News & Views

Grosse Ile Historical Society

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The Grosse Ile Historical Society strives to enhance the understanding of our Island,s past and its connection to the present.

A Historic View

A historic house built in 1870 currently sits along Grosse Ile Parkway. Although Parkway was its original location, It hasn’t always been there. At one point, the house was moved to Macomb Street, before being brought back to Parkway.

Years back, Grosse Ile was an official port of entry to Canada. Back then, rail tracks connected Trenton to Grosse Ile and went across a trestle to Stony Island, where passengers could then complete their trip to Canada by ferry boat.

Once the trains were rolling, the government needed a customs house, so one was built next to Parkway, where the tracks were established.

Trains carried passengers, as well as all types of freight, including cattle. The train would pull up to the Customs House and the customs officer would yell out something like… “show me your papers,” or “where’s the beef?”

After operating for a few years, the port of entry was closed, and the house was no longer needed. The government sold it to a local islander, who had it moved to Macomb Street. While on Macomb, the house was used as a pool hall, a barbershop, an ice cream shop and living quarters. 

When People’s Bank became the owner of the house, they donated it to the Grosse Ile Historical Society. In 1979, the house was moved back to the area on Parkway, where it sits today.

The Historical Society currently uses the building to hold meetings, store documents and artifacts, and maintain a collection of Grosse Ile history for visitors to observe. Visit gihistsoc.org to see more information regarding hours and upcoming events or stop into the house to check it out for yourself!

gihistsoc.org

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