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.