Greenfield Village

People in the 1930s must have thought Henry Ford crazy. Here he was, moving all these old, useless buildings near his factory. Why would he move his old house to this place? Or the Wright brothers’ shop? Or an old saw mill?

We certainly are thankful that his forward thinking gave us Greenfield Village. We thought we’d explore for the morning and return home before the heat of the day. Hindsight says we were crazy. We had no idea how big this place was. We arrived about 9:30 in the morning, and started exploring the farm houses. We learned about old weaving techniques, pottery making, printing by way of printing press, tin shaping, and glass blowing, all done by museum workers, some dressed to the part, others not. I was amazed how creative they had to get to make things… and how we now-a-days couldn’t do what they did. For instance, a water-powered mill. You’d have to get so many approvals from the government. For instance, a building permit for the mill. A permit to dam a river/creek/stream for the water. A permit for the business of milling. Back then, they just did it.

The roundhouse and trains came next. Some of the wrenches they have to use are as long as my arm. The turntable was huge… and a 6-year old could push it with a train on it, it was so perfectly balanced. Stopping it wasn’t quite as easy. The engines were huge. After the train area, it was lunch time.

We moved on the the downtown area after lunch. The afore-mentioned Ford Farmhouse was bigger than it looked from the outside. Fun fact: Mr. and Mrs. Ford (Henry’s parents) slept in separate bedrooms so Mr. wouldn’t wake Mrs. when he went to work on the farm! Next door was the workshop of the Wrights. The bikes took up most of the space. Where the gliders where build was simply a small addition
off the back. Another Fun Fact: Only 65 years after the Wrights flew, Neil Armstrong was on the moon. That’s some fast inventing!

After a stop in the Milliners (the hatter wasn’t mad, if you were wondering), we moved on to the town square, a bit before the start of 1859 baseball. We tried out some stilts while I waited for the start of the game. Some interesting rules: the hitter’s plate wasn’t where you scored, the base was a pole, and there were no foul balls. Oh, and you had to hit the runner with the ball to put him out. I didn’t care, it was almost baseball, and it was fun. We finished the day off by watching a production featuring music by George Gershwin.

Yes, Mr. Ford, you were crazy. Crazy smart. Except for one thing. Why does every car need to be black?

Workers (and work) done using period clothing and equipment

Workers (and work) done using period clothing and equipment

Some job?

Some job?

Pretty scene at Greenfield Village

Pretty scene at Greenfield Village

Creative bridge picture

Creative bridge picture

Learning about looms

Learning about looms

Punchcards for an 1800's Loom

Punchcards for an 1800's Loom

Abstract view of a clay processing filter

Abstract view of a clay processing filter

Lots of photogenic buildings

Lots of photogenic buildings

Inside an early sawmill

Inside an early sawmill

Basically a big jigsaw blade - look at the size of those teeth!

Basically a big jigsaw blade - look at the size of those teeth!

They let a Chevy in?

They let a Chevy in?

Interior of a machine shop. Note power distribution by belts and pulleys.

Interior of a machine shop. Note power distribution by belts and pulleys.

A participant in an early 'ride your bike to work' program?

A participant in an early 'ride your bike to work' program?

Roundhouse

Roundhouse

Roundhouse interior

Roundhouse interior

Support for the big trains

Support for the big trains

In his spare time, Honest Abe owned a jewelry store

In his spare time, Honest Abe owned a jewelry store

The girls pose at the Milliners (maker of womens hats)

The girls pose at the Milliners (maker of womens hats)

Self explanatory

Self explanatory

Picturesque farm

Picturesque farm

$5/ea to ride in one of several Model T's.

$5/ea to ride in one of several Model T's.

I want this to be said about our family.

I want this to be said about our family.

Town clock

Town clock

Had these as a kid and didn't forget how to use them

Had these as a kid and didn't forget how to use them

Harrison figured them out

Harrison figured them out

Storybird... not so much.

Storybird... not so much.

MsBoyink gets it going in a dress

MsBoyink gets it going in a dress

Anywhere there's baseball, there's Harrison

Anywhere there's baseball, there's Harrison

Little colored spaceships with green tunnels to the ground.

Little colored spaceships with green tunnels to the ground.

Not an actual historic church, just a model.

Not an actual historic church, just a model.

Storybird was determined to hear the top of the hour chimes.

Storybird was determined to hear the top of the hour chimes.

2 Comments Greenfield Village

  1. Picture of BoyinkBoyinkJuly 31, 2012

    Why does a man, in his mid 50’s, take great pains to re-create the farmhouse of his teens?  Especially when he left there at 16 to leave farmwork behind for something he liked better?

    Why does a man offer 2x the pay of other companies, but then have 50 investigators on staff to make sure they were living a life he approved of?

    Henry Ford is an interesting puzzle, to be sure. 

    I was awed by the number of different interests he had. It made me wonder if I was being too narrow-minded in what I found interesting in this world.  Of course I don’t have quite same financial resources he had to back his curiosity.

  2. Picture of StorybirdStorybirdJuly 31, 2012

    I enjoyed cheering my brother on in the baseball game. However I would have liked to join in. I knew I shouldn’t have worn a dress for more than an hour….

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