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Posts Tagged ‘White Lake Twp.’

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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I got to Highland around 11am, in the pouring rain. I sat in my car, fielding telephone calls from Hikers who where not coming out in the rain. Didn’t blame them, it had been raining since yesterday night. About 11:30am it let up a bit and I went outside the car and shot a few pictures, that I thought I would use for this rain canceled Hike.

12 noon rolled around and the rain let up to a semi-drizzle and 15 people show up in full rain gear. I was glad I brought mine, and didn’t assume we would cancel on rain. Silly thought on my part……we have NEVER canceled because of rain. :-)

We all headed up Haven Hill and roamed around the Pump-House, Carriage House, Lodge remains, Toboggan Run & Dog Kennel. Mike had all the coordinates for the three USGS Markers on the Hill. We found them all. Also explored some of the light posts that lit the Toboggan run at one time.

From there we headed back down the side of Haven Hill, to the Pool & Tennis court. Always an amazing place to see a huge built-in Pool in the middle of the forest. We went a short distance from there, over to the Fountain area. Another enclosed Ford area, with what was probably a beautiful shallow Fountain in between two small hills in the forest. A quite and natural spot. We talked there about the Estate, the Ford family and some of the details of the infrastructure of the Estate as a whole. A huge system of water pipe, underground electrical conduits and cutting edge Septic system.

We all wandered back to the Circle parking lot and decided to get some food at a local restaurant. Had a great time at the Restaurant. Lots of good laughs and stories. With the long walk and rainy conditions, it produced huge appetites in the Hikers. We ate enormous amounts of food and Deserts.

For what was suppose to be a rain-out Hike, we had an excellent time in unique conditions at Haven Hill. We all stayed pretty dry with our rain coats and hoods. Turned out to be an excellent day.

NOTES: I was appalled at the vandalism and destruction to almost every remaining building and amenity at Haven Hill. Stolen copper flashing from the Carriage house, shroud covering the Toboggan lift stolen, old light poles pulled from the ground, Gang graffiti, and many other things that are adding to the quick deterioration of the entire area. Cannot understand why a number of things are not being done to help keep what is left of the Estate, intact. A person visiting the Estate, even 1 year ago, would hardly recognize what was there before. In a couple of years now, there will only be remains that hardly resembles what was really there. It is a shame at what is happening there, both in Vandalism and lack of proper care.

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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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Finally…….after a number of re-edits, re-formatting and updates, we are in our final draft to the Printers for our first book entitled simply, “HAVEN HILL”, The study of the Edsel & Eleanor Ford estate at Haven Hill. It is what we think are the basics of our almost 2 years of research at Haven Hill, the Edsel Ford estate at Highland recreation area.

It has been a long road to this point, and we have left much out of this first Book. but we thought it was time to get the basics and some details, as a foundation to further Book releases on this subject.

The Book should be out in December, followed by a matching Video of the same name. “HAVEN HILL”. The Video will have the latest detailed photos, short Video clips and many details and descriptions of our research and the Haven Hill estate. Also as part of these two releases, will be new details Maps of the Park, Historical maps, detailed maps of just the way the estate was, when the Ford family was living there, and a couple of detailed drawings of the Lodge and other estate features.

We will post an official availability date as soon as our Publisher lets us know. We are very excited about getting our research and hard work published and shown to the public. There is so very little out there on the Edsel Ford estate, and the Book and Video should fill in many gaps on the available information on Haven Hill and even the Natural area that surrounds the estate.

Look for official release dates on the Book and accompanying Video very shortly.

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