June 20, 2008

Visiting the beautiful estates of Henry and Edsel Ford

After my interview at the Chrysler headquarters, I traveled to the
Henry Ford Estate at Fair Lane in Dearborn, Michigan, where I gave a talk to
some Ford executives about my connection to the Ford family.  I am,
after all, the proud owner of Skylands, Edsel Ford's vacation retreat
in Seal Harbor, Maine. So, after a wonderful tour and after being served
a delicious lunch in the elegant executive dining room, I was thrilled
to motor to Grosse Pointe, Michigan, and walk through the stately home of
Edsel and Eleanor Ford. I must say that there were many things about
the style, architecture, and landscapes of these two wonderful
properties that are reflected in my home in Maine.


The Henry Ford Estate -- it took 500 to 800 men, working seven days a week
for two years to complete construction of this building in 1913.



A beautiful Model T Ford.


The Henry Ford house is an imposing "prairie-style" stone edifice with extraordinary woodwork and leaded windows.


Look at the amazing limestone facades, sandstone embellishments, and both leaded and stained glass windows.


These are such amazing architectural details and a feat of woodworking. I call this type of carpentry "carpenters' joy!"


Here is a garden at the Ford house.


The same "cracked ice" paving was used by Edsel in Maine.


This is a lovely "blue" garden behind the home.


This great lawn stretches into the distance to more gardens.


The peonies were just about to bloom -- they must have been magnificent.


This 29-foot banister in Henry's home was ornately carved from a single walnut tree.


The Henry Ford estate dining room where Ford hosted a delicious lunch for us.


This is a famous quote from Henry Ford.


The bathroom fixtures are all original -- beautiful American-made sinks and toilets and nickel fixtures, just like at Skylands.


Beautifully tiled walls and wooden toilet seats.


Large and comfortable bathtubs


One of the mantles was made at the Wedgwood Pottery in England -- Jasperware in brown and white.


Here I am with Elena Ford, Henry's granddaughter.


Here I am with Gary Rodgers, president of the Henry Ford Estate at Fair Lane.


Trisha Guyot, special events and sales manager; me; and Gail Raby, special events and sales manager of the Henry Ford Estate at Fair Lane


We are now looking at the Edsel Ford house in Grosse Pointe. We
visited this historic sight after lunch for a tour. The thick roof tiles, leaded gutters and downspouts, and fantastic stone work are
the bold features of Edsel's home.


Here I am with Ellie Ford and Lynn Ford Alandt, great-granddaughters of Henry


The park is very impressive -- it is a landscape designed by Jens
Jensen, the renowned "prairie" architect who designed municipal
parks and great estates like this one (and my landscape at Skylands in
1925 when the house was built by Edsel)


More of the park grounds -- sweeping lawns and majestic trees.


The exterior terrace is very beautiful and looks out to Lake St. Clair; there's a 3,000-foot shoreline on the property.


Beautiful awnings are held aloft on wrought iron brackets.


The stone is wonderful sandstone.

A pretty and peaceful pond.


Beautiful limestone roof imported from Europe.


The Fords moved into their home in 1929, after two years of construction.


The pool is 125 feet long and 55 feet wide. It holds 100,000 gallons
of water and has brass fixtures.  It was designed to look as though you
stumbled upon a natural pool of water in the forest.


A lovely reflecting pond -- again with the "cracked ice" stonework.

Edsel's dining room.

The butler's pantry at Edsel Ford Estate.


These refrigerators are much like the ones at Skylands.

This hallway reminds me so much of Skylands.

Edsel and Eleanor Ford to the left and Clara and Henry Ford on the
right. This picture was taken in the Gallery Room at Edsel's estate on
April 11, 1938, celebrating Edsel and Eleanor's wedding anniversary.


Here I am in the playhouse that Edsel built for his daughter,
Josephine. The number 36 represents Detroit Tigers player Barney Mckowski,
whom Josephine adored.