Early French settlers originally founded the land that is now the City of St. Clair Shores in the 18th century. Beforehand, Chippewa and Potawatomi Native Americans occupied this land, as well as most of the west coast of Lake St. Clair. As the French began to outline this coast, they constructed a system of strip farms; the largest measured about one tenth of a mile in width by a mile in length. Each farm was on a piece of shoreline, from which private irrigation systems were formed. Just off the lake is where the French built their homes. Walking along the shore, a settler would see an extended row of log cabins facing the water, with elongated pastures, farms, and orchards in the background.