Home » Michigan » St. Clair Shores

James W. Loewen (1942-2021)

We mourn the loss of our friend and colleague and remain committed to the work he began.

St. Clair Shores


Basic Information

Type of Place
Metro Area
Politics c. 1860?
Unions, Organized Labor?

Sundown Town Status

Sundown Town in the Past?
Was there an ordinance?
Don't Know
Don’t Know
Year of Greatest Interest
Still Sundown?
Surely Not

Census Information

The available census data from 1860 to the present
Total White Black Asian Native Hispanic Other BHshld
1930 6745 77
1940 10405 131
1950 19823 220
1960 76657 157
1970 88093 167
1980 76210 181
1990 68107 141
2000 63096 435 157 531
2010 59715 2350 188 614

Method of Exclusion

  • Police or Other Official Action
  • Realtors
  • Other
  • Unknown

Main Ethnic Group(s)

  • Unknown

Group(s) Excluded

  • Black


“We moved to St. Clair Shores MI, which is just east of the Grosse Pointes, in the mid ’70s and bought our first house there. It was predominantly a blue collar or
middle class neighborhood near 11 mile road. The seller’s pitch was based on the fact that there were no blacks in St. Clair Shores and in fact during the Detroit Riots, they were able to ‘protect’ the city by posting police at each point of ingress to keep the blacks out.
We lived there about 7 years and outside of the domestics hired to clean houses, I do not recall seeing any blacks in the Pointes or in St. Clair Shores.”
-former resident of St. Clair Shores.

Plat Map from 1925: “…Provided that the above plat and subdivision is hereby subjected to the following agreement and covenant …: That at no time shall any lot in said subdivision or part thereof or any building thereon be sold, rented, leased, transferred or conveyed to, nor shall the same be occupied by, excepting as domestic servants, any Negro or colored person or person of Negro blood.”

“In addition, many DEEDS … also included explicit racial EXCLUSIONARY COVENANTS through those same decades — such as those restricting the entire subdivided Dodge Estate in south St. Clair Shores.” — from draft for report to City of St. Clair Shores for
their “Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice, 2014” (required by

“In the early 1920s when the (reportedly) first African American families moved into an undeveloped area at the north edge of town (now known as Robeson Street) near the golf course, their place of employment, SCS was already being structured around the racial-exclusion principles of the times.” — Ibid.
[Note that IF black families moved in during the 1920s, they were gone by 1940 or they moved to an area outside the city limits.]

“…the sale of the Blossom Heath resort in June of 1943 to developers who planned to restore it as a racially-integrated Club in SCS, raised a heated public debate in the press and in the community. There were even instances of what we now call HATE CRIMES, including the scattering of roofing nails on the driveway entrance to Blossom Heath. Eventually, in front of a packed house of local residents, the Village Commission denied water service and public permits to the developers, citing a 1939 ordinance referring to “the public good”” and the project was scuttled.” — Ibid.

Email from 01/2016
“I had two(2) Aunts, who were Black, that lived in St Clair Shores, Mi. (They Lived together in the same house). I know this for a fact, because I visited them at one point in the 1950’s. I also remember seeing letters from them, with a St Clair Shores, Mi address, addressed to my mother. I can’t remember anything else about the area other than their home. I also knew or heard it said, even at that time that Blacks did Not live in St Clair Shore, Mi. But They live there or at the least had s St Clair Shore, Mi. Address.”

St. Clair Shores enlisted the help of the Fair Housing Center (FHC) in Detroit to attempt to make its housing more equitable. In 2005-2006, three housing lawsuits were made by the FHC regarding racial discrimination.