Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Henry Ford Museum-Greenfield Village, Part 1

I had been hearing about The Henry Ford for several years. I was not disappointed. We first spent a day at Greenfield Village. Started by Henry Ford in 1929, his vision was to give Americans a chance to visit history first hand by preserving and relocating an unrivaled collection of historical buildings. Max and I took over 500 pictures this day and I must say it was difficult to pick out only a few. So I have broken my day into 2 blogs, and I'm still only giving you a highlight. Hopefully what I show here will get you inspired to come here yourself.

Henry Ford stands guard at the entrance of the village.


We asked the gentleman to show us how he gets on and off. He made it look easy.


An experimental soybean laboratory built in 1930 for Henry Ford. He didnot believe soy beans were important for a food source, but did believe they were important for industry. He used soybean oil for his auto paint and soy based plastics to make gearshift knobs, door handles and other such items for his cars. The building now houses a history of agricultural tools and implements.


The Firestone house, circa 1885. Harvey Firestone grew up in this farmhouse his grandparents built originally in 1928. The farmhouse was moved here from Columbiana, OH. The Firestone family made most of their money from Merino sheep. Today this is still a working farm, raising sheep and cows, chickens, gardens and crops such as red winter wheat, soy beans and potatoes.


Harvey Firestone left the farm and eventually started the Firestone Tire Company. He was good friends with Henry Ford.


The ladies here are cooking the noonday meal for the farm workers, using many products from the gardens and farm itself, as well as the utensils and cooking methods of the 1880s.


The chickens were friendly, this one even let me pick her up.


In the 1800s cider was the most popular drink in the U.S. This cider mill was built in 1937 here in the village as a recreation of what a cider mill would have looked and operated like in the 1800s.


Steam driven power would have operated this press. Unknown to me before this day, apples originally came from Europe, although they have a reputation of being the all-American fruit.



This replica of the Spofford Sawmill was built in the village in 1940, but some of the original materials were used. The original mill was built in Georgetown, MA, in the late 1600s and the mill operated until 1925, over 250 years. It also remained in the Spofford family for almost 200 of those years before being sold in the mid-1800s.

There were many other craft buildings for pottery, glass blowing, tin making, printing, weaving and similar trades that would have been necessary back in the 1800s. Much of the equipment is not just on display, but is used today for demos and making items for resale.


Edison was one of Henry Ford's best friends. Henry worked for Edison back in the 1890s, becoming chief engineer of Edison Illuminating Company's Station A. This is a scaled replica of the original plant which was Detroit's first electric power plants.



This is Jumbo Number 9, one of the original turbines in the power plant.


Replica of a town hall. Built in 1929 in the village. Town halls were not originally used for offices, but for a community gathering place. Town meetings and elections were held here, but also dances, performances and dinners.


There was a comedy revue of early Broadway plays. The performers did a couple of songs from about a dozen plays from as early as 1923 to as late as 1948, plays such as Oklahoma, Show Boat and Annie Get Your Gun.


Village employees are in period dress. Although most have jobs in the stores, restaurants or craft cottages, some are just strolling around town eager to answer any questions.


Inside the Eagle Tavern, built in 1831 in Clinton, MI, and relocated to Greenfield Village. Taverns served not just the local townspeople, but travelers, whether by horse-drawn carriages and wagons or by trains. This is where the locals could come and hear about what was going on outside of their town. Most taverns provided a place for people to eat, drink and sleep, more like what we call a hotel today. All the food served at this restaurant today is made using recipes from the 1800s.


The Mattox family home was built about 1880 in Bryan County, GA. It was moved here to show what a common southern farmhouse would have looked like. Amos Mattox was a farmer, barber, shoemaker and preacher.


They lined their home with newspapers to insulate against the cool Geogia nights and winters.


They even used cardboard on the ceilings.


And pop bottle caps were used instead of checkers.


The only vehicles that were seen in the village were horse-drawn carriages and wagons or Ford's Model T's.







































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