter crosses the Toll Bridge. The Toll Bridge has been hit twice by lake freighterscausing it to close temporarily in and in The Wayne County Bridge was closed to vehicle traffic for major renovations between May 2,and December 21, During the county bridge closure period, the Toll Bridge provided the only route for vehicles to travel to and from the island.

Nearby is the old U. Customs Housewhich was relocated to the current site in from Macomb Street.

The district features Saint James Episcopal Churchthe oldest church building on the island, constructed during in part with funds provided by a freed slave named Elizabeth Denison. The district includes six homes, built from the s to s, that are outstanding examples of period architecture, particularly Gothic Revival and Jacobethan Revival.

Grosse Ile has good views of commercial shipping and pleasure boat traffic on the Detroit River. Lake freighters and oceangoing ships traveling to destinations around the Great Lakes regularly pass near the east side of the island, where the main channel of the Detroit River separates Grosse Ile from Ontario, Canada. While the shoreline areas of Grosse Ile feature the majority of historically significant places and structures, approximately a dozen s-era homes in the Jewell Colony subdivision, located in the middle of the island, are listed on the Michigan Register of Historic Places.

Jewell Colony was the first planned subdivision on the island. During the later 20th century, Grosse Ile had a significant increase in the rate of residential development, given its advantageous location and other amenities.

Fearing the destruction of the natural character and small-town charm of the community, during the early s the Grosse Ile Township established an "Open Space Program", to be funded by a voter-approved dedicated local property tax to buy undeveloped land.

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The township acquired large tracts of environmentally sensitive land to slow the pace of development, preserve the environment, and protect housing values. A number of private owners donated environmentally important woodland and wetland areas to the Conservancy to protect them and to get a tax write-off.

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EPA granted stewardship responsibilities to the Conservancy for a This tract of land, which at one time was the location of the Navy's seaplane base and later the Army's Nike missile base, has been restored to its natural state; it features rich biodiversity and rare coastal wetlands. Named the Nature Area by the Conservancy, this land is periodically used by local tears and Boy Scout groups to teach children about nature and the importance of conservation.

Grosse Ile is a community of about 10, residents.

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GIYRA coordinates the youth sporting events for the island children. The island has an indoor tennis facility: six courts inside an old hangar at the city's municipal airport. New ownership has taken over the Tennis Center; they have refinished the courts and are conducting other renovations.

The Grosse Ile Soccer Association coordinates the township's soccer league.

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The rapidly expanding soccer association, which started by hosting a recreational league, has expanded into a larger association. Grosse Ile's community theatre, The Islanders, is Downriver's oldest theatre club and one of the oldest civic theatre groups in the state of Michigan. The club has been active on Grosse Ile sincewhen friends and neighbors developed a means of entertainment during the long Michigan winters.

The first major play was produced on May 21,by a group of 40 founding members. The team has grown to more than fifty members since its founding in Grosse Ile Township Schools serves the township. On the island, there are two elementary schools: Parke Lane Elementary which serves grades K-2nd, and Meridian Elementary which serves grades 3rd-5th. Their mascot is the Red Devil. In the former middle school was demolished in favor of a new and more up-to-date building.

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