But let me back up a little. The Detroit-Greenfield RV Park where we are staying is 30 minutes west of Greenfield Village. Driving to Greenfield Village from the RV park is very easy, just hop on I-94, go east (and a little north) and you're there.
We parked in a lot with warning signs saying it was for the conference center and violators would be towed. I was nervous about that. We asked a young couple walking by, who parked in the same lot, if they were worried about getting their car towed. They assured us they park there all the time. They have an annual membership and the only time they tow cars from that lot is when there's a conference. Their annual membership allows for four ride tickets at Greenfield Village, they only needed two and would we like the two extra tickets ($30 value each)? That was so incredibly nice of them. They went in and got the wristbands for us and we were able to ride the steam train, Model Ts, and the Carousel (didn't have time to ride the horse-drawn carriages or old buses).
Upon entering Greenfield Village, we were amazed by the first building we encountered: the Soybean Experimental Laboratory. In this building, built in 1930 in Greenfield Village, Henry Ford's workers experimented with soybeans and other crops. Mr. Ford designed Model A car parts, an experimental car body, and a suit of clothes from the plant.
Outside the back door of the Soybean Experimental Laboratory was the Port Huron Engine. This steam-powered traction engine could push or pull farm devices or run a variety of machines, and was used to power threshing machines as they moved from farm to farm. In short, movable vehicles throughout history went from human powered, to horse drawn, to steam powered, to gasoline engines. Steam-powered engines started the Industrial Revolution. You see what kind of history we're talking about here?
|Port Huron steam-powered engine|
On the narrated train ride around the Village, our engineer pointed out the different areas of the park: Henry Ford's Model T, working farms, Railroad Junction, Main Street, Edison at Work, Porches and Parlors, Liberty Craftworks, and Walnut Grove. As much as we tried, we could not see it all in six hours, but we did our best.
|Calumet & Hecla Mining Co. Torch Lake steam engine|
|Water tower coming up|
|Definitely steam powered...|
watch out for coal pieces in your eyes!
Henry Ford's Model T
As a young boy, Henry did not take to farming. He was more interested in how things worked.
Below are photos of his restored boyhood home. The only original piece of furniture is the writing desk pictured below.
|Writing desk in formal living room.|
|Henry Ford's boyhood farm home|
|This is the car that made America mobile back in the day.|
We walked out the back door of the building and, voila, we were able to take a spin in a Model T. Our particular model was one that would have been used like a taxi to pick up people and their luggage from the train station.
|Model T's lined up waiting for passengers|
|Here's "our" Model T (with a very knowledgeable driver)|
After our tour by car, we walked around Main Street and stopped by Sir John Bennett's Sweet Shop for hot chocolate and cookies. Inside, we learned Sir John Bennett's Jewelry Shop was in London, England. Henry Ford had seen it on a visit and loved it.
A few years later Sir John Bennett's shop underwent major remodeling and Henry Ford was able to buy the whole facade of the five-story building which he then had shipped to Greenfield Village for reconstruction. The facade was taken from five stories to two to fit the New England custom of no building being higher than a church steeple. Besides Gog and Magog, only the clock, and parts of the facade are original, the rest of the exterior and interior were built at Greenfield Village.
|Bob at Sir John Bennett's Sweet Shop|
|My favorite weather vane ever!|
|Gog and Magog, mythical giants who protected the British Isles|
|Little boy making water go through the aqueduct|
|Tunnel, rock-climbing wall, and slide structure|
|Kids can climb all over and in this truck|
|Waterworks...prepare to get wet!|
|Wilbur and Orville Wright's Cycle Company|
|The cycle shop|
|Back workshop - "birthplace of aviation"|
|Captivating sounds from this music box|
|The Wright family home, built in 1871 in Dayton, Ohio|
|Watching Fords go by.|
|Heinz House, built in 1854 in Sharpsburg, Pennsylvania|
Edison at Work:
In this area we saw Thomas Edison's Fort Menlo, New Jersey Complex, Sarah Jordan's Boarding House, and Edison's Fort Myers, Florida Laboratory.
The locals didn't think much of Thomas Edison and his new ideas.
Thomas Edison believed the best inventions came from people working together. (What's so terrible about that?) As soon as I saw that about best inventions and also read he provided an organ on the second floor of his Menlo Park Laboratory, I thought about his laboratory as a precursor to Google as a great place to work. He supplied his scientists and chemists with all the chemicals they would need to do their experiments and work. His team of workers had traditional craft skills and new scientific knowledge. This laboratory was home to the first electric light bulb, the first phonograph and many other inventions.
Below is the machine shop portion of the Menlo Park Complex...
|Machine shop, Menlo Park Complex|
|Vertical steam engine|
|Interior of machine shop|
|Docent on left telling us about the laboratory|
|Furnaces to make filaments|
|Menlo Park second floor lab|
|The organ for benefit of chemists and scientists|
|Where the work was done|
Once outside in the Menlo Park Complex, we wandered over to a small building which was closed for renovations. We were able to look in the windows and saw glass instruments needed for chemical experiments. They were made in this glass shed.
|Menlo Park Glass Shed, built 1876 in Menlo Park, New Jersey|
|Glass beakers for chemical experiments|
|Glass tubes for chemical experiments|
|Ft. Myers Laboratory, erected in 1885 in Fort Myers, Florida|
|The Luther Burbank house|
|Hermitage Slave Quarters, built about |
1820 near Savannah, Georgia
|Martha-Mary Chapel on the Village Green|
|Eagle Tavern family-style seating|
|Here we are on the Carousel|
|Decorative panel on the carousel|
|Cat on the carousel|
Bob had been very patient waiting to go to Railroad Junction. That was our next stop. There is a working roundhouse here rebuilt with some of the original materials from the Detroit, Toledo, & Milwaukee (DTM) Roundhouse formerly in Marshall, Michigan.
|Railroad Junction, Greenfield Village|
|The Detroit, Toledo & Milwaukie Roundhouse|
|Demonstration of how easy this track is to move.|
|Engine from Detroit & Lima Northern Railway|
|American Locomotive Works (Schenectady, NY) steam engine|
used by Michigan Central Atlantic, 4-4-2 8085
|Bob admiring how huge the steam engine is|
Here we learned about glass-blowing, sawmills, a gristmill, weaving shop, pottery shop, carding mill, and a printing office and tin shop.
|Gorgeous bowl in glass-blowing area.|
|Ready to solder|
|Working grist mill|
|Socks on forms|
|More advanced loom|
|Punch cards for a loom|
|Products created by the punch-card loom|
|Hand-painted pottery artist|
|Decorated pumpkins were everywhere. This one says "Ford." LOL|
Halloween is a big deal in Michigan. Greenfield Village celebrates it every weekend night in October. You can see Halloween decorations in some of today's photos.
|At the entrance to Greenfield Village. It wasn't there this morning!|
|Our site, #232|
|We have a lake view now that our neighbor moved.|
|Very empty campground when we returned today.|
Travel Bug out.