In 1885, the Religious of the Sacred Heart, an order of nuns (founded in Post-Revolutionary War France by Madeleine Sophie Barat), planned and built a school for young ladies on the present location on Lake St. Clair. The original property, a ribbon farm in design, ran from the lake to Ridge Road.
Until the late 1940's, the property was a self-sustaining farm. The Religious of the Sacred Heart was a cloistered order; the nuns did not leave the property. Along Moran Road was a large chicken house. Toward Grosse Pointe Boulevard were apple, pear and cherry trees, grape arbors and some raspberry bushes. The nuns and students, some of whom lived at the school, ate these when the fruit was in season. From this produce the nuns made applesauce, jams, jellies and other condiments that helped feed all of them through the winter months.
The Early School building was built in 1887 on the property line so that the cloistered nuns were able to enter from the Convent side and the St. Paul's students could enter through the door that faces the St. Paul's parking lot.
In the late 1920's, the need arose for additional educational facilities. To accommodate this need, the nuns sold the property from Grosse Pointe Boulevard to Ridge Road. With the proceeds they began a major building program, which included construction of the present academic building, renovation of the chapel, and construction of a new basement in the Lakeshore Building. In 1955, with the purchase of the land on the northwest corner from the Nichols family, the property, as we now know it, was completed.
In 1969, the Sisters deeded the school and all buildings to a lay Board of Trustees. Continuing under the same State of Michigan Charter that was established in 1885, the Board incorporated the school as an independent non-profit, coeducational elementary school. The moral, physical and intellectual development of The Grosse Pointe Academy student, including respect for self and neighbor, thrives today as it has for over one hundred years.
We are fortunate that our students are able to enjoy this beautiful wooded acreage, which is rich in history, while receiving an excellent education within a caring, family-like atmosphere. To this day, we carry on many of the wonderful traditions established over the past 100 years.