Saturday, June 07, 2008

A Visit to the Henry Ford Estate

When I was a kid in Toledo, at least once each year there was a Sunday visit to Greenfield Village or the Henry Ford Museum. My dad was a great history buff and visiting such places was common, if not a must, for us on family outings and I inherited his interest. My own children joke that a sign reading "historic site" was like waving a red flag in front of a bull for their history major father and I. One place we never visited was Fair Lane, the home of Henry and Clara Ford, as it was never open to the public until 1963 so the visit there was an absolute delight for me. (And now y'all know where the Ford Fairlane got it's name.)

The Man grew up in Dearborn and the Ford estate was part of his newspaper route as a child and came to know the family and he and his buddies were known to sneak on the property to swim in the hidden lake as they called it. As a teenager, he caddied at Dearborn Country Club and carried the clubs of Henry Ford's sons and as an adult he was a research physiologist at Ford Hospital. His esteem for the Ford family is high and he has many interesting stories of their kindness and commitment to the community. He knows the estate quite well and likes to go there to write and is extremely knowledgeable of its history.

When we visited, the estate wasn't open for the summer yet but we wandered the grounds with others who also wanted a nice walk on a pretty day. As always, The Man brought his camera and insisted upon taking pictures of me. Sigh. Of course, I was having a bad hair day and was sans makeup but I'm including some them--he took twenty-five!--anyway. LOL!! Here are some photos of Fair Lane with me cluttering up the landscape.

Here is a sign that gives a bit of the history of the estate:

This a view of the rear of the mansion. Lovely, huh?

The entrance to the mansion. The doors were open because they were getting ready for a wedding reception. Yes, it's available for events! How cool is that?

These beautiful gates are the entry to the Ford's favorite garden.

This lovely gazebo was built for Clara Ford and is where she spent her mornings after she became ill. It is also where Henry Ford held private meetings. Some historic decisions were made in the auto industry.

Here is the Ford grandchildren's treehouse. It is built around an enormous tree! Henry Ford would camp out with them there and was heard to say he felt more comfortable there than the big house.

This little house not far from the front door of the mansion was the playhouse of the Fords' grandchildren.

This is the place I liked best on the estate. These lovely rapids powered the generator designed by Henry Ford's best friend, Thomas Edison and provided electricity to the estate.

I absolutely fell in love with this wonderful historic site and hope one day, I can see more of it and its grounds. I hope y'all enjoyed it, too!!!! If you're interested, check out the links to learn more about it.

Happy Blogging!!!!!



  1. I have never been there, but I would love to see it some day. You look very nice in the photos, and we can't tell you didn't have make-up on! LOL

  2. I've never seen pictures of this Estate before. Very Interesting. The "Home" looks more like a fortress, doesn't it? It is always so interesting how men like Ford lived.....Fascinating that he felt more at home in The Tree House!
    You look GREAT, by the way!

  3. Great photos, Kay (The Man does a good job)!

    I've always wanted to go to the Ford Museum/Village; and I was shocked to learn my significant other is going here in a few weeks with his daughter and two of her friends. I've decided that when I finally go, I'll go without him (it's that old "I'll show you" female thing we women do).

  4. The Estate looks wonderful...and so do you in the pics Kay. Nice.

  5. We went to the Henry Ford museum last year. Isn't it amazing how an individual can influence the whole world?

  6. Great photos of the site and you. Very interesting to someone who will never probably get that far east again except through photos

  7. Better late then never - wanted to comment on your post about your tour of the Ford estate. I'll never get there so it was an enjoyable tour for me ( and I didn't even have to walk).

    Great picture of you at the entrance to the estate. Looking good, girl!


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