GPHS Moorings Newsletters - page 73

Holiday Shopping at La Belle’s Country Store
GPHS Profile: Mike Skinner
Looking for a unique holiday gift? One that shows
your pride and affection for our wonderful historic
Look no further than the Grosse Pointe
Historical Society’s La Belle’s Country
Store, located in the Provencal-Weir
House at 376 Kercheval in
Grosse Pointe Farms.The shop
is open every second Saturday
and by appointment. Call
313-884-7010. And
remember, with your
membership, you are
eligible for a 10 percent
discount. Just ask for
it at the cash register.
The LaBelle Country
Store features classic games
and toys like Jacks, Buzz
Saw, card games, craft projects.
Books focusing on local history
and fiction with a local setting
Murder in Grosse Pointe
Treasure in Grosse Pointe, Grosse Pointe Then
and Now,The Grosse Pointe War Memorial
Pointe 1880 – 1930.
There are other titles, too, so, browse
our collection.
Postcards relating to Grosse Pointe history,
GPHS coffee mugs, and ready-to-make
granola and cranberry muffin mix in
a jar are on sale. Solid pine cutting
boards custom-made by a local
craftsman and engraved with
the GPHS logo and name
are also available.The shop
mascot is the authentic
black squirrel.These
huggable, plush squirrels
are available for our
young customers.
The store is named
after John La Belle who
moved the house c. 1914
from its original location at
Provencal and Lake Shore
Road to the present location.
He had a general store and small
grocery on this site.
Mike especially loves automotive history and the fact
that so many automotive pioneers lived in the community
was another reason he was drawn to the GPHS. He owns
a 1921 Model T Touring and drove it in the Grosse Pointe
Santa Claus Parade with GPHS banners.
Mike served as GPHS President in 1996-98, right after
serving as President of the Dearborn Historical Society
(in fact, there was one month when he was President of
both the Dearborn and Grosse Pointe Historical Societies
in May 1996) and was Co-President, with Lisa Gandelot
in 2005. As Co – Chairman of the Video Documentary
Committee of the GPHS he oversaw the production of
the video histories of Grosse Pointe: “The Past as Prologue,
1900-Present” and “Recollections of the Past, 1650-1900.”
He has also had leadership positions at many other
historical organizations including Henry Ford Estate-
Fair Lane, Henry Ford Heritage Association, National
Automotive History Collection (Detroit Public Library)
and T-Plex ca. 1904 Ford Motor Company Piquette
Avenue Plant. He is also a founding member of the
Piquette T’s Model T Ford Club Chapter based at the
Mike has been HR Director for Production Tool Supply
and all of its affiliated companies since 1995. Before that
he worked for CBS/Fox and Technicolor Video Services
and this is what led him to help oversee the production
of the Society’s two videos. He earned a bachelor’s and
master’s degree both in business administration, from
Wayne State University.
The Dr. Frank Bicknell Lecture series was created as
a result of a gift from the Bicknell family in honor of
Dr. Bicknell’s 80th birthday. It has always been meant to
fund programs about the area’s history. “It was a distinct
pleasure to get to know Dr. Bicknell,”Mike said. “During
his life time before almost every program I would have
dinner with him and the speaker at the Country Club of
Detroit and a number of out of town speakers stayed at
the club courtesy of Dr. Bicknell.”
Despite his many years of service, Mike’s commitment
to local history is still strong. “Being involved with GPHS
is very rewarding and I would urge anyone who loves the
community or wants to preserve and/or learn more about
its incredible history to get involved,” he said.
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