A dedicated group of Friends of Highland Recreation Area members this last Sunday, August 8, with shovels, pitchforks, brooms, and a tractor, scooped another pile of broken wood, shingles, twisted metal, and dirt into a large dumpster...
...this was more debris from the historic Edsel Ford Barn in Highland State Recreation Area that was hit by a violent storm on June 8, 2008 and nearly completely demolished. The difference this last Sunday was that these last few piles were the final vestiges of more than a year's work cleaning up the beloved barn's injuries.
The destruction from the storm in 2008 was devastating to the old barn, built in the 1920's for Edsel and Eleanor Ford who once owned what is now the Haven Hill section of Highland Recreation Area (named after "Haven Hill", the name the Fords' gave to their once grand country estate).
Below: The Edsel Ford Barn in May of 2008, prior to the devastating storm that destroyed nearly 3/4 of the barn's structure.
During the last year the fallen debris from the storm damage to the barn was cleared off of the concrete slab that lay beneath the once grand structure. The task was completed during weekend work sessions wherein members of the Friends group, and partner organizations, all took part in the effort. Rescue efforts did not begin in earnest until the spring of 2009 after various safety and insurance requirements were met.
Below: The cleared Edsel Ford Barn concrete slab last Sunday, August 8, 2010.
This was indeed a major milestone for the project, and for those people directly involved in the effort, but it is also just another beginning of a process of rejuvenating the site from a relatively unknown historical asset into a place that is beneficial to the local community. The Friends of Highland Recreation Area (FOHRA) still need the continued involvement of those of you willing to help. Donations of manpower, materials, finances, and services can be contributed to the effort by contacting the Friends group. Go to www.fohra.org for more information.
Below: A conceptual drawing of the potential future for the Edsel Ford Barn in White Lake/Highland, Michigan.