A VISIT TO THE HENRY FORD
You may well ask " what in the world is the HENRY FORD?? The visitor guide says it is "AMERICA'S GREATEST HISTORY ATTRACTION" It is located in Dearborn, Michigan, and consists of 5 major facilites:
THE HENRY FORD MUSEUM -- it is a huge indoor museum
GREENFIELD VILLIAGE - the collection of historic buildings moved from all over America.
FORD ROUGE FACTORY TOUR - a tour of part of Ford's current auto factory
IMAX THEATER - you know what these are!
BENSON FORD RESEARCH CENTER. - a large collection of documents, photos, artifats, etc that are available for studdy.
"Henry Ford's goal was to create an institution that would share ideas and inginuity, an institution commited to telling the stories of people determined to change the world around them and nudge civilization in new directions"
We had heard of "THE HENRY FORD" for some time, and finally, we sugessted it for anadventure to share with our siblings. Because of various problems, only Jim and Jo were able to join us. We left Allison Park on Oct 7, and had a nice drive to Dearborn. It was drizzling the next morning, so we chose to go to THE HENRY FORD MUSEUM on that day.
I am sorry to say that I don't have a photo of the outside, but this inside shot shows the beautiful windows, solid oak floors throughout, and the solid feel of the place. It was constructd in the mid 1920's, and is very large.
And here, as you might expect, is Henry's very first gasoline powered vehicle. I'm told that it worked very well.
There were several Presidential Limosines, and I think this is the one that Kennedy was riding in when he was shot.
Saddly, since I have a vision problem, I was not able to take notes to identify most of the things that I photographed, and so you will not know the name of most of the vehicles that I show here. But, their beauty speaks for itself.
This gives an idea of the building characteristics
Ah, when I saw this, it was love at first sight!! It is a Bugatti!!
Though, this one is pretty also.
Here is my Bugatti first love, shot from the other side. You cannot imagine the impact of seeing that huge hood in real life.
Just the car for me to drive up to the Acaddamy Awards to pick up my Oscar!
I hope you can read this. It tells all about it.
The most popular color was black. It is tough to photograph in these surroundings.
I wonder how many miles they get on these tires. Remember that most of the roads were still mud in those days.
Love those white sidewalls!
This, I believe was one of those famous 1957 Chevys. I was pleased that Henry included cars from many of his competitors.
Here is a complete "Diner" from the 20's or 30's. They were factory made and towed to their site.
I think this is a prime example of the tail fin craze of the 60's. Ibelieve it is a Cadillac.
Chrysler was originally famous for their innovative engineering, and this was a much publicized "Air Flow", that was to be the wave of the future, but the public did not like the styling, and it faded. It is much more impressive than I remembered. . It kinda lookks like it is a big brother to a VW.
All of Henry's competitors belived that they should make fancy expensive cars with high proffit margins to sell to the wealthy. However, Henry wanted to make simple, maintainable, low cost cars tosell to the average citizen. By the early 20's he was selling his famous Model T's all over the world, and he was the world's wealthiest man.
This is the famous CORD. It had many engineering innovations as well as "knock em dead" styling.
Front view of the CORD. It had a big impact on the industry. It is also Jim's favorite.
Another very early one.
The museum also had many early trucks.
we are now in the railroad section. This is a reproduction of one of the earliest steam locomovies. I believe this was developed in England.
And, right beside it was this monster engine called the "Allegheny". It hauled huge strings of coal cars up the mountains.
This is inside the cab of the Allegheny and I wanted to get my hands on those controls, but some kid got there first.
Ah, finally I got my hands on all that power. Can I get someone to start the fire??
Boy, this is a beauty. I think that it is a Packard.
This is one of the early racing cars. It may be the one that Henry built and raced so successfully.
Boy, I bet this made the pretty girls crave a ride!
Now we jump into the future. This is a concept car for Fuel Cell techology.
The museum has examples of all kinds of transportation such as bicycles, horse drawn vehicles, motorcycles, trains, racers, motor cars, etc.
Hope you can read it.
I think that this may be the Steam Car.
Now, I believe that this is one of the famous Model A's that I cut my teeth on. We had a 1932 Ford Model A Station Wagon, with most of the body made out of wood. Yep, that is what I learned to drive in, and also to try my repair skills.
Henry was also interested in airplanes, and he manufactured the world famous "FORD TRIMOTOR". It was all metal and had three engines. It was famous for its durability and practicality.
It is difficult to see, but there is one in the background in this display, which depicts a glamourous lady arriving in her luxuoury car to board the airliner.
A fairly large section of the museum is dedicated to aviation, though I don't have many photos since it is so hard to get them without a very wide angle lens. Here is an Auto Gyro, that came before the Helicopter. It could land and take off of a very small runway, and was to be the plane for the masses. But the cost was much too high.
See what I mean about getting good pictures??
There are thousands and thousands of items here other than cars, trains and planes. For example, this is the actual chair that Lincoln was sitting in wen he was assasinated.
And this is the interior of the actual bus where Rosa Parks refused to move to the rear, and triggered the Montgomery protest marches, and all that followed. It was recently discovered on a dump and restored.
One of Henry's best pals was Thomas Edison, so, as you might expect there is a lot about electricity. Here is a huge generator. No,the generator is in the back, and Jim is in the front.
I think this farmer had geat perception and wisdom. It was written over a large arch.
They also have a large collection of farm machinery. Can you just see this monster crawling across the praries?
As forecast, the next day was beautiful . We arrived at Greenfield Village with great enthusiasm.
This is the entrance.
There are several differenct types of historical rides avaiable, including a fleet of old Model T's
This is a horse drawn carriage available for rides.
This is the Model T Loading Dock where one gets a ride in a Model T.
The driver is describing some of Henry's story, and also some of the buildings we are passing. I was very impressed with how quiet the car was, particularly when not accelerating. The transmission was very noisy when starting from a stop. It cruised nicely on village streets, but would not be good on our high modern speed roads. The driver was very professional.
Now, this is what I was really looking forward to seeing. It is the bicycle shop that was owned and operated by the Wright Brothers in Dayton Ohio. It is on the left side of this building, and a mortuary was in the adjoining shop.
The front of the store was the sales room and an office. They built, sold, rented, and repaired all kinds of bicycles. They did this all day long in order to make a living. Then at night they went into to shop in the rear to work on their airplane.
They had a pretty complete machine shop that they used not only to make the airplane, but they had to design and build the engine here when none of the engine manufacturers would attempt to make what they wanted. We were very impressed by how small it was. There was no room to assemble the plane here. They built sections, then crated them and shipped them to Kitty Hawk where the the plane was then assembled.
There was a small stationary gas engine that powered the overhead belt drive system that powereed the individual machines tools.
One of the most meaningful historic places in America.
I suspect that they also built some of their machine tools.
At that time there were people all over the world that were trying to make an airplane that could fly, but they all were using the trial and error method. They would guess what would work, build one, try it and then, after it crashed, go back and make another guess. The Wright brothers never did that. They did did a lot of analysis, designed and used a wind tunnel, made and tested some gliders, but then, when they thought they had it all figured out, they finished the design, built it and then successfully flew it.
Here Jim is leaving the back door of the shop so we can walk next door to their home.
Here is the view of their home from the yard behind the shop.
Here is the front view of their home. Their father was a minister, and their mother was very well educated - excellent in mathematics. At least one of them was born in this house, and at least one of them died here. So this is where they spent their lives. They had two older brothers and a younger sister, Katharine. Shewas their strongest supporter, took care of them after the parents died.
This is the parlor
This is somewhat like a modern family room.. Note the stairs on the right
Outdoor plumbing was the standard in those days.
These two men were so dedicated and hard working, and their invention has had such a huge effect on the world, that I kept having the feeling that herer was God's hand guiding them, because it was part of his plan and they were his implementers. This is absolutely one ot the most moving things that I have seen.
Next we went to this reproduction of the factory that Henry used for his early cars. The real factory had 4 times the floor space, but was otherwise the same. Here he used the production system where a team would put together a car from start to finish, there were a number teams working on cars simultaneously. It was later that he would develop his famous assembly line technique where then cars moved and a worker did the same thing on each car. That was the birth of mass production and lowered prices.
He was very clever, specifying the exact size shape and kind of wood that his suppliers shipped parts to him in. Then he used the wood for making the floorboards in the cars
Now, unless I am mistaken, this is Henry's fathers house. It had the least distance to be moved when it was dissassembled and shipped here.
Henry's father was a farmer and he wanted Henry to follw him. But, Henry hated farming and finally left home when in his teens, and went to Detroit to seek his fortune. He was always facinated by mechanical things, and took to the new automobiles like a duck to water.
This is a beautiful non-demominational church. There are no regular services here, but many, many weddings.
It was getting to be lunch time, and we found this EAGLE TAVERN. There is "A Taste of History" restaurant therer, where we had a nice lunch chosen from a 1780's menu. Their Hard Cider drink was excellent, and the Pork and Apple pie was superb!. The service and prices were also very good.
I was starving for some fall color, and here it is!
This is a large sawmill complex that illustrates how the woods were turned into good lumber.
Marie is watching the potter applying some decoration. There wre many different kinds of craft exhibits.
Herer is the weaver at work. There was also a carding shop demonstrating carding machines.
I was surprised to see this lake.
The wind Mill was going lickety split, and Jim and I were musing on why the modern wind mills only use three blades.
I don't know if you noticed the pumpkins lining the streets in some of the other photos, but, it part of the Halloween Season. There will be a great party on Halloween, that is very popular. We were told that thee are 850 pumkins on the village streets and plazas, all carved indivudually into distinctive Jack O'Lanterns. That's not the most amazing part of the story. Each week they are all replaced with fresh new ones!!
They have quite a nice railroad system here, including a complete roundhouse and maintenance facility. And, of fourse, the train circumnavigates the whole village.
Yes, of course, we took a ride.
I am glad that we came during the off season. I would guess that there are a lot of people here during the summer.
This is a very beautiful, clean and pleasing village. I just love the feeling of walking in the quiet days of yore. The only thing that I think is not historically represenite is that the roads are all smooth concrete instead of the mud roads of and streets of that era.
There is a story that goes with the covered bridge that was moved from Pennsylvania. One day, Henry received a pleading letter from a lady in PA relating that they were going to tear the beautiful covered bridge down, and pleaded for him to come and get it before it was destroyed. He sent his team to examine it, and they liked what they found, and so it was moved here. After it was in place he wrote a letter to the lady, thanking her and inviting her to come and see it whenever and as often as she liked. He would pay all expenses. So, she came, three times before she died.
The windmill came from New England where it had been used for hundreds of years.
This is the Cotswald House, which was dissassembled and shipped here piece by piece from it's site in England. Then a team of Brits came and rebuilt it. Notice the roof is made of stones!
This is the home that Noah Webster built. He thought he would be retiring, but he could not quit, and did a lot of his work here. I loved it and felt I could move in just as it was!
Do you agree??
Isn't this something special??
This is the house that Steven Collins Foster, the great American composer lived in. It was moved from Lawrenceville, PA to here. I lived a good part of my youth in Lawrenceville, and remember walking past the place where this house was located. Lawrenceville is a district of Pittsburgh.
Well, Guys, I would sum up the "HENRY FORD" as a great place to go, an I hope to get back there to see some of the many things that I missed, and to revisit old favorites.