Archive for January, 2010

How do you present History. Do you put it on a stand, with lights all around and a band playing? Or do you show it in a manner as close to it’s original form and place as possible? We have stressed this in many posts here at HHP. Part of a Historical object or place, is it’s surroundings. Remove those surroundings or remove the object from it’s place, and much is lost. So how do you present and preserve what remains at Haven Hill? Our opinion is…..at the lowest profile as possible. No Bells & whistles. Do not yank out what remains and put it on a pedestal for display, nor turn the place into a circus, with observation towers, Plexiglas enclosures in the middle of the grounds, or large poles and new surrounding buildings to exhibit the estate. It is much more Historical, educational and presentable to show what IS there with out it becoming a Circus. There are so many low profile means in preserving while showing the History there and keeping the Natural environment solid, all at the same time. New technologies, low-voltage lighting and equipment, preservation means that keep objects where they are, and by no means add modern additions to existing historical structures there. Is’nt that against our own state Historical codes?

Take the proposed Gate house-Information Center. Sorry…that just does not mix. Since this building has already been removed from it’s original location, the best that should be done is the restoration of it, to it’s original form. Since we are already at the Park entrance, and have newer buildings there, another greeting, gift shop building would not harm anything and keep all the new stuff in that building and at the bottom of the Hill away from the main Historical area and away from the Natural world that has grown there. If anyone would want to touch this gate house with additional stories, maybe a built in Pool, Tennis courts, Basketball courts, etc. …what is the point of calling it History. Have all this stuff that doesn’t even resemble the original building so we have a nice place to tell the stories of the original buildings? I am confused by this. Is it History or money making. It should be decided first. Is it for the money, or for the actual History and education of the public. Who own these grounds and buildings anyways. We have entrusted them to the DNR, who we pay to watch after these things for future generations. Which is actually in the DNR’s Mission statement. I am not trying to be snotty here, nor am I being critical, unless of course, these are the plans for the Historical & Natural sites at Highland recreation area. Is there a master plan? Is it to sell History there?

The FRIENDS group at the Park seem to want to preserve and maintain the Historical buildings and places at the park and Haven Hill. Finally someone to the rescue. Yet in some quarters, I have seen drawings and renderings that say that every structure there will be getting a new modern face-lift. What is the actual plans there? Are there State plans? Historical Society plans? DNR plans? Oakland county plans? Who is actually orchestrating all this? Are they going to preserve the Estate and educate the public on the Historical and Natural aspects at the park, or sell it to the public while a few people make a career and a name for themselves. Which is it? Lets watch and see.

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We have been fleshing out the February History Hike at Haven Hill. It will be a three part hike. We will be heading up to the Lodge where we will talk about some of the interesting structures and features on the Ford Estate. Weaving down the back side of the Hill and past the ruins of the Pool, we will make our way to a yet undiscovered dwelling at the back end of the Ford Farm. We believe this building to be a kinda security post for entry on the back access road that came off of Teeple lake road. yes….there is snow on the ground, but we will be looking for signs of this building and any other indications that more took place there. Spring time will tell us more, so this is only the preliminary examinations of this old structure and area.

From our exploration location we will make our way back to the Circle Parking lot, where we will try a little Sledding. The Hill there is gentle, but affords some nice sledding rides. We did some sledding there last year and it was great fun. So that’s how things are shaping up for February. All that’s left is the exact date for the Hike-Exploration-Sledding afternoon. We’ll have that up shortly. There will be no “Tow-ropes” pulling us back up the sledding hills as the Fords had in the picture here. we’ll be visiting that Toboggan run as well when we are at the Lodge. We will announce the Hike date in the next week or so. We are hoping the Friends of Highland Recreation area will be joining in on this afternoon at the Park

Hope to see you all there.

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Nice to See

We where out this last Sunday, exploring and doing more GPS and video work, if that was possible. Do not know if there is a square inch in this section of Highland Recreation area that we have not GSed and fagged in some way, at least 3-4 times now. It is certinly producing some of the most exacting and detailed Maps of this place, ever.

While we where out roaming around we ran into one of the Friends of Highland Recreation area, who was checking on the Carriage house and Estate grounds. How refreshing this was. On a cold winter afternoon, with plenty of Cross-country Skier and Snow shoers around, it was very nice to see a volunteer, not being paid to do so, checking on the safety of the historic structures that still remain on Haven Hill. There has bee some recent vandalizing and even some treasure hunters digging around the grounds looking for things they can remove from OUR park and get money for them selves. Meeting this volunteer, who was there on his own accord, and for no other purpose then to help protect and look after the heritage of all the people of Michigan was a wonderful topper to a great afternoons travels around Haven Hill. Keep up the good work, “Friends of Highland recreation area”. Know there are others who are doing the same things and making sure that the history and natural environments that exist here, will be there for generations to come.

We have added a Link from our Blog to the Friends of Highland Recreation area. Check out some of efforts at Haven Hill.   http://www.friendsofhighlandrec.org

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With the weather not coperating with our wants to finish our measurements and scetches, we have reverted to logging our photos, continued work on the Book, Video and GPS Tours. The maps are a never ending process that will be revised indefinately. We have added a couple of new hands onto the consulting staff that should help out tremendously with some of the backround history.

In February we will be sponsoring a History Hike and sledding gathering at the Hill. We will treat all those who attend to some very interesting finds we have made on the Hill, and afterwards do a little sledding back at the parking area where we will be meeting for the Hike. There are some gentle slopping hills there for some easy sledding for all ages. We’ll have some hot Tea on hand as well. We’ll be announcing the Hike date and times soon.

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