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World Perspective

To get and idea of just what was going on in the world and Michigan, before during and after Edsel and Eleanor built their Estate on Haven Hill, we put together this Time-line. We hope this gives you a better understanding of the amazing things taking place just about everywhere.

We have added things like the Great Depression and some of Edsel’s fathers activities, so everyone can truly grasp what had taken place up to the purchasing of all the land in White Lake Twp., to the selling of the Estate, after Edsels death. We hope this Chart helps give all of you a better understanding of it all.

WORLDCHARTFORD

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Since all of our Publications will FINALLY be released in 2013, we are showing off a number of things from these Books and Guides. We are starting with a condensed version of the History of Haven Hill and Highland recreation Area.

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This two page History sheets, starts in the late 1800s and will take you to the present day. Remember that this is the shortened version, so we only cover the highlights, starting with some of the earliest Settlers in the White Lake area, and take you to a time after the Fords had sold their Estate on Haven Hill, to what is now the Department of Natural Resources, who created Highland Recreation area, shortly there after.

You can download these History sheets at the Link below. For a truly fun packed afternoon, may we suggest that you download these History sheets and the two Maps available from both this Blog and the web site, and then head out to the Park.

DOWNLOAD THE CONDENSED HISTORY SHEETS HERE:

Take a Hike/Exploration tour of what remains of the Ford Estate on Haven Hill. head back down the Hill and enjoy a break and some Picnic Lunch at the meadows Picnic area. From there, head over to the Dam on Haven Hill Lake and follow the trails around the Lake and through the main grounds of the state designated Natural area that surrounds Haven Hill Lake.

HavenHill-LOGO2 copyYou will not forget this afternoon for quite some time. The combination of Nature and History, with a relaxing break in-between at Haven Hill Lake, will be so packed with something for everyone, you will not soon forget it. Definitely bring your Camera along!

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If you want to explore History on your own, then head out to Highland Recreation area, and visit the Edsel Ford Estate on Haven Hill. Built in the late 1920s, by the only son of Henry Ford, Edsel and Eleanor Ford raised their family on this once huge Estate.

The entire Estate makes up what is now the whole eastern side of Highland Recreation area, from Duck Lake rd. to Ford rd. This was an enormous Estate with full working Farm, Lodge, Carriage house, Pool, Gardens/Fountain. The small creek running through the property was dammed to form Haven Hill lake. These days, the property surrounding the lake is a state designated “Natural Area”.

The main house on Haven Hill, known as the Lodge. Burned down in 1999

The Lodge burned down in 1999, but the foundations remain. The Carriage house, Pool, Kennels, Toboggan run, Fountain/Gardens, Tennis Court and remnants of the gigantic Green Barn, still remain to be examined and explored.

The Carriage house. This was the Ford’s Drivers home and kids playhouse.

There is much still hidden in the surrounding forests of Haven Hill. The Ford family’s private Nature Trails, Horse riding rest stops, Ornamental Ponds and many other features at the Estate, now buried in the foliage there.

The Pool and Tennis Court is now buried in the surrounding forest.

At this time of year, the thick forest and undergrowth has died back and so much more can be seen of the Estate and it’s hidden features. Wander off the main trails and explore what maybe few people have seen. Keep your eyes open because there is also much wildlife in the rolling hills there. Some of the highest points in Oakland county are here on the designated Historic, and Natural areas of the Park.

The Farmhouse and Horse Stable, now being used for Park Maintenance.

The Green Barn. Most has been blown down over the last few years.

I suggest you head over to our web site set up to study the Estate for the last 4 years now. On this web site you will find the History of the area, Historical Maps, Estate and Ford family details, and much more to get you started on a wonderful afternoon of Historical and Nature filled explorations.      http://www.havenhillproject.org/

One of three free maps available on the Haven Hill Project web site. These maps are very detailed and are great exploration guides of the entire Park. GPSed multiple times, the maps indicate the Estate features, as well as the modern Trail signs and much more. The drawing above are renditions of what the Estate’s structures looked like in their prime, in the late 1920s.

Highland Recreation area is one of the more unique Parks in Southeastern Michigan. Mainly because so much of it dates back so far and remains unspoiled.

The old Ford Lodge at HAVEN HILL. Only the foundations remain

Like the Haven Hill estate built by Edsel Ford in the late 1920s, and the designated Natural Area that surrounds the Dammed Haven Hill lake Edsel formed when he first purchased the land.

The Ford Fountain area. Secluded and peaceful setting.

The Ford Pool. Now appears to be in the middle of the forest.

Much of what is now Highland Recreation area was either part of the Edsel Ford Estate or the Dodge Brothers hunting retreat, or was just old family Farmsteads. All these parcels of land eventually came together to form Highland Recreation area. Most have not seen anything else but original Homesteading since the late 1800s, until they where either  purchased or donated to the state of Michigan to eventually form the Park.

 

The diversity of habitats and the huge differences of micro environments due to the ever rolling hills that make up the Park, have produced some of the most unique settings of any Park in S.E. Michigan. Many of the highest points in S.E.MI. are in the Park itself.

The Park is also home to many, many natural Springs. These Springs, along with the changing elevations, again, have formed some micro ecosystems that support many different kinds of plants and animals.

The Ford Estate Dog Kennels

If you are looking for a truly diverse Nature experience, or want some Natural History that dates back to the earliest Homesteads, or want to experience some of the lifestyles of Edsel Ford and his family at what was their Estate, then Highland Recreation is your destination.

Although it is always beautiful at Haven Hill in Highland Recreation area, no matter what time of year, Fall is the most special of times for exploring the history there. After much of the thick foliage and ground cover has dies off, there is much to be reviled.

Right now is a perfect time at Haven Hill. There are still some very colorful trees with leaves on them, but enough of the thick ground cover has gone away to expose much of the old forgotten Nature Trails and historical features that get swallowed in the Spring and Summer months.

We suggest you download the two maps we offer here on the Blog, and also head over to the Haven Hill Project web site, and get an idea of some of the historical sites you would like to visit on your Fall Colors exploration tour. The Colors happening in the far west end of the old Ford private Nature Trails are just spectacular! Or if you are really energetic……take the long 5 mile journey, all the way around Haven Hill lake and through the heart of the Haven Hill Natural Area. Again……you will experience some of the very best Fall colors anywhere in S.E.Michigan.

No matter what you end up doing at Haven Hill at this time of year, the lack of thick cover, no insects or Skeeters, and the combination of history and Nature will make for just a wonderful afternoon Fall experience you will not soon forget.

See you all out on the Trails at Haven Hill, Highland Recreation area!

Highland Recreation area and especially the Natural area surrounding Haven Hill can be a delight to Hike and explore. But at this time of year you need to have a few precautions in mind.

The area is flourishing with Poison Ivy. This little bugger just loves the soil and ecosystems there and grows both on the ground and vines up many trees along the trails. Precaution is the best way to deal with Poison Ivy. Be aware of just how this plant looks and eventually being able to spot it, will become second nature. It is worth the learning effort.

The other precaution to take while enjoying a hike around the Haven Hill area, are Ticks. They have become plentiful not only here at Highland Recreation area, but through out the state. DEET and other repellents can help, but checking yourself and your clothing after a Hike is one of the best ways to not walk away from an adventure at the Park, carrying Ticks. This means your Doggie friends too.

Here is a good reference and ID sheet for Ticks in Michigan. Again….just a bit of learning here and some prevention can give you a Tick free hike and a much more enjoyable time at the Park.

TICKS ID & PREVENTION SHEETS

In preparations for this Saturdays Natural area HIKE with Hiking Michigan, out at Highland Recreation area, Rich & Chris, Trail Leaders for the HIKE, went on a couple of picture pre-hikes in the area.

Beautiful as always, in any season, the Natural area showed all the signs of getting ready to Spring alive. Tiny sprouts, Lilly-pad blooms underwater and snails clinging to the edges of the Haven Hill lake Dam. With all the warm rain and extra warm temps. scheduled this week, it is hard to say just what will be blooming through out the Natural area, this Saturday at the HIKE.

Rich & Chris have a lovely route selected for us that circles back through sections of the old Ford Estate on Haven Hill. So it will be a day of Nature & History at Haven Hill, Highland Recreation area, Saturday, 3/17/12, starting at 12noon and meeting at the Circle parking area. If we get lucky…..Haven Hill expert Darrin, will be on hand for questions and to share some of his extensive knowledge of the history and foliage of Haven Hill.

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