Skip To Main Content

Our History

The original cornerstone from 1883 still welcomes visitors to our historic campus...

From The Grosse Pointe Historical Society

The beautiful Grosse Pointe Academy, situated on a historic, 20-acre campus with centuries-old architecture, is a striking sight. 

The Grosse Pointe Academy was founded in 1885 by the Religious of the Sacred Heart, an order of cloistered nuns (founded in Post- Revolutionary War France by Madeleine Sophie Barat). 

The site on which The Grosse Pointe Academy now sits was originally a French ribbon
farm running from Lake St. Clair to Ridge Road. In 1867, the Society of the Sacred Heart,
obtained the property, and the next year a small school was built for the children of local farmers.

In 1885, the nuns planned the construction of a boarding school for young ladies, grades K–12. The school was built in 1887 along the property line separating the Academy from St. Paul on the Lake. The remainder of the property continued to be a self-sustaining farm.

In 1899 the Chapel was added.

In the late 1920s, recognizing the need for more space, the nuns sold off the portion of the
land beyond Grosse Pointe Boulevard. The proceeds were used to build a new academic
building, which is now our main school building.

A history of environmental stewardship...

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 Nuns Walk

A double row of silver maples, many of which are still standing, were planted as a pathway that extends down Kenwood Road. Today, this is fondly referred to as "the nuns walk", which many of our students walk down daily, coming to and from school.

Guided by traditions, prepared for the future...

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.