Showing posts from January, 2009

Pere Marquette Railroad Turntable

A significant addition to the Greenfield Village railroad system, this 1901 Armstrong turntable from Petoskey, Michigan allows locomotives and railroad cars to be turned around to run in the opposite direction. It was built by the Detroit Bridge and Iron Works, but is balanced so well that one person using muscle-power alone can turn a load weighing up to 140 tons. .

Daggett Farmhouse (formerly known as Saltbox House, Connecticut Saltbox House, Wells House, and Dana Wells House)

From its inception through the 1940's, Greenfield Village consistently expanded itself in size and scope with the continual addition of historic structures. But, once Doctor Howard's office was placed there, a span of over 20 years went by before another old house found its way into the open-air museum (not including the Herschell-Spillman Carousel). It was in 1977 that antiquarian, Mary Dana Wells donated a saltbox house, complete with most of the colonial furnishings she collected, as well as an endowment fund to maintain it, to the Edison Institute to be placed in Greenfield Village. The old home was originally brought to Mrs. Wells attention by way of a Mr. George Watson, an employee/architect of Old Sturbridge Village , located in Massachusetts. That open-air museum could not use a 1750 saltbox due to it not being appropriate to their 1790 to 1840 span of collections. Mrs. Wells had much of the '19th century updates' removed in her own restoration project and fo

Herschell-Spillman Carousel

At one time, Greenfield Village created a wonderful little Victorian-style amusement park they called Suwanee Park that included an ice cream parlor, an arcade building that had original fully-restored and operating game machines, most of which were once used in the old amusement parks on the east coast, and the merry-go-round known originally as the Herschell-Spillman Carousel. Built in 1913 in New York and put into an amusement park in Liberty Lake, Washington, this sights and sounds reminder of days gone by still whirls to the music of an ornate bandwagon. Since it was brought to Greenfield Village in 1973, thousands of children (and adults) have chosen to mount one of the exquisitely carved animals, chariots, or one of the other collection of the carousel's menagerie, most original to this carousel. What was nice about this Victorian park setting was that it was a good area for taking a rest on a bench, or have a picnic on the lawn, feed the fish in the pond, or watch the stea

Steam Locomotive Train Rides

From 1969 through the early 1970's, major maintenance of existing facilities inside the Village, including the addition of new facilities and a new progressive way of presenting and educating the public, took precedence. Greenfield Village became the recipient of a $20 million dollar capital improvement and endowment grant from the Ford Foundation and the Ford Motor Company fund, and this gave them the opportunity for such improvements. One of the improvements included the construction of a perimeter railroad. Completed by the 1974 season, several steam locomotives are now operated in Greenfield Village, including the popular Torch Lake . Built in 1873, Torch Lake is the oldest continuously running locomotive in the United States, encircling the Village daily from April though September. There are numerous stops throughout its perimeter run where the passengers can load or disembark at the pointed locations. Also, many years before the planning stages of such a ride Henry Ford want

Dr. Howard's Office

This simple Greek Revival structure began as a one-room schoolhouse , built in 1839 in the rural town of Tekonsha, Michigan. It was warmer than most as it was built with 'nogging' - that is, rough bricks placed between the interior and exterior wooden walls to provide insulation, as well as protection against fire and infestation from rodents. In 1840, the Howard family, including 17 year old Alonson, migrated to Tekonsha from upstate New York and established a farm they called Windfall that was located just behind the schoolhouse, hence the original name of the school - Windfall School. Folks that remembered Howard recalled a gruff, outspoken individual who got into medical practice because of his friendship with the Pottawatomies of the nearby Indian reservation. They taught him the use of herbs and roots in treating illnesses, and he learned to concoct many of the remedies himself. After he had practiced "doctorin'" in this fashion for several years, he earned