First of all, I have a passion for the past and, for those of us who live in the metro-Detroit area, we are blessed to have what is perhaps the finest open-air historical museum in the United States.
What puts Greenfield Village above other places such as Colonial Williamsburg (which is truly in a class all its own), Connor Prairie, Old Sturbridge Village, and other open-air museums? Well, first of all, its SIZE. I mean, 240 total acres available with 90 acres actually being used. Imagine how much more they can expand if they choose to do so! Then there are the historical structures that have been placed there - buildings that, in many cases, were scheduled to be razed. Where else can one go to see the homes of the Wright Brothers, Noah Webster, Harvey Firestone, Robert Frost, and others? How about the building where President Lincoln once practiced law? A doctor's office that went totally untouched for nearly a century before it was donated to the Village? Or the home of the grandparents of Thomas Edison?
And, at the Henry Ford Museum, one can see the actual chair that Lincoln was shot in while at the Ford Theater on April 14, 1865, as well as the automobile that President Kennedy was riding in on the fateful day in Dallas 1963, Henry Ford's Quadricycle, an original 1950's MacDonalds...and there is so much more - - - -
Now, I'm not saying that the other open-air historical museums aren't great either. I know they are. I'm just biased for what I have in my own back yard.
I mean, here, in one great outdoor (and indoor) museum, is the story of American life covering three and a half centuries. Here is the feel, the look (well, except for the curbs and sidewalks - more on that in a future blog), the tangible evidence of how Americans built and decorated their homes, conducted their affairs, and educated their young. The social revolution of how Americans moved from home crafts to an industrialized nation is also present at Greenfield Village.
Here, American history comes to life.
I plan to have each individual "blog" be about a separate building or artifact, including pictures. I hope to have the structures of the Village in this blog presented close to the order in which they were placed in the Village. At least pretty darn close. This way, at a glance, one can see and document the growth of the Village.
I hope you like it.
(Just so you know, this blog is not affiliated with - and, therefore, not endorsed by - The Henry Ford (Greenfield Village and the Henry Ford Museum) in any way, shape, or form. It was created out of my love for the place as well as my passion for history).
So, why am I undertaking such a project? Because it's FUN!
By the way, all pictures were taken by me unless otherwise noted. If you would like to use any for your own purpose, I ask that you ask me first. It's one of those courtesies, you know?
Pretty much all of the written information came from The Henry Ford, much of it through the large collection of guidebooks I have acquired, the placards placed at each structure in the Village, Henry Ford workers (current and former), and through my own personal research at the Benson Ford Research Center. I have tried to cross-reference all of the information to ensure its accuracy.
And I will notate if anything is questionable.
Please check back on the older blogs you may have already read, as when new information becomes available I will add it to them.
I hope you enjoy this labor of love as much as I have had writing it.
(If you enjoy reading about history, you may find my other blog
interesting, for it deals with many different subjects involving history, including Civil War reenacting, living history, history in general, Christmas, and once in a while my take on current events).