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Posts Tagged ‘Michigan History’

Recently, I have had the same conversation with many different people. That conversation is all about watching after our Heritage and Natural resources. Not just ignoring bad behaviour while out on the Trails, or in a Historical setting.

One of the biggest things destroying Haven Hill, besides the years of neglect from the State DNR, is Vandalism of all sorts. I am not just talking about Punks, spray painting the Carriage House or Pump House. I mean stuff like crawling on the roof of the Carriage House to cut away the copper flashing around the Fireplace for scrapping money.

Then there are the the Metal Detector people. It is illegal to use these devices absolutely anywhere on the state designated Historical areas. Which means the entire Hill-top and surround hill-sides +. These people digging up even door hinges that were hand-made for all the different Doors at the Estate, are just plain STEALING from all of us.

DO NOT HESITATE to report thieves and Criminals like these. Take their pictures, and maybe walk back to the Parking lot and take down their license plate numbers. These criminals that are stealing from all of us, including our children and future generations, deserve Jail time. Their thinking only includes themselves, and no one else. That is how they should be treated in return.

If we all do not watch out for our Historical places and special grounds, there will be nothing left for others. DO NOT be afraid to report these people. They are quickly destroying many of the Historically unique places at Haven Hill. And then there will be nothing.

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OK…..here we have the 1909 Survey Platt map of White Lake Twp. and what was to be eventually the Ford Estate and then Highland Recreation Area. In 1909 the area was all still mostly private lands, held by some of the original Homesteaders and a couple of small Investment Groups. The Investment Groups used their holdings for a number of things, from private Hunting preserves, to Logging and other interests.

The still private lands were mostly Farmed out by this point, although there where still some on-gong family Homestead/Farms in existence. The last of the Native Americans in the area were located in the far southeast corner of what would be the eventual Ford Estate.

Hunting was pretty good around the Haven Hill area because of the many natural springs and Cedar Creek which flowed steady year round. At the time of this 1909 Map, Cedar creek flowed unhampered west to east, until it dumped into Cedar Lake on the far southeast corner of the Map. Beatty Lake was part of this watershed as well, and was also part of the purchases made by the Ford family when the Estate was being established.

Milford,MI1909

Download a printable version of this 1909 map here:

Ford representatives would not start purchasing lands in the area for another 10 or so years yet, and when they did start buying lands, they did so secretly under a trust company, as not to show the locals just who was buying up the land in the area. Knowing that the Ford family was purchasing land in White Lake would have driven up the price of these individual parcels tremendously. And with so many different owners of so many individual parcels, the costs for just what Edsel ended up buying, would have been outrageous.

In the 1920s after all the land purchases where complete, and the Boundaries you see indicated on the 1909 Map, in red, the first thing Edsel got working on was the Huge undertaking of Damming up Cedar creek and forming what is still, Haven Hill Lake. It took much more then just the Dam to produce this Lake. Look closely at the new Map of the Estate/park and notice just how many Empoundments were also created to be able to form the Lake and hold back all the flowing waters of Cedar creek. It was an enormous undertaking.

HavenHillTrailsMap

Download the modern Highland recreation Park Map here;

Print out the two Maps we have here and head out to the Park and EXPLORE. Some of the small ponds and Lakes still exist. Some of the flowing smaller creeks around cedar creek are still in place. Others have dried up or vanished completely. Notice on the 1909 Platt Map, that there are small black squares. These black squares indicate old Homes and Farms, or buildings of some sort. Most are gone now, but with some investigating and exploring you can still find the remnants of these structures. Foundations, old fence lines and Farm implements appear in the middle of what is Forests now.

Remember as you explore and discover, that you should leave what you find, where you find it. This is a Historical area, and these places are protected by state law. Just your integrity should stop you from disturbing these historical places and items. leave them for others to also discover. Just maybe eventually some real Historical work will take place at Highland and these places will serve great purposes in revealing what once was, at Haven Hill. Please be respectful here. I cannot emphasize this enough. If you see Vandals or people with Metal detectors, please either stop them, take their pictures and report them. There has been much lost at Highland to self centered thieves and treasure hunters, looking for something for themselves.

We print these maps and give everyone this information because History is an important part of all of our lives. Lets all pull together and stop the few from ruining that for all of us now and for future generations.

Staircase copy

Enjoy the discoveries……Have Fun with the Explorations……decipher what you have found…..and then

leave it where you found it, for others to discover. You are exploring an area over 104 years old since the original Platt Map above was first produced.

As a challenge…..see if you can find these amazing stairs, built right into the side of a Hill on what once was the Ford families private Nature Trail system. The staircase is a wonderful place. There is much more to be discovered around these stairs, so look closely at what might be hiding in the underbrush. Sit for awhile and imagine what the area would have looked like some 90 years or so ago, when the Fords created their Estate.

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We will be announcing the release of some very special Maps for Haven Hill and the entire Ford Estate. This special edition maps will be released in varied sizes and printed on Archival, heavy stock papers. Years worth of mapping, research and GPSing went into these special maps.

In the next month, we will also be releasing a paperback version and hopefully the hardcover version of our COMPLETE HISTORY book of Haven Hill. Various politics and silliness has delayed the release of this already complete and published book. We will have more details announcements shortly, on both the various Maps and Book release. Stay tuned.

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We have updated one of our main maps that covers the entire eastern side of Highland Recreation area. This whole east side of the Park, was the old Edsel Ford Estate. The updated map has been re-GPSed, and all the various Park Trail signs are also indicated on the map.

The Estate buildings and infrastructure is well marked on this new map, so exploring on your own can be done. We hope this map will enthuse many of you to go out to Haven Hill and wander the old Estate and the Haven Hill Natural area as well. Have fun in this great combination of history % nature in one setting.

DOWNLOAD THE NEW PARK MAP HERE:

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The Fall season is the very best of times to explore the Edsel Ford Estate at Haven Hill. With the ground cover dieing back and the foliage falling away, much that was hidden by the summers growth is now reveled.

Sign posts, foundations, fence lines and old structures appear almost out of no where with the leaves falling. So download a updated Map from the HAVEN HILL PROJECT web site, do a little studying, and then wait a bit as the leaves start to fall. Then head out to the Estate and do some of the best historical exploring you will experience in almost any place in Michigan.

This is also a great time to hike the Natural Area loop, around Haven Hill lake. Edsel Ford did much around the Dam area at the lake, so keep your eyes open for signs of family activity there. Look for Hiking Michigan to sponsor another Fall HISTORY HIKE this year again. Sometime in October there will be announcements. This is a Fall Tour you should not miss.

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Great time to head out to Haven Hill at Highland Recreation area. The Natural area’s main trail, around the north side of the Dam is starting to come into bloom with the many wild flowers and plants that grow there. The many different habitats mean there are many different kinds of plants and flowers in this part of the Park.

Download one of the maps from the web site and take a journey around Haven Hill lake and enjoy the Spring blooms. Circle back through the ruins at Haven Hill Lodge. It is much easier to see and understand the Estate at this time of year, due to the lack of thick tree cover and ground foliage. A wonderful way to spend a Spring afternoon.

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Haven Hill is like a mystery puzzle. years worth of studying and all the pieces are still not in place. The Ford family are secretive with their family information. As would most of us be as well. Have Hill Estate was Edsil & Eleanor’s place to raise their children, and the family has protected this place very well.

New pieces to the puzzle come in all the time, from all types of sources. Recently we received some great new pieces to the puzzle from Claude. We would like to thank Claude immensely for his contributions of information. New pieces to the puzzle are not always new info, but can also be info that further confirms existing analysis or enlarges existing thought.

We welcome all information on Haven Hill. We try and share this info on our various on-line sites. (website, Facebook page, WordPress Blog, and You-Tube videos) Please feel free to contact us with any information about the Haven Hill section of Highland recreation area. This can not only be Ford family info, but also early settlers, Native presence, Foliage and fauna of the Natural area……anything. There is just so much going on at Haven Hill, in both Historical and Natural surroundings, that the puzzle gets bigger and bigger.

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