Grosse Ile Michigan and the Elements:  Land, Water, Fire and Air

Grosse Ile Michigan and the Elements:  Land, Water, Fire and Air

Grosse Ile is home to just over 10,000 people who are happy to live on a big, beautiful, historic island situated in the Detroit River.  The French, British and the American flags have flown over Grosse Ile since being deeded to prominent merchants, the Macomb brothers in 1776. 

The earliest explorers, the French, identified the island as “la grosse ile” (the large island).  The British influence in Detroit, Michigan around 1763 resulted in an anglicized spelling to “Grosse Isle”.  This spelling lasted only till local residents persisted in an effort to re-establish the historical name “Grosse Ile” otherwise known as “the Island”.

Grosse Ile residents and visitors can travel to the Island by land, air and water.  When visitors come by land, they must access one of two bridges situated in the south or north part of the Island.  If they come by air, they must land at the historical Grosse Ile Municipal Airport previously known as the U.S. Naval Air Station at the south end. 

During the early 1920’s, this small airport was the scene of early aviation activities.  Early activities included a flying school and the site where the first all-metal dirigible, a lightweight, steerable air vessel as opposed to a free floating vessel like a balloon, was built.  This was built for the U.S. Navy in an enormous hangar.  Work continued involving the U.S. Navy till a time when the U.S. government acquired a majority of the property.  Naval operations were extensive till the official closing in 1969.  It is now owned by Grosse Ile Township and used for various resident/civilian activities.

During the first half of this century, ships using the waterway between Grosse Ile and the Canadian shore, were guided by the Grosse Ile lighthouse.  It was established in 1894 at the north end of the Island.  The light was turned off in the 1940’s.  The lighthouse still stands today as a sentinel of the river and landmark for small boaters.

The history is truly rich in Grosse Ile Michigan.  The many islands sitting in the Detroit River make up Grosse Ile Township.  Most of the islands are uninhabited or habited by a few owners of the property.  Grosse Ile, the Island, has become home to many who seek to balance environmental conservation, historic preservation, small town suburban living and new development in a manner that makes it a very desirable place to live.  A Money Magazine article from 2009 listed Grosse Ile as the #1 mid-sized city in which to live in the United States.

Effects of Weather  on Grosse Ile

Statistics gathered by the Southeastern Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG) show that Grosse Ile has above average potential for natural disasters such as tornados, earthquakes as well as severe weather due to its land, water and air ratios.  In addition, incidence for  fires have often resulted from hazardous conditions caused by severe weather.  Downed power lines have been the number one cause for fires on the Island.  Wind speeds on the Island are well above the average in comparison to cities located inland in Michigan.

Downriver Cleanup & Restoration services all the downriver communities 24/7.  The response time for arriving on sight is 30 minutes or less from the time calls are received.  Downriver Cleanup & Restoration is a full service restoration company.  That means they manage all aspects of:

  • Fire Damage
  • Water Damage
  • Storm/Flood Damage
  • Mold Removal
  • Mold Remediation
  • Carpet Cleaning

Natural disasters and extreme weather cause damage that cannot be corrected by individuals and owners of businesses alone.   Experts are needed and readily available at Downriver Cleanup & Restoration.  They will assess the extent of damage to property and react quickly and efficiently to minimize the loss of valuables and to replace and restore property if they can be salvaged.  The Response Team will also coordinate with your insurance company timely filing of accurate and complete insurance claims.

The process can seem arduous and endless.  At Downriver Cleanup & Restoration, customer satisfaction is our number one goal.  Call us at 734-619-7610 or contact us via our website online at