The area was inhabited by French settlers as early as 1710, at which time it was called L’anse Creuse. (L’anse Creuse was also the name of a stop on the now-defunct interurban railroad off of Jefferson Ave near Nine Mile Road, and the name lives on today in the L’Anse Creuse Public Schools in central Macomb County, MI and L’Anse Creuse High School in Harrison Twp.)
From 1843 until 1911, St. Clair Shores was a part of Erin Township, parts of which make up today’s Eastpointe, the Grosse Pointes, and St. Clair Shores. In 1911 the township’s name changed to 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 City once was home to an amusement park named Jefferson Beach. Built in 1927, it featured the longest roller coaster in the United States. In 1955 a fire destroyed several buildings in the park. While Jefferson Beach attempted to rebuild, its owners slowly converted the park to a marina. In 1959 the remaining amusement park buildings were destroyed to make room for the marina.
With help from its location along the shores of Lake Saint Clair, St. Clair Shores grew from a resort community to a suburban city rapidly 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.
The tallest building in St. Clair Shores is the 28-story Shore Club Highrise, known locally as “9 Mile Tower”, located on Nine Mile Road and Jefferson Avenue near Lake Saint Clair.
Each year St. Clair Shores hosts a popular Memorial Day Parade. The City is also known for its “Nautical Mile” – a strip of Jefferson Avenue between Nine Mile and ten Mile roads featuring many retail establishments, boat dealers, and marinas.
St. Clair Shores is home to one of the longest running local pageants as a member of the Miss America Organization. The Miss St. Clair Shores program offers scholarships to young women in the community between the ages 17 and 24. Miss St. Clair Shores volunteers and serves her city during her preparation to compete at the Miss Michigan Pageant.
The City is also known for its connection to Detroit’s musical history. Notable locations included Car City Records on Harper between Eight and Nine Mile roads (whose employees have included many from the Detroit music scene) and the Crow’s Nest East, a popular music venue in the 1960’s which was located on Harper and 13 Mile Road.