A History of Forward Thinking

Located on the shores of Lake Saint Clair in Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan, The Grosse Pointe War Memorial Association (more commonly known simply as The War Memorial) is a legacy-filled institution with a reenergized determination to emerge as a regional driver of arts, learning, patriotism, hospitality and connectivity.

Situated on the grounds of the historic Alger Estate, The War Memorial serves an estimated 250,000 individuals with over 3,000 functions annually, including programs to honor veterans, engagement experiences for adults and children, community events and celebrations, and premier hospitality services. With new programming and innovative leadership, The War Memorial is a unique, dynamic and forward-thinking hub for southeast Michigan with a mission to be a patriotic, cultural, and community leader.


The Spirit of The War Memorial

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A Curated Environment

We curate a unique environment where people, arts, entertainment and culture come together at their best.

The War Memorial exists to introduce new ideas, expand horizons and celebrate culture. We exist to combat the trend of anti-intellectualism in our country and help people become more aware, more tuned in, and more hungry for knowledge.

We exist to provide access. Access to art, music and entertainment from across the region, across the country and around the world. Access to our historic Grosse Pointe estate and beautiful Lake St. Clair. We exist so that people can celebrate life and all of its joyous moments in a safe, comfortable, familiar environment. Whether that’s a summer concert on the lawn next to beautiful Lake St. Clair, a teenage dance, or an elegant wedding.

And we exist to promote the ideals of democracy — the ideals valued within a perfect Union.


Our History

The spacious Italian Renaissance-style home built in 1910 for Russell A. Alger, Jr. and his family was designed by architect Charles A. Platt of New York. Ellen Biddle Shipman was the landscape architect; and the house and gardens were designed together as a unit with particular attention to the use of various ground levels to the best advantage. It was called The Moorings.

For two decades after its completion, The Moorings was the family headquarters for Alger, his wife Marion, and their children, Russell III, Fay, and the daring Josephine.

After Russell Alger’s death in 1930, the family sought a way for the house to be used to improve the quality of life in the community. From 1936 to 1948, the building became a branch of the Detroit Institute of Arts. In 1949, it was dedicated by the newly-formed Grosse Pointe War Memorial Association to a twofold purpose: to serve as a perpetual memorial to the 3,500 Grosse Pointers who served and the 126 who died in World War II; and it was to serve as a continuing center for educational and charitable activities of the Grosse Pointe community. The War Memorial is unusual – some say unique – because of its dual use.

 The 1910 Alger House (The Moorings) as it stands today

The 1910 Alger House (The Moorings) as it stands today

 Bronze plaques in the historic Alger foyer pay tribute to veterans from Grosse Pointe

Bronze plaques in the historic Alger foyer pay tribute to veterans from Grosse Pointe

Bronze plaques near the grand staircase preserve the names of all Grosse Pointers who served in World War II as well as the names of those who died. Smaller plaques in the entrance hall list those who served in the Korean and Vietnam conflicts and in Operation Desert Storm. In addition, a meritorious service plaque honors those killed during peacetime.

Two additions have expanded the facilities of the War Memorial. The War Memorial Theater and lakefront ballroom were dedicated in 1962, and our arts and communications wing was completed in 1993.


Our Future

With deep respect of our transformative past, we emerge again.

Our statements are bold, they are powerful, and they serve to help define a place that matters to people. The War Memorial curates things anew, and its leadership demonstrates quality and integrity, because we know that no matter the power of a word, everything crumbles without the stewards of excellence and honor.

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To be a patriotic, cultural, and community leader, we remain true to a set of core values to impact all actions, decisions, and engagement with the community and with one another.

Our core guiding values are —

  • Curiosity

  • Transparency

  • Excellence

  • Service

  • Integrity

  • Leadership

  • Accessibility

  • Enduring resolve

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