By CHRIS SYMONS
Capital News Service
LANSING – It stood through the Great Depression, it stood through World War II, and now the 15-time winner of the “best yacht club in America” stands to be recognized.
The Grosse Pointe Yacht Club was recently named to the National Register of Historic Places, 101 years after the club’s inception. Located just outside of Detroit in Grosse Pointe Shores on Lake St. Clair, the club hosts about 265 boats and has 800 members.
The site’s historic designation is exciting for the club, both as a source of pride and for the help it gives to preserve the buildings, said General Manager Tom Trainor.
The 75,000-square-foot property is a historical part of the community and is popular for formal events because of its landscaping and architecture, he said.
The clubhouse was commissioned by Boston architect, Harvard graduate and world-class sailor Guy Lowell, according to the national register nomination documents. Its architecture is Mediterranean Revival, a style most popular between 1900 and 1930. The style models seaside villas found then in France, Spain and Italy.
The real benefit of being on the National Register of Historic Places is ensuring that the site will be preserved and not changed or remodeled, Trainor said. Besides recognizing it as a genuine historic location, making the list helps ensure financial stability for upkeep.
Nationally recognized historic sites receive a 20 percent tax credit for rehabilitation and upkeep, said Edson Beall, a historian with the National Register of Historic Places.
The tax credit helps to preserve buildings and sites in their historical state, Beall said, and also serves to “shame them [the owners] from tearing it down.”
The National Register receives about 1,200 applications each year, Beall said. To qualify, a site must meet at least one of four criteria: association with a historical event, former residence of a significant person, distinctive architecture and design, or potential archaeological value.
Typically a site must also be more than 50 years old, although there are exceptions, Beall said.
The Grosse Pointe Yacht Club qualified because of its architecture and for being part of historic Grosse Pointe, Beall said.
Operated by the National Park Service, the National Register is part of an effort to preserve historic locations and architecture across the country. According to the National Park Service, its official list has more than 90,000 registered locations.
Chris Symons writes for Great Lakes Echo.
Additional resources for CNS editors:
Grosse Pointe Yacht Club: http://www.gpyc.org/
National Register of Historic Places: http://www.nps.gov/nr/
By CHRIS SYMONS