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St. Clair Shores is a suburban city bordering Lake St. Clair in Macomb County of the U.S. state of Michigan. It forms a part of the Metro Detroit area, and is located approximately 13 miles (21 km) northeast of downtown Detroit. The population was 59,715 at the 2010 census. The current mayor is Kip C. Walby, and the current council members are John D. Caron, Ronald J. Frederick, Peter A. Rubino, Candice B. Rusie, Anthony G. Tiseo, and Christopher M. Vitale.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 14.28 square miles (36.99 km2), of which 11.62 square miles (30.10 km2) is land and 2.66 square miles (6.89 km2) is water. A notable feature of St. Clair Shores is its 14 miles (23 km) of canals. Most of these canals are found in the Nautical Mile, which is along Jefferson between 9 and 10 Mile.
Located along the shores of Lake St. Clair and inhabited by French settlers as early as 1710, during which time the area was referred to as L'anse Creuse, the future St. Clair Shores, Michigan, community would remain largely a rural farming area populated by largely French and German immigrant families into the early 20th century. These local family surnames have survived into the 21st century and can be found both in the surnames of current day residents and among numerous residential street names.
From 1835 until 1843, the area would be part of Orange Township; among the first townships platted in Michigan and part of Macomb County, Michigan. In 1843, Orange Township would be renamed Erin Township, in homage to the numerous Irish immigrants that had moved into the area and had begun to exert their political influence.
From 1843 until 1911, what would be incorporated as the Village of St. Clair Shores in 1925, was a part of Erin Township, parts of which make up today's suburban municipalities of Eastpointe, Roseville, and St. Clair Shores. In 1911, the eastern portion of the township now occupied by St. Clair Shores was partitioned from Erin Township to become Lake Township. Lake Township existed until 2009, when residents of the village of Grosse Pointe Shores (that portion of Grosse Pointe Shores in Macomb County located within Lake Township) voted to incorporate as a city. The Village of St. Clair Shores would remain a part of Lake Township until, after numerous failed attempts, its residents voted to incorporate as the City of St. Clair Shores in January, 1951.
Beginning around the time of the First World War, the once bucolic lakefront community quickly became a favored playground for gamblers, rum runners, and lakefront tourists alike, culminating during Prohibition, but continuing through the Second World War era. During these years, St. Clair Shores was the home to many popular roadhouses, blind pig and gambling establishments, as well as various, more family-friendly lakefront attractions, including the very popular Jefferson Beach Amusement Park. St. Clair Shores' lakefront location and proximity to Canada coupled with a receptive and often participative community made it an advantageous haven for rum runners and the area was actively involved in the rum running era of Prohibition. Local residents, politicians, and law enforcement of the era were known to sometimes conflict with both state and federal officials over their attempts to regulate these illegal, but economically vital activities within the community.
The Eagle Pointe subdivision, one of many platted within the Village of St. Clair Shores during the early 20th century, was platted along a part of the lake shore in 1916. During the next few decades dozens of subdivisions would be platted among the local farmland, but most would not be developed in earnest until the post Second World War era; when St. Clair Shores would become the fastest growing suburb of Detroit, Michigan during the 1950s.
From 1927 until 1959, the community was the location of the aforementioned Jefferson Beach Amusement Park, once a major lakefront attraction for the Detroit area and beyond. Opened in 1927, it once boasted the longest roller coaster in the United States as well as numerous other midway attractions; a large, ornate lakefront dance pavilion; and a large sandy beach popular with swimmers and sun bathers alike. In 1955, a fire destroyed some of the attractions and buildings within the once popular park and this, coupled with changing public tastes, accelerated its demise. While the owners of Jefferson Beach Amusement Park considered rebuilding, by this time the park was not popular with local government officials and the city council had begun exploring forcing the closure of the facility or purchasing it for public use. Instead, the park owners, who had previously started building an onsite marina facility, began to expand that part of the facility. By 1959, the remaining amusement park amusements and buildings were demolished to make room for the greatly enlarged Jefferson Beach Marina. All that remained of the once grand amusement park was its large, ornate lakefront dance coliseum, which for years thereafter was relegated to use as a marina storage facility and marine supply store until it too was destroyed by fire.
As mentioned, owing to its location along the shores of Lake Saint Clair, St. Clair Shores grew from a rural, resort community to a rapidly growing suburban community after World War II. Prior to the city's incorporation in 1951, St. Clair Shores was recognized as the largest village in the United States.
St. Clair Shores is renowned for its "Nautical Mile"; the mile long, lakefront strip of Jefferson Avenue between Nine Mile and 10 Mile roads; featuring a nautical-themed streetscape, retail establishments, restaurants, boat dealers, and both private and civic marinas, this business district is dominated by the tallest structure in St. Clair Shores; the 28-story Shore Club Sky Tower, colloquially known as "9 Mile Tower", and located at the foot of Nine Mile Road and Jefferson Avenue on Lake Saint Clair. The residential tower has become a prominent nautical landmark and its rooftop beacon can be seen for many miles.
St. Clair Shores annually hosts one of the largest, most attended, and longest running Memorial Day parades in the Midwestern United States; featuring both local, regional, and national participants with annual attendance often approaching 100,000 spectators. The location of the parade alternates each year between the city's two main business thoroughfares.
St. Clair Shores is home to the longest, consecutively running preliminary program pageant of the Miss America Organization in Michigan and among the longest running in the United States. Since 1953, the Miss St. Clair Shores Scholarship Program has offered scholarships to young women in the community ages 17–24. The pageant is held each July at the local South Lake High School Auditorium. Miss St. Clair Shores volunteers and serves her city during her preparation to compete at the Miss Michigan Pageant.
Dating back to its years as a popular, lakefront entertainment destination, St. Clair Shores has a long connection to Detroit's musical history. In addition to the many past roadhouses which featured numerous national performing artists of the era, other notable music-related locations include the former Car City Records store, whose employees have included many from the Detroit music scene; the former Crows Nest East, a short-lived, but popular music venue of the late 1960s; and the former Shirley's Swinger Lounge. Individuals and groups who played at or frequented these venues went on to regional and national success; including Bob Seger, the MC5, Iggy Pop, The Frost, and more.
St. Clair Shores, one of a few communities to lay claim to the "Hockeytown USA" moniker before the Detroit Red Wings and the city of Detroit, Michigan, is renowned throughout both the USA and Canada as a long-time youth hockey hotbed largely related to its long successful St. Clair Shores Hockey Association. Once the home to the United States first privately owned indoor ice hockey arena, Gordie Howe Hockeyland, St. Clair Shores also boasts two municipal indoor ice arenas at its civic recreation center. Owing to its tremendously popular aforementioned youth hockey association, local high school hockey often dominated the local competition of the 1970s; with all three local high schools participating. St. Clair Shores Lakeview High School would go undefeated during its famed 1973 state high school championship season. Although the once beloved Gordie Howe Hockeyland has since closed, youth hockey is still very popular in St. Clair Shores and vintage references to "Hockeytown USA" can still be found inside the St. Clair Shores Civic Arena.
Although its population has dropped from its peak in the early 1970s due to end of the baby boomer era and continued urban sprawl, St. Clair Shores, Michigan continues to be a popular suburb of Detroit, Michigan; owing largely to its advantageous lakefront location, its municipal park system, its fine recreational sports programs and facilities, and its three public schools districts; South Lake Public Schools, Lakeview Public Schools, and Lake Shore Public Schools.
As of the census of 2010, there were 59,715 people, 26,585 households, and 15,932 families residing in the city. The population density was 5,139.0 inhabitants per square mile (1,984.2/km2). There were 28,467 housing units at an average density of 2,449.8 per square mile (945.9/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 92.7% White, 3.9% African American, 0.3% Native American, 1.0% Asian, 0.2% from other races, and 1.7% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.7% of the population.
There were 26,585 households of which 24.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.6% were married couples living together, 11.9% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.4% had a male householder with no wife present, and 40.1% were non-families. 35.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.24 and the average family size was 2.90.
The median age in the city was 44.2 years. 19% of residents were under the age of 18; 7% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 24.9% were from 25 to 44; 29.7% were from 45 to 64; and 19.2% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 47.8% male and 52.2% female.
As of the census of 2000, there were 63,096 people, 27,434 households, and 17,283 families residing in the city. The population density was 5,472.3 per square mile (2,112.9/km²). There were 28,208 housing units at an average density of 2,446.5 per square mile (944.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 96.89% White, 0.69% African American, 0.28% Native American, 0.84% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.18% from other races, and 1.10% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.18% of the population.
There were 27,434 households out of which 24.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.5% were married couples living together, 10.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.0% were non-families. 32.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 16.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.28 and the average family size was 2.92.
In the city, the population was spread out with 20.2% under the age of 18, 6.2% from 18 to 24, 28.8% from 25 to 44, 23.1% from 45 to 64, and 21.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females there were 90.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.8 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $49,047, and the median income for a family was $59,245. Males had a median income of $46,614 versus $31,192 for females. The per capita income for the city was $25,009. About 2.6% of families and 3.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.4% of those under age 18 and 4.9% of those age 65 or over.
Located in St. Clair Shores are the South Lake Schools, Lakeview Public Schools, and Lake Shore Public Schools public school districts; each district includes a high school. Private, parochial schools include St. Germaine, St. Isaac Jogues and St. Joan of Arc.
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