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Al and I are thrilled that you have found your way to our blog. We hope you enjoy reading our journal and viewing our photographs of the natural wonder of our United States of America. Let's hit the road together!
Homer, Alaska

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Greenfield Village and The Henry Ford

Ever since we arrived in Michigan, we've been told "you have to go to Greenfield Village and The Henry Ford, you'll love it.". So, Thursday July 7th was the day we selected. The dogs went off to "camp":

Camp Bow Wow is a boarding/day care center for dogs that we found online, with many franchises and one being right here in Brighton, about 10 minutes away. The pups went for their "interview" on the Tuesday before, to make sure they were sociable and interacted well with the other campers. They passed and we bought a three day day/care bath package allowing them three days in camp and a bath for the rest of the summer. Cool beans!

Greenfield Village and The Henry Ford are is the largest indoor-outdoor historical museum in the United States. Named for its founder, noted automobile industrialist Henry Ford, and based on his desire to preserve items of historical significance and portray the industrial revolution, the property houses a vast collection of buildings, machinery, exhibits and American artifacts. Besides these two exhibits, there is also an IMAX theatre and the Ford Rouge Factory Tour. We decided having only a single day right now that we would skip the movies and come back another time for the tour, as the factory is shut down to production for the first two weeks of July. They still run the tour, but you don't actually see any work being done, so we'd rather wait and do that another time. 

We arrived right at opening, 9:30am. After buying our combo tickets for the village and the museum, we walked down the massive hallway.

Every detail was so fine, and clean as a whistle. All along the walls were displays of the exhibits currently being shown in the museum. We decided to do greenfield Village first, while it was still cool in the morning, and then come back into the museum when it got hotter outside.
The Josephine Ford Memorial Fountain at the entrance.

The dedication plaque

It was very patriotic here! flags everywhere.

Our first Model T sighting, and in the background is part of the farm that Henry Ford grew up on.

This is a 1913 Hershell-Spillman carousel. This company had made the widest variety of carousel animals, and was the only company to create giant green frogs on their carousels. These frogs are also the only carousel animals to ever be portrayed wearing human clothes!

We walked down Main Street, and past the General Store:

Inside is the shopkeeper, who takes you on a tour of the shop and talks about the merchandise she carries. You really felt as if you were stepping into Olsen's General Store on "Little House on the Prairie"!

And speaking of "Little House on the Prairie":

Laura Ingalls Wilder was there at the Scotch Settlement School to tall tales of her life as a prairie town school teacher!

Mary-Martha Chapel anchored the end of  Main Street.

he Eagle Tavern was built in 1831 in Clinton, Michigan, and now houses a sit down restaurant, tavern-style of course, here in the village.

Smiths Creek Depot, built in 1859 on the Grand Trunk Railway line. Thomas Edison, whom Henry Ford admired greatly and was close friends with, worked on this line during the Civil War.

Detroit, Milwaukee and Toledo Roundhouse, re-created in 2000 for Greenfield Village utilizing many original materials.

We then headed down to the Liberty Craftsworks neighborhood, a collection of craft buildings showcasing various historical crafts and occupations. At the glass blowing shop, you could try your hand at it...which of course I just had to do!
Dressed in protective gear and ready to go! Boy, those ovens in the back are HOT!
Tapping the end of my "gather" of glass
Forming the petals and stem of my flower. The finished product takes two days to cool down, so I don't have a picture of the finished flower. It's being mailed back to the folks on Long Island!

A print shop showing demonstrations of printing an old advertising flyer

Of course, examples of saw mills. This one, the Spofford Sawmill, was built in the 1600's and remained in use until 1925. This building is a recreation, using much of the original mill as material.
A weaving demonstration. She explained how the weaving process is exactly the same today as it was in the old days, but technology and equipment has considerably speeded up the process!

All these machines were for one purpose: to make socks!

Grist Mills, for grinding wheat into flour

Here we are, ready for a tour through the village in this 1927 Touring Model T.

Old advertisements were posted around the Village. The four door model we rode in cost $660.00 back then.

A Memorial monument to Thomas Edison at the entrance to his Menlo Park complex, moved here to Greenfield Village.

The Wright Brother's Bicycle shop, built in 1875, and their home from Dayton Ohio was right next door. They did much of their airplane building and experimentation right here, and their experience building bicycles helped them unlock the secrets to flying.

The Phoenixville Post Office, where a letter cost 2 cents to mail a century ago. Today there is a postmistress at work, selling vintage Ford postcards and postmarking them from Greenfield Village. Of course I had to send one out to Patti!

We then continued down the Porches and Parlors Street, where Henry Ford had collected many famous and historical homes. This is the Cotswold Cottage, built in the 1600s in Gloucestershire, England.

Poet Robert Frost's home, built in 1835 in Ann Arbor Michigan.

A Georgia sharecropper's farm from the 1800's.

The Logan County Courthouse, where Abraham Lincoln practiced law between 1840 and 1847.

Our last stop in the village was at the Dr. Alonson Howard's house/office. I found the barrels of medication interesting here. 

After a quick treat of some soft-serve frozen custard cones, we headed into The Henry Ford Museum for a couple more hours of exploration. We went into the entrance where the train exhibit was, and I absolutely loved this little train!

This is the DeWitt Clinton steam-powered locomotive, the first one of it's kind. It's historic maiden run in 1831 was from Albany NY to Schenectady NY and back, reaching a top speed of 30mph. I think its so cute how the coaches look exactly like stage coaches!

How would you like to go RV'ing in this set-up!?

President Teddy Roosevelt's brougham

President Franklin D. Roosevelt's official vehicle.

President John F. Kennedy's vehicle where the tragedy of his assassination took place.

This is the vehicle that started it all: the 1896 Ford Quadricycle.

In the Heroes of the Sky exhibit, there's a full-scale replica of the Wright Brother's airplane.

I also didn't know that Henry Ford tried to break into the airplane manufacturing business. This is his original concept plane, Ford "Flivver"

In the "With Liberty and Justice for All" exhibit we saw this original copy of the Declaration of Independence.

We saw so many other exhibits and artifacts, way too many to list, and I guess this has gone on long enough 
:-). It was after 4:00pm by now, and we had to be back in Brighton to pick up the dogs by 6:30. We had been warned about leaving before Detroit rush hour traffic started, so with a quick pit stop at the Wienermobile Cafe:
We called it a day and headed back to Waldenwoods.

We really enjoyed our day here, and will be coming back again to do the Rouge Factory Tour before we leave Michigan in the fall. I hope you enjoyed the pictures and stories as well! 

Tomorrow, we are going for a two day excursion to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and the Old Mission Peninsula area of Traverse City. So I hope to have plenty of pictures headed your way again in a few days. Until then, have a great day!


  1. Great tour! We have not been there in years, thanks for an easy revisit:)

  2. Glad you enjoyed your day at Greenfield village and the Henry Ford Museum. We thoroughly enjoyed our visit there also.
    I love reading your comments about all the places you guys are going to in Michigan. It brings back lots and lots of memories of our visit there too. Traverse City was very nice as was Sleeping Bear Dunes. Whatever you do, do not eat at Trovinos Restaurant that is unless you love, love, love lots and lots of garlic.

  3. What a GREAT pictorial tour of Greenfield Village and The Henry Ford-----THANKS!

  4. Great post Karen! I'd love to try the glass blowing. I've always found that fascinating. Tell the recipient of your flower to take a picture and send it back to you so you can post the finished product :)
    We have so many Michigan places on our list that we'll have to come there for quite awhile to see and do them all!

  5. Carousel frogs and Little House on the Prairie...I love it! Thanks for sharing an interesting place! By the way, I am smitten with your Setter. I've had a few of my own and absolutely love them!
    Cheers! ~M

  6. Thanks for the tour. I had visited Greenfield years ago because of a longer than expected layover in Detroit, but I don't remember it very well. Your post brought the memories back. Love the wienermobile. I wanted to apply for the job of driving that all over the country. Wouldn't that be cool? At last, it's not a weinerbago and has no living quarters.

  7. Just checking in. I glad your enjoying semi-retirement and you both are well. Happy Trails eric and michelle from N.C.

  8. What a wonderful tour w/ some great pics!