"Preservation owes a lot to Henry Ford. But in the process of making people aware of the value of the past, he made a number of mistakes. One that modern experts find most objectionable was his uprooting of buildings from their original sites, thereby stripping them of their historical context, all in the name of historical preservation."
(The above came from a Detroit Free Press newspaper article from, I believe, the early 1980's.)
I've heard this argument countless times during discussions. I've also read newspaper and magazine editorials concerning this practice. And it never ceases to amaze me that some can't see the forest for the trees. Love him or hate him (and there are plenty of both out there), Mr. Ford has done such a service to history and even to our country by his uprooting of buildings from their original sites, for he saved them from certain destruction, for the most part. I deeply appreciate what he did, for his accomplishments in saving the past have fed my historical pangs of hunger like nothing else.
And I'm not the only one.
|Visiting Hallowed Ground.|
Since virtually each structure inside Greenfield Village has come from another location, I took on a project to seek out the original locations of many of the local buildings.
Where they first stood when they were first built.
And that's where research comes in.
To find original locations, I would delve into the information I garnered from the Benson Ford Research Center (on the same campus as Greenfield Village) and then contact the local historical societies when a town or city was cited, and, more often than not, they would guide me directly to the spot. There were a number of The Henry Ford employees who helped here as well. I would then travel, sometimes a couple of hours or more to the site, take a photograph of the location, as well as anything else in the area that might have an association.
It was actually a fun excursion when my wife and I would take the drive.
Well, last summer (of 2021) a member of the Friends of Greenfield Village
Facebook page - Steven Lindsey - began posting photos of original locations of Village houses, only his were taken outside of Michigan - mostly from states back east:
"We (he and his wife) had been planning a trip to New England for a year and a half. Since my wife is a Daggett presenter, she had mentioned that it would be neat to try to find the original site. It ballooned from there. I was able to find some of the sites pretty easily by emailing historical societies."
Steve, you may not realize this, but you were able to take my dream vacation! I still plan to do it one day - retirement isn't too far off - for I'd like to see these places for myself, but I appreciate you allowing me to use your photos here.
Now, this post is not only about Steve's photos; as mentioned, I have visited numerous local locations as well.
Also, Gary Ambrus, another Friends of Greenfield Village member, allowed me to use his photos as well for the time he went to...wait---you'll have to read this posting to find out!
In alphabetical order, we'll begin with a collection of Ackley Covered Bridge photos from the Steven Lindsey vacation collection, as well as my additions:
|An Ackley family reunion in 1937 - they came to say farewell to the this old, historic, |
and time-honored institution known as the Ackley Covered Bridge.
There's the bridge on the left there, shortly before being disassembled and brought to Greenfield Village.
There are certain things in our nation's past that seem to have disappeared from history without any thought or notion or, in many cases, any recollection from people living here in the 21st century. Covered bridges are one such piece of Americana that has gone down that same route. Not that they are gone from our landscape - no sir! In fact, there are still over 700 of these vestiges from the past still standing proudly throughout the United States, most in their original locations. But those locations are usually off the beaten path...tucked in out-of-the-way corners of rural America.
America almost lost one such vestige from the past - the Ackley Covered Bridge. A newspaper article from April 2, 1937 reads (in part):
There is always a sensation of sadness and regret that overshadows us when we are apprised of the fact that one of our cherished landmarks, or some material structure that has been made dear to us, either by economic or social doings, or both, has the withering decree pronounced upon it, that it is no longer capable of serving a useful purpose and must be relegated into the field of oblivion.
Such is our feeling when we are awarded the information that the grand old historic bridge commonly known as "Ackley's Covered Bridge" is to be removed and replaced with a modern structure.
|The beautiful modern structure that replaced the ugly old covered bridge|
(tongue placed firmly in cheek here)~
Yep---this is the exact spot where it was first erected!
And then shortly afterward, the paper had these headlines:
ACKLEY COVERED BRIDGE WILL BE PART OF FORD'S AMERICANA
One of this district's historic landmarks will be dismantled starting today, and will be taken to form a part of Henry Ford's historic exhibition.
The historic Ackley bridge has been purchased by Mrs. Elizabeth Lucille Evans, a descendant of the pioneer whose name it bears, and she has presented it to Henry Ford to be given a place of honor in his historic collection of historic American articles at his Greenfield Village at Dearborn, Michigan.
|The 1832 Ackley Covered Bridge retains its beauty inside the walls of Greenfield Village.|
|The original Ackley House still stands - the one and the same as seen in the long, thin black & white photo a few pictures up.|
Next up we have Daggett photos from the Lindsey vacation collection. Yep---my favorite of all the houses inside the Village.
The Daggett house was built by Samuel Daggett in Coventry (now Andover), Connecticut around the year 1750 on a spot known as Shoddy Hill Road atop 80 acres of land, right about the time he married his wife, Anna Bushnell, and it was in this saltbox that they raised three children.
|Here is the Daggett house in its original location on Shoddy Hill Road where Samuel Daggett built it, not long before its 2nd location when antiquarian Mary Dana Wells moved it to Union, Ct. It was moved to Greenfield Village in 1977 where it first opened to the public in 1978.|
And how it looks today in a photo I took not too long ago.
How long the house that now sits inside Greenfield Village remained in the Daggett family is unclear - Samuel died in 1798 and his wife Anna died in 1832...did she remain here until her death? By the time Mary Dana Wells discovered and eventually purchased it in the early 1950s, the structure was referred to as the 'Jack Hunt House.'
When Mrs. Wells was told of the dwelling as it sat in Andover in 1951, she had it disassembled and moved 35 miles to Union, Connecticut, where she had much of the '19th century updates' removed in her own restoration project and, in doing so, found the original façade. It was this 18th century design that prompted Mrs. Wells to actually purchase the house for herself. Once in its new location and restored, the structure served as Wells' home for the next 26 years, until she could no longer keep it in its pristine colonial condition.
It was then, in 1977, that Mrs. Wells decided to donate this wonderful representation of colonial New England America, complete with most of the colonial furnishings she collected, as well as an endowment fund to maintain it, to Greenfield Village.
It was disassembled once again and then shipped to Dearborn, Michigan where it was reassembled inside Greenfield Village and ready for public viewing by the 1978 season.
In the photographs below we see the approximate original site of where the Daggett home once stood where it was originally built in Andover, Connecticut.
|Samuel Daggett once walked here...at least, on the grounds and not on the sidewalk.|
|The area now is mostly homes from the 1970’s, but I don't see that when I look at these |
great shots; I see farm land, and an 18th century family working the land.
I do not know exactly the placement of his house in these photos, however. No mind, I think it is very cool to see the land where it once stood.
Steve mentioned that he and his wife also stopped by the cemetery where Samuel and Anna are buried - the Old Andover Cemetery. They were able to find the stones of Sam Daggett, his parents, son Isaiah, and the remnant of Anna’s stone. From what I understand, the broken stone was repaired, but just not replaced in the ground just yet.
Their three children - Asenath Daggett Kingsbury, Talitha Ann Daggett Carver, and Isaiah Daggett - are also buried there.
|There, the three in the center (plus, to the left of the three, |
Anna's broken stone that, we are told, has since been repaired, just not replaced).
Summer of 2021 I called the Old Andover Cemetery and spoke to a person who helps run it and told her of our love for the Daggett House and of the family of Samuel & Anna Daggett - - she got so very excited! As I wrote on Facebook: she never heard of Greenfield Village and did not know what happened to the house ----now she does!
Anyhow, she is going to check into what's going on with Anna's headstone and get back with me.
In the meantime, I am going to send her a ton of pictures - she was practically in tears when she heard about the period-dressed presenters bringing the Daggett House to life in the way they do!
Then, a few days after speaking with her, I received an e-mailed response from her about Anna's stone:
Attached you will see the Anna Daggett stone broken and repaired in 2017. The last photo dated 2021 is what happened to the stone. As you can see it is a very delicate stone and was standing upright after it was repaired in 2017. However; due to bad weather we had over the winter and spring we discovered the stone had broken again. We spoke with the contractor and they are going to replace the stone and make it whole again at no charge to us. It is possible that the epoxy they used was not strong enough for that particular type of stone. The contractor had suggested perhaps we had a vandal in the cemetery but we reviewed all the stones and that was the only one that had been broken since any restoration had taken place.
I had gone to the cemetery on Monday early evening just before dusk and discovered the Anna Daggett stone was broken and only the bottom piece was in tack. Once I contacted our Chairman of the Olde Andover Burying Ground Committee he informed me there was a stone broken and contractor was going to refurbish it at no expense to us. I called the contractor and discovered it was in fact the "missing" Anna Daggett stone. When your friend was taking pictures had he turned around in back of him he would have seen the broken Anna Daggett stone lying against the stone wall of the cemetery. I have sent you a photo of how it now looks.
The contractor has promised to fix the stone as soon as possible. The company understands how important this cemetery is to the town of Andover and now we have discovered the importance of the Anna Daggett stone for the state of Michigan (thanks to your hard work Ken!) I am pleased to have talked with you and once the stone is completed I will take a picture and send that to you.
Now I have a little mystery that perhaps you can solve for us! The Samuel Daggett stone and the Margery Daggett stone at in tack and sitting next to a stone that we cannot read at all. We are going to clean that stone very soon and see if we can find in our archives who is buried there. Because the Anna Daggett stone sits directly beside that stone. Therefore; it has to be of the Daggett family. Do you have any further information that might lead us to find a name to place on a plague at the bottom of the stone identifying it?
I look forward to hearing from you."
Well...now we know! Awesome that they're on the ball here!
So now we have the original grounds, the original house, and even the cemetery/tombstones to complete the Daggett picture.
Next up we have the Eagle Tavern.
|Here is the Eagle Tavern how it looked in the 1890s on its original location |
in Clinton, Michigan.
Early in the 19th century, a stage line was operated between Detroit and Tecumseh on what was originally an Indian trail. With the coming of the early settlers from the east, however, it became the settler's route as well. As traveling increased and roads were made possible for stagecoach travel, taverns were built along this route.
This is where the Eagle Tavern once stood in Clinton, Mi as the area looks now.
|It was right on this corner.|
The first (and eventually it became the 2nd) stage stop that comes our way on our journey west from Detroit was originally known as Parks Tavern when it was built in Clinton, Michigan, around 1831. Parks Tavern was renamed the Eagle Tavern in 1849 and that name remained until the Civil War. It was one of the first of the taverns built on this road, which eventually extended to Niles, Michigan in 1832, and then, by 1833, the road made it to Chicago, when it became known as the Chicago Turnpike, and finally the Chicago Road / US 12.
|A historical marker marks the spot where the tavern once stood.|
|I visited the original site of the Eagle Tavern in Clinton, Michigan while wearing my 1860s clothing. We were on our way back from a Civil War reenactment at, of all places, Walker Tavern, the next stop on the Old Chicago Turnpike trail about 11 miles up the road.|
It still stands!
And for fun's sake, if you look closely you can see the ghostly blend of the 19th century past with the 21st century present.
|A sort of "ghost" photo of the Eagle tavern.|
In 1925, after Henry Ford purchased the building, he renamed it the Clinton Inn after the village from which it came. By the spring of 1929, the restoration inside what was to become Greenfield Village was complete, using original materials whenever possible.
|This picture was taken inside Greenfield Village only a few years ago, but I "corrected" it by way of a computer photo program.|
It was in the 1980s that Greenfield Village turned the Clinton Inn into a working 1850 tavern, serving food & drink correct to the mid-19th century...and changed the name back to The Eagle Tavern.
The Thomas Edison Complex was the so-called "corner stone" of Henry Ford's entire Museum. In fact, its official name is the Edison Institute. Henry Ford was very close friends with Thomas Edison and he wanted to pay tribute to the man who had done so much for mankind around the world.
This was to restore the "inventing factory" that Edison used during the time he invented the phonograph and electric incandescent lighting.
It was unfortunate when Ford found that the original site was nearly completely dismantled by neighboring farmers not too many years after Edison's move to West Orange, New Jersey in 1887. In fact, it was only a year after Edison had removed himself that cows began to wander amongst the buildings of the complex, and a chicken farmer even allowed his flock to make the laboratory their home! Soon after, many local residents began using the quickly dilapidating building's boards to repair their own deteriorating barns and hen houses. A severe storm blew what was left of the building over in 1913.
Luckily, with Mr. Edison's help, many of the original boards were found, including some that were in storage, while others were regained through purchase of the sheds and other farm buildings mentioned above.
Edison & Ford inspect the ruins where the original
laboratory once stood in Menlo Park, New Jersey
Excavators dug through the original ground and not only found thousands of pieces of Edison's trash and other original "relics" from the lab that had been thrown out (which were gathered and shipped to Dearborn), but they could also see how the original buildings were positioned.
|Once they were aligned in Greenfield Village in the same directional orientation as they were in New Jersey (including carloads of New Jersey clay from the original grounds!), the buildings became the focal point on what would be called "the greatest and most significant single preservation effort in America."|
Through the aid of photographs and of the memories of those who worked there, Ford was also able to locate or find exact replicas of the furniture, tools, and other artifacts that once played an important role inside the lab.
Steven Lindsey has visited where the complex once stood:
In the bottom photo, the tower to the left is the approximate middle of where the laboratory was. The building to the right would have been the end of the machine shop.
|If you look real hard, you can still "see" the invention factory... |
Or...here it is inside Greenfield Village:
Like ghost buildings...
The Edison Complex was re-constructed inside Ford's new Village in 1929.
|The set up in Greenfield Village is exact in every way to the original lay out in the 1870s |
in Menlo Park, New Jersey, including the brick office building/library.
|The Edison Monument with a giant glass light bulb on top.|
And, in this next picture, Steve noted that "You can faintly see the outline of where the office/library was."
|See the Greenfield Village photo a couple above for a better idea of the look.|
Let's visit the spot where what was once the oldest windmill on Cape Cod stood at the road to West Yarmouth, Massachusetts: the Farris Windmill
|Built in 1633, here is the Farris Windmill as it now stands |
in Greenfield Village.
It was brought here in 1936.
The location in the following two pictures shows us the last site of where the Windmill stood before it was brought to Greenfield Village. It is the only corner not built up at this intersection. The other corners have a gas station, a CVS, and a chamber of commerce. It is located in Yarmouth, Massachusetts.
|It is difficult to imagine such a behemoth standing here!|
|This is NOT the Farris Windmill, but this is how it looked in its original location, without the stone base Henry Ford added. Perhaps Ford was concerned the turning sails were too close to the ground? I'm not sure. But this photo here is of the mill that is on the former home - now museum site - of "Home Sweet Home" composer John Howard Payne, in East Hampton, NY.|
Vacationer Steve was also able to stop where the Firestone Farm originally stood. Seeing what is there now is, well, sort of strange, I would think, but in a sort of good way.
"(A) few pictures are from the half recreated farmhouse and the new shopping plaza that opened recently. There is also a golf course and a subdivision on what was originally the Firestone Farm.
For Firestone they (the historical society) were able to give me an exact location of where the house had been and even sent me a historic photo of it."
|According to the historical society this is where the Firestone farmhouse originally stood.|
Harvey Firestone was a huge supporter of Columbiana, and was very generous towards his hometown. In 1933, Firestone donated 52 acres with partial funding to establish a park for the town. Firestone was very involved in the overall planning and development of the park, even visiting and overseeing construction plans with the Park board.
|The view of the field across from where the house stood.|
Can you envision crops such as wheat and corn growing here?
Even though he no longer lived in his hometown, Harvey Firestone visited the area regularly. Sadly, Firestone died before he could see his great vision, but he was not forgotten. The park was named for Columbiana's most popular son, and is known as The Harvey S. Firestone Recreational Park.
Today, another part of the Firestone homestead has been developed into one of Columbiana County's greatest golf courses, The Links at Firestone Farms.
I've known several people who have visited the old farm site and they have each shown (or told) me about the front of the Firestone Farm House - not the whole house - but a replicated front end, including the porch, on the site. In fact, Tom, one of the Firestone farmers at Greenfield Village mentioned to me that he remembered when some folks came and took detailed measurements of the front of the original..
|A curious site to see indeed!|
So I did some of my own research and found that it is part of something called The Town Center. As the good folks at the Town Center explained to me, "The 'half a house' at Town Center is a replica of the boyhood home of Harvey S. Firestone. Currently it serves as the backdrop to our stage where we host outdoor concerts in the summer. Eventually, we will add on to it.
|It's a stage!|
I would bet Harvey would get a chuckle out of it!
|Still...as one who has seen the original countless|
times, this looks really odd.
In 1965, nearly thirty years after tire magnet Harvey Firestone's death, his descendants and the local Columbiana Historical Society restored the house in which he was born back in 1868 in Columbiana, Ohio, and opened it to the public for historical tours. But because of the farm's remote location, it failed to attract many visitors. Harvey's two surviving sons, both in their 70's by this time, gave the house and barn, together with furnishings and a sizable endowment for maintenance, to Greenfield Village as a way to keep the memory of their father alive. On June 29, 1985, descendants of Henry Ford and Harvey Firestone along with former U.S. President Gerald Ford helped dedicate the newly installed farm.
|Here is the original that is now inside of Greenfield Village, and continues to |
be a farm house in the middle of an actual 1880s working farm!
Thousands of people visit the house each year.
And now thousands of visitors visit the farm and house annually to learn of the Firestone Family as well as 1880s farming practices.
The last historic building Henry Ford had personally moved to Greenfield Village before his death was the first one he preserved: his family homestead. It was in this house, on July 30, 1863, in which Henry Ford, the first of William and Mary's six children, was born.
In 1919, highway officials decided to extend Greenfield Road south through the Ford farm. Unfortunately, the homestead was directly in the proposed road's path. The family's decision to move the house and the outbuildings prompted Ford's first restoration project.
So, that same year, Mr. Ford began the preservation of his birthplace, a simple two-story clapboard farmhouse built in 1861 on the dividing line of Springwells and Dearborn Townships in Michigan by his father William. He obtained every piece of original furniture, pictures, and equipment that could be found.
Here is a shot of the Ford home on the land where it originally stood:
|An old photograph of the Ford home in its original location...|
However...I am not sure if this was taken after it's first relocation upon the same land.
If you compare the details to the sketch below from 1876, I kind of think it is in its
original pre-1919 spot.
|An 1876 atlas drawing of "The Residence of William Ford, Esq; Springwell, |
Wayne County, Mich." This was in the very spot we see in the picture below.
And here is what that very same land looks like today:
I can only assume where we see the historical marker in this picture was where the house once stood, though I don't know this for certain.
|It is a beautiful shaded park, and is part of the condominium complex|
that stands there now.
|Here is the historical marker from where the house once stood, |
which is now a condominium parking lot at Ford Road at
Greenfield Road in Dearborn
The restored farmhouse's chances of survival in a developing area and the need for 24 hour security protection from vandals worried Ford. So...
|Once reassembled inside Greenfield Village, the completed homestead, with the white picket fence and outbuildings, was arranged in their original positions.|
And was now well-protected.
During his summer 2021 vacation back east, Steven Lindsey made it a point to stop at the original location of the Sounds of America (formerly known as the Stephen Foster Home), which was built about 1830.
|The World War One monument was placed at the location of where the Sounds of America Gallery house originally stood. |
As has been found, according to the latest research, the Sounds of America House was not the structure in which Stephen Foster once lived; that house had been torn down and replaced by the house now inside the Village.
|Another look at the WWI monument, marking the Sounds of America spot.|
In 1934, Ford bought a house in which Stephen Collins Foster allegedly had lived. As the industrialist was preparing to move the dwelling to Dearborn, the mayor of Pittsburgh declared that Ford had bought the wrong house. His statement was seconded by Foster's biographer, John Tasker Howard, who, while conceding the land on which the house stood was owned by Foster's father, pointed out in a book that there was "little documentary evidence" to support the claim that the homestead was ever occupied by Stephen Foster himself. Ford's agents, the biographer suggested "had been misled and failed to exercise due caution in examining evidence" (which consisted mostly of the recollections of elderly Pittsburghers who, themselves, could only repeat what their parents had told them about the house). To judge for himself, Ford, who perhaps was pleased with the furor, made two well-publicized trips to Pittsburgh, expressed his faith in the house, and ordered it removed to Dearborn. On July 4, 1935, the house - in the presence of 70 of Foster's descendants - was formally added to the Greenfield Village collection. One of Foster's granddaughters lit "a perpetual monument of fire" in a stove inside the house and a sign, 'The Birthplace of Stephen Foster,' was hung above the front door."
The book goes on to say that after Ford's death the trustees of Greenfield Village wanted to clear up the controversy of whether Foster was actually born in this house or not due to the insistence of other Foster relatives, so a professional historian was hired to do the determination. The historian's conclusion was that Foster's actual birthplace was torn down in 1865 and that Ford's agents either ignored or did not understand the available evidence at the time. The house, as of 1953, was then known as the Stephen Foster Memorial.
But, the controversy didn't end, and through the 1960's other historians offered their 'professional' opinions. After continued research they decided Mr. Ford and his agents were, in fact, correct and the Village, in 1971, renamed it, once again, the Stephen Foster Birthplace.
In the 1990's (as far as I can figure), after another bout of research, the historians one more time agreed that this was not the birthplace of Stephen Foster, doubting, in fact, that he ever lived in this house. However, it was on the property belonging to his father. So, rather than just have it as a restored 'mistake,' the Village, in 2003, decided to incorporate the music and the musical instruments of the era of Stephen Foster into a house-sized showcase.
It works quite well.
|Sounds of America - a tribute to Stephen Foster and the music of his era.|
In the late 1920s, while putting together the collection of early American structures that would comprise his Greenfield Village, Henry Ford let it be known that he was in the market for an eighteenth century colonial mansion house, a home of an upper class family. His New England purchasing agent, W. W. Taylor, located what was then known as the Batchelder house in Exeter, New Hampshire. It had been vacant since 1919 and was in a run-down condition. In fact, so was the neighborhood where it sat.
|This is the original site of the Giddings home. Shortly after the Giddings home was moved to Dearborn, Michigan in the late 1920s, the home we see here, from 1766, was moved into its place. They needed this house moved to put in a new road.|
The above "replacement" is not unlike the Giddings House in architectural style:
|The Giddings House as it sits inside Greenfield Village.|
This circa 1850-51 carding mill - built by John Gunsolly - was originally located west of Dearborn (near Plymouth, Michigan) on the Middle Rouge River, and illustrates the changeover from hand-operated (carding paddles) to labor-saving mechanical equipment brought about by the industrial revolution, which resulted in the mass production and mass supply of goods.
|Gunsolly Carding Mill inside Greenfield Village|
Henry Ford and his father used to bring raw wool sheared from their flocks of sheep to this very mill - nearly a three hour trip from the Ford farm - where the wool was carded - a process where fibers are opened, cleaned, and straightened in preparation for spinning - and made into rovings (a long and narrow bundle of fiber with a twist to hold the fiber together), which were then taken home for spinning into thread or yarn by their wives and daughters.
In May of 1929, Mr. Gunsolly's mill was still on its original site - empty and
abandoned - and was relocated and rebuilt at Greenfield Village by the
October 1929 grand opening.
Where Gunsolly Carding Mill once stood is now a park, which I think is pretty cool!
They have a placard to show what the history of the park is all about.
I like this.
The town of Plymouth was an important wool market in southeastern Michigan in the 1850s and 1860s. This mill serviced farmers from 40 miles around. During sheepshearing season, the mill would be so busy that customers would have to stay over night at a local inn and wait their turn for wool processing.
|I am imaging the carding mill and perhaps another (saw mill?) along the river in the distance (going from left to center). And, wait, there are horses and carts as well. Use your imagination - they're there!|
One resident described how in the fall loads of apples went to Gunsolly's cider mill on the Plymouth Road, and loads of wool to the carding mill just opposite. In the above photo, the Plymouth Road is just beyond the left-center ridge.
Here is the Middle Rouge River that powered the mills. In this picture we are
looking toward the Plymouth Road, which would have been toward Gunsolly's
cider mill. It is unfortunate that we don't exactly know where the
Carding Mill originally sat, but it was right in this vicinity.
Hanks Silk Mill
Here is the original location of Hanks Silk Mill from Mansfield, Connecticut.
In the words of Steve Lindsey:
"With Hanks silk mill, I used clues I found along with historic photos I had found. Then I used google street view. When I found where I thought it was on google, there happened to be a sign posted stating that it was the original site. When we arrived at the actual site, I parked the car on the side of the road and got out to take pictures."
|A sign and everything!|
Who would've thought?
Steve Lindsey continued: "The owner of the “new” Hanks silk mill (built around 1850) came out to talk. I told her about my quest to visit original sites of the GFV buildings. She was amazed that I had been to the real Hanks silk mill. She offered to show me the inside of the “new” mill. She took me into the basement and showed me where the wheel would have been and how the water would have flowed through. She also told me about the history of the building. After it was no longer being used as a mill, it was turned into a laundromat and then in the 1970’s it was converted to residential use by an artist. The artist would bring other artists there to live (more or less a commune).
It is currently a 1-2 family home."
|The original Hanks Silk Mill, built in 1810, as it looks today, where thousands of visitors check it out annually~|
Mr. Lindsey also mentioned that the woman said that the mills were so important to the town that the women in the area would all plant mulberry trees to harvest the cocoons. They would then sell them by the basket full to the mill and this would generate a little more income for their families. I found it very interesting that 150-200 years ago, they were already doing side jobs
The following text about the Heinz House, once again, comes from Steve Lindsey:
"Here are pictures from 'Where it all began.' The Heinz house originally set near where this U-haul store is today. The U-haul was a Texaco station in the 1940’s and 50’s.
|No Heinz ketchup here!|
For super-sleuth Steve, finding this was "one of the trickier ones... I contacted the Heinz history center. They didn’t have any information. There is a rendering inside the Heinz house in its original location (no steps in its original spot) that helped me. I then looked at Sanborn fire maps. Since Heinz was a large company, Heinz was specifically shown on the map. I was able to compare the Sanborns to modern maps and pinpoint the location. I was able to use historic photos to figure out where it had been located within the Heinz factory buildings. Most of the original buildings have been converted to lofts and apartments. I was really surprised that there was no marker to show the site “Where it began.”
|The Heinz House hasn't been in this location since 1904.|
It was in 1904 that H. J. had his house in which he had launched his career towed on a barge to his main plant. There, packed with Heinz memorabilia, it served as a company museum until 1953, when the H. J. Heinz Company presented it and its furnishings to Greenfield Village.
And because the house was moved so long ago, that could be the reason its original location was so difficult to find.
Steve, you did a great job in locating it!
|And now you can visit "Where it all began" restored and relocated to Dearborn, Michigan.|
Dr. Alonson Howard's office:
This simple Greek Revival structure began as a one-room schoolhouse, built in 1839 in the rural Michigan town of Tekonsha:
|Here is that original 1839 building today inside Greenfield Village.|
In 1843, the Howard family, including 20 year old Alonson, migrated to Tekonsha from upstate New York and established a farm they called Windfall that was located just behind the schoolhouse, hence the original name of the school - Windfall School. It was in 1855 when Tekonsha built a new school in a different location, and since by this time Alonson Howard was a doctor, and since he at this point already owned the farm and land, he bought this original schoolhouse. He remodeled it and created a reception room, a laboratory, and a personal office. While most doctors of the 19th century worked out of their homes, Dr. Howard had his own doctor's office!
Known as "Doc" Howard, he became a very respected doctor in Tekonsha and the surrounding communities. Besides seeing patients in his office, he made housecalls on horseback, on his white horse he called 'Mel,' which was short for Melchizedek. The good doctor could be seen throughout much of south central Michigan, riding atop Mel, saddlebags bouncing off the sides of the horse. He would also ride the train circuit, treating patients between Marshall, Battle Creek, Kalamazoo, and Coldwater, as well as other towns north and south of Tekonsha, and even as far as Jackson to the east.
|In this photo taken in 1956, we see Doc Howard's Office (on the left) situated in its original location on Jackson Drive back in 1839.|
|Here is that very same location today in a picture I took upon my visitation |
in January 2021.
And, in having a bit of fun:
|Here is my "ghost photo" combining the two photographs together.|
Now why would someone tear down that beautiful old white house there on the right??
After Dr. Howard’s death in 1883, his wife, Cynthia, padlocked the building with all its contents inside. There it remained, undisturbed, until the 1930s, when Dr. Howard’s great-grandson, Howard Washburn, began to take a deep interest in the building’s history. He not only sifted through his great-grandfather’s papers and medical books, but also collected reminiscences from those who still remembered him. Washburn was ultimately instrumental in the move of the building to Greenfield Village, which occurred between 1959 and 1961.
Directly across the street from the original location of the office we have the Windfall Cemetery:
|I circled the area of the Howard tombstones.|
|The tombstone of Dr. Alonson Howard~|
It was something being this close to the man whose office I visited
perhaps hundreds of time as a museum piece.
Although this next building, built about 1854 in Waterford, Michigan (about 30 miles north of Detroit), was not the first acquisition Henry Ford made for his new outdoor museum - as far as I have read, that distinction goes to the Scotch Settlement School - the Waterford Country Store was the first structure to actually arrive at the village site.
|Preparing to move the store to Dearborn, Michigan, here is how it looked where |
it was originally built in Waterford..
And here is how that same location looks today (from roughly the same angle):
|As of summer 2021, it is a Happy's Pizza location.|
|Yep, this is the very same location of where the JR Jones General Store once stood |
over a hundred years ago (looking from the south).
|The Waterford Historical Society built an exact replica of the General Store, |
which sits on their mini-open-air museum lot, and also includes a railroad caboose
and other historic buildings. Whereas Greenfield Village shows the original building
as it was in the 1880s, this replication shows as it was shortly before Henry Ford
purchased it - the 1920s.
And here is that original building!
|Welcome to 1880s Waterford, Michigan...inside Greenfield Village.|
Note that the three pictures of the general store are from the same angle.
Remember at the beginning of this posting where I quoted: "Preservation owes a lot to Henry Ford. But in the process of making people aware of the value of the past, he made a number of mistakes. One that modern experts find most objectionable was his uprooting of buildings from their original sites, thereby stripping them of their historical context, all in the name of historical preservation."?
Well, here is the perfect example of what Henry Ford did was exactly right!
What we have here is the original location of where the Sarah Jordan Boarding House once stood. According to Steve Lindsey, "There was a twin building (the Dean house) next to where Sarah Jordan was. They have signage and an outline of where that building was."
Well, the Dean House is no longer there, having been razed.
And if the Sarah Jordan House had not been removed to Dearborn, Michigan, it would have met the same fate.
|This is what's left of the land where the Sarah Jordan Boarding House once stood, |
as well as its "sister house," the Dean House.
Can you imagine - the first houses in history to ever be lit with an electric light gone forever!
But the lightbulb in Henry Ford's head had a better idea, and he saved at least one of the buildings - the one belonging to Sarah "Sally" Jordan, a distant relative of Thomas Edison.
|This house, built in 1870, originally stood near the laboratory where Thomas Edison and his men toiled in Menlo Park, New Jersey. Thomas Edison needed someone to run a place for his workers to eat and sleep. With little employment opportunities for women, the newly widowed Mrs. Jordan accepted the offer and opened the home as a boarding house in 1878.|
I was pretty ecstatic to find where the Loranger Gristmill once stood. And laughed at myself knowing that I passed that very spot numerous times before without realizing! But very recently I learned where it once stood, so I plan to visit again. And again; there's just something special when one walks on such ground.
The Loranger Gristmill was built in 1832 in Monroe, Michigan on the banks of Stoney Creek. Edward Loranger was born in Three Rivers, Quebec, in 1796. A brick mason, he moved to Frenchtown in the territory of Michigan in 1816 to help build a church (Frenchtown became Monroe, named after the then current President, James Monroe, in 1817).
Loranger remained in the Michigan territory and, in 1822, purchased the land on which his house is still located. He became one of the most prominent landowners and architects in early Monroe, and constructed many buildings in the area, including houses and stores. In fact, he built his own house in 1826, which still stands in its original spot.
Feeling the new settlement needed a grist and saw mill, Loranger himself hewed oak timbers for beams, cut with a broad axe the whitewood siding of the building, and cut logs for a dam in the river to impound the water for power to turn the wheels.
By 1832 his mills were up and running, sitting next to each other on the Stoney Creek near US 24 (Telegraph Rd).
|Here is an actual photograph taken at the turn of the 20th century of both mills |
next to each other in their original location. The gristmill is on the left.
Gristmills, by the way, ground grain into flour used for baking bread and cakes and
the like. They were a very important part of life in the pre-20th century world.
Now here is how this location looks today:
|Where you see this bridge, the original Loranger Gristmill from 1832 stood.|
Next to it was his saw mill.
|On the left we have the house that Mr. Loranger built in 1825. Directly across the street, where you see that little patch of snow on the right, was where his gristmill was.|
|I am standing where the gristmill once stood and looking toward the Loranger House.|
|I don't believe the creek is as wide as it once was.|
According to The History of Monroe County Michigan, Edward Loranger was very popular and well-respected by all who knew him.
|One of my favorite structures inside Greenfield Village - nearly 200 years old.|
When Henry Ford purchased the Gristmill in January of 1928, it was one of the few structures moved to the Village without prior disassembly.
When you walk into this house, it is 1903 all over again, for it is set up the way it was when the Brothers Wright lived here and discussed their plans to build the first airplane.