Milford, MI - Events of Thursday, August 25, to Friday, August 26, 2011
It was about a four-hour drive from Traverse City to our next stop in Milford, MI where we stayed at Camp Dearborn. Camp Dearborn is a 626-acre park that is run by the city of Dearborn. It was opened in 1948 and it was known as "the citizens' country club."
Camp Dearborn has a campground that includes full-hookup RV sites, electric-only sites, no-hookup tent sites, and cabin and tent rentals. There is also a canteen that has a fairly extensive snack menu and several lakes and ponds for swimming, fishing and paddle boats. There is a mini-golf course and a full-size 18-hole golf course.
The roads and RV pads in Camp Dearborn are paved, and the sites are grassy and fairly widely spaced. The photo below shows our site at Camp Dearborn.
Most of the full-hookup sites have full sun while the electric-only and tent sites have shade. Unfortunately for pet lovers, Camp Dearborn has a "no pets" policy. Except for traffic noise during the day (our site was fairly close to the road) and some noisy neighbors who showed up a few sites away from us toward the end of our stay, the campground was fairly quiet.
The next photo shows the view down the road from our site.
We had several things we wanted to do while staying in Milford, so with the skys clearing the evening before, we headed into Dearborn the next morning to visit Greenfield Village. Greenfield Village and the Henry Ford Museum together were formerly known as the Edison Institute. Today, they are known simply as The Henry Ford. The Henry Ford also includes an IMAX Theater and serves as the departure point for a factory tour of the nearby Rouge Complex which contains 6 Ford factories including one that manufactures Ford trucks.
We planned to visit both the museum and the village, but since the weather was nice, we went to Greenfield Village first. We'll have more about the Henry Ford Museum in an upcoming post.
Admission to the village is $22 ($21 for seniors over 62), and admission for the museum is $15 ($14 for seniors). There are combo tickets available for $32 ($30 for seniors), but the campground has combo tickets available at an even better price of $24. Not only that, but when we were at the ticket window exchanging the vouchers we got at the campground for regular tickets, Paul overheard the people at other ticket windows being asked if they drove there. When they said they did, there was an extra $5 charge for parking. We were not charged the additional parking fee.
The Edison Institute was originally dedicated in 1929. It was named for Thomas Edison who was a friend of Henry Ford. Ford wanted to show how Americans lived and worked since the founding of the country. There are almost 100 buildings that were moved from their original locations to Dearborn and arranged in a village-like setting.
Entry to the village is by way of the Josephine Ford Fountain, named for Henry Ford's granddaughter.
In addition to walking, there are several other ways to get around Greenfield Village. The Weiser Railroad travels around the perimeter of the village, and there are three stops. Tickets are $4, or you can buy an all-day pass good for all rides and transportation for $10.
The horse-drawn omnibus makes several stops around the village. Omnibus rides are only available on the all-day pass.
You can also ride a restored Model T for $4 (also included in the all-day pass), but the Model Ts make no stops along their designated route. We considered getting all-day ride passes, but since the stops of the various means of transportation were limited, we decided to walk.
Greenfield Village is so big it's almost overwhelming. It took us a while to get oriented and to come up with a plan of how to see as much as possible. The village is divided into several areas with different themes. Once we realized that, and once we decided to walk rather than try to figure out transportation routes and stops, it made our navigation a little easier.
The first area inside the entrance is called Working Farms. This area includes displays of soybean research, farm equipment, and the farm home belonging to the parents of Harvey Firestone. Harvey Firestone was the founder of Firestone Tire and Rubber and a friend of Henry Ford. The home was built in 1828 near Columbiana, OH.
The Firestone farm is set up as a working farm where sheep and vegetables are raised. There was a cooking demonstration going on in the kitchen.
In the basement, we had just missed the demonstration of cutting cabbage to make sauerkraut. Also in the basement was the fruit cellar where root crops, canned goods, hams and cheese were stored.
Next, we came to an area of the village called Liberty Craftworks where there are several mills and shops that demonstrate old time crafts. In the next photo, Paul is checking out some of the lumber stored outside the Spofford Sawmill.
Some of the buildings in Greenfield Village are original, some are reconstructions using components from original buildings, and others are total reconstructions. The Spofford Sawmill above is reconstructed using some of the components that came from the Spofford Sawmill originally located in Georgetown, MA.
The Weaving Shop in the next photo was moved to Greenfield Village from Georgia, and it is mostly original. The lower floor, however, was intended to be open to allow access for horses to the drive mechanism for the cotton gin located on the enclosed, upper floor. The lower floor was left open for a time after relocating the building to Greenfield Village, and it was later enclosed and now houses looms where various fabrics and rugs are woven.
The Pottery Shop shown below was built in Greenfield Village in the 1930s. Numerous potters work inside creating clay pots, mugs, jugs and tiles. Like most of the Greenfield Village crafts, the pottery is for sale in the Liberty Craftworks Store.
We particularly enjoyed a demonstration of tin smithing in the Tin Shop. Back in the day, the tin smith would have used a charcoal fire to heat his soldering irons; but for reasons of fire safety, they now use a direct flame from an alcohol burner. Alcohol doesn't burn at a high enough temperature to melt solder, so the smithy uses a blow pipe to increase the airflow to the flame and increase its temperature.
We also watched a fascinating demonstration of glass blowing. The artisans use 19th century techniques, but they enjoy the use of 20th century furnaces.
After spending a good bit of time in the Liberty Craftworks area watching numerous craft demonstrations, we made our way to the adjacent area, which is called Railroad Junction. Railroad Junction has an 1884 roundhouse from Marshall, MI.
Workers in the roundhouse service the rolling stock and locomotives used at Greenfield Village.
Near the roundhouse is a scaled-down reproduction of the Edison Illuminating Company Station A from Detroit where Henry Ford worked as a steam engineer in the 1890s. Power plants like this one helped light entire communities.
From Railroad Junction, we headed to Main Street, which is the heart of Greenfield Village. We'll tell you about Main Street and the rest of our visit to Greenfield Village in our next post.