GP Yacht Club, Detroit church on historic places list
The Grosse Pointe Yacht Club and a Detroit church, Spiritual Israel and Its Army Temple, have been added to the National Register of Historic Places.
The two buildings are among 10 Michigan sites added to the list, the Michigan State Historic Preservation Office announced Wednesday. Michigan has more than 1,600 sites on the national list which recognizes places that are worth preservation.
"We're certainly delighted and honored to be designated," said Kevin Granger, commodore of the Grosse Pointe Yacht Club. "Our club has been around for a long time. We want to maintain it for everyone."
The yacht club was founded in 1914 and its clubhouse on Lake Shore Drive in Grosse Pointe Shores officially opened in July 1929. The clubhouse became an elite gathering place for successful businessmen and their families, according to National Register Coordinator Bob Christensen.
In an application for the national designation, Christensen notes the building's architecture.
"The Grosse Pointe Yacht Club is an excellent example of the Mediterranean Revival style, which enjoyed a bout of popularity in the United States from the turn of the nineteenth century to the early 1930s," he wrote.
Granger, who has been involved with the yacht club since his parents joined in 1959, said there are plans to establish a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization to allow fundraising.
"We want to keep it in the character and the manner in which it was originally built," he said.
The building that houses Spiritual Israel and Its Army Temple was also noted for its architecture, according to Christensen. The building, previously known as Amity Lodge No. 335, is on Amity Street on the city's east side.
"The building itself, other than the highly visible and inappropriate replacement windows, retains high integrity as a large early twentieth-century former lodge building of neoclassical and commercial brick design that retains large and largely intact meeting spaces," Christensen wrote in the application about the building.
The leader of the church, Bishop Bobby J. Davis, could not be reached for comment.
When it was the Amity Lodge No. 335, a number of Odd Fellows organizations occupied the building beginning in 1913 or 1914, according to Christensen. The church bought the former lodge in 1960.
The church's existence in Detroit decades before is one result of hundreds of thousands of African-Americans moving from the south during the Great Migration of the 1910s and 1920s and establishing roots in northern cities such as Detroit, Christensen wrote. The Spiritual Israel and Its Army Temple denomination was founded in Alabama in the early 1900s and brought to Detroit in the 1920s and 1930s.
"Non-mainstream black religion seems to have been largely ignored by historians of the American religious experience until relatively recent years, but it seems clear that this large-scale and highly diverse panorama of non-mainstream black religion in Detroit brought about through the upheaval of the Great Migration represents an important feature of Detroit's religious and cultural history," he wrote.
Historic list's newest members from Michgian
The 10 sites in Michigan that have been added to the National Register of Historic Places:
■Grosse Pointe Yacht Club, Grosse Pointe Shores
■Amity Lodge No. 335- Spiritual Israel and Its Army Temple, Detroit
■Historic downtown districts in St. Louis and Mount Pleasant
■The Morgan West Wheatland Cemetery, Wheatland Township
■Saginaw County Fairgrounds Main Gate
■Walter H. French Junior High, Lansing
■Peoples National Bank Building, Jackson
■William A. and Catherine Cartier House, Ludington
■Wing-Allore House, Monroe
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