Friday, September 5, 2008

1933 - A New Beginning for Greenfield Village

According to the book 'A Home For Our Heritage':
"The public, notified by...articles in the nation's periodicals, knew well that Henry Ford had something going on behind his brick walls. The few curious passersby a day grew to about 400 a day early in the 1930's. By the late spring of 1933, however,
a curious public had swelled to nearly 1000. To turn this many people away simply amounted to bad public relations. ...The following recommendations were made...: To operate Greenfield Village in a manner that will permit the visitor to feel as if he or she had been transported back a few years...it should be arranged that they are not herded through in groups with a guide having a set 'lingo' which becomes monotonous and detracts from the true atmosphere of the historic town. Visitors should be charged admission, adults 25 cents, children 10 cents."

The book speaks on how there should be craftsmen in the respective shops, an old-time hotel keeper at the Clinton Inn, articles and crafts made right there in the village for sale, and food available for the patrons to eat.

It seems, however, that plans to eventually open the Village up to the public were in mind at least a year earlier for, in the summer of 1932, construction began on the Village gates, a visiting room, and public restrooms.
The following year, the "gatehouse" (as it was called) was ready to accept its first patron to pass through into the streets of the past.

On June 22, 1933, the first public visitors entered what would eventually become "America's Greatest History Attraction," welcoming over a million customers a year by the end of the century.


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