Showing posts from December, 2008

Edison Illuminating Company

The Edison Illuminating Company Station "A" was one of the first establishment to provide electricity to the homes and businesses of the City of Detroit, from its opening in 1886 until 1900. Coal burning boilers drove steam engines which were connected to dynamos on the second floor. It was in this power plant that Henry Ford, who worked here from 1891 to 1899, made $40 a month as an engineer. While working here, Ford spent his spare time working on his idea for a gasoline-powered car - the eventual 'Quadricycle'. When a Beck engine broke down, Ford repaired it by rebuilding the cross-head and putting on additional supports to keep it from twisting and breaking. Because of this successful job, he was made machinist for the company and, on November 16, 1893, he was made Chief Engineer. While acting in that capacity, he was chosen to attend the company's annual convention in 1896 in New York, where he first met Thomas Edison. Built as a one quarter scale replica in

Miller School

This wood frame building is a replica of the Miller School, of which Henry Ford attended from 1872 to 1874. The original stood in Springwells Township on Chicago Road (now Michigan Avenue or US 12) - more than two miles from his home - where Ford's instructor at the Scotch Settlement School , John Brainard Chapman, was transferred. Mr. Ford changed schools at the same time to remain with his favorite teacher. It was here that Ford and his classmates constructed a steam turbine, a waterwheel, and a forge to make castings. And the time period this school represents were of the days of paddles, dunce caps, and wood stoves. This replica is actually a copy of the second Miller School. The first was a log cabin built in the 1830's. I am not sure when the building that Ford attended was built, but all accounts say it was torn down around the turn of the 20th century. This replica was built inside of Greenfield Village in 1943. Unfortunately, the school is not open to the general publ

Mattox Family Home (formerly known as Mattox House)

The Mattox house was originally thought to have been constructed during the pre-Civil War days on the Cottenham Plantation near Ways, Georgia, but was found to have been built in the late re-construction era of the 1880's. It was the home of several generations of the Mattoxes, an African-American family. Unfortunately, most of the information I have of this home is no longer correct since the discovery of its true age. What I do have shows how this family lived during the early part of the 20th century: Amos Mattox worked many jobs during the Great Depression to take care of his family. He was a farmer, a barber, a shoemaker, and a preacher. It was this type of resourcefulness and hard work that made it possible for the family to own and maintain this house and the land it set upon. Amos' wife, Grace, also worked, but her work helped to provide for the less fortunate in her neighborhood. The Mattoxes were not a well-to-do family, and this home is typical of the many southern r

Cider Mill (formerly known as Martinsville Cider Mill)

This cider mill is a replicated 19th century mill that was constructed inside of Greenfield Village in 1942 to conform with the 19th century cider making machinery Henry Ford had in his collection. Demonstrations of pressing apples into cider took place here every fall for many years up until recently. Sweet and hard cider, as well as cider vinegar, were important orchard byproducts essential to the economy of rural communities. In the 1800's, farmers could haul their apples to cider mills like this one to have them ground and pressed into cider. The cider making equipment in this building came from a mill in Martinsville, Michigan. Cider was the most popular drink of the 19th century. A country scene: The train and the cider mill .

George Washington Carver Cabin (formerly known as George Washington Carver Memorial and Carver Memorial)

In the spring of 1942, workers completed a memorial to another man for whom Henry Ford had tremendous respect and admiration - agricultural chemist George Washington Carver. The small log structure the workers built was based on Carver's own memories of his Diamond Grove, Missouri plantation birthplace. Carver, who was born into slavery around 1860, visited Ford in July of 1942 and spent a few days in the cabin. It would only be six months later that Carver would pass away. Dr. Carver was well-known for his experiments with the peanut, sweet potatoes, soybeans. and pecans, and he advocated and taught crop rotation which helped the poor farmers, who previously farmed only cotton, to grow a variety of crops. In doing this, Carver vastly improved the economy of the southern states. The Carver Memorial was a part of the group of buildings that recognized the progress of black Americans from slavery through world recognition. Once again, I apologize for the lack of inside photos. I will

Susquehanna Plantation (formerly known as Susquehanna House)

(The pictures herein reflect the home as it is presented now, showing life here in the 1850's and 1860's) Welcome to the Carroll Home! The Susquehanna Plantation from Maryland has a long and interesting history to it - not just in itself but while inside of Greenfield Village as well. The house was tagged to be razed by the U.S. Navy. As quoted from a 2005 Baltimore Sun newspaper article: The Navy was taking over what had been the crossroads of Cedar Point; eviction notices were tacked to front doors, with some owners given 30 days to leave. Samuel Young, who lived in Michigan, had bought Susquehanna at the behest of his late wife, a St. Mary's County native, King said. When they were told to leave, Young offered the home to Henry Ford. Young apparently told Ford of the property's connection to Christopher Rousby ( an affluent colonial tax collector of the 17th century) and life in Maryland a century before the American Revolution. The house could be F