Haven Hill Gate House Exposed!

Members of Highland State Recreation Area's support group, FOHRA, got together on November 8 and cleared away years of brush in front of the Haven Hill Gate House. The old building can now be seen from the M-59 entrance station as visitors enter the park. Above: Heavy brush blocks the view of the Haven Hill Gate House.

Above: Members clip and pull the years of brush that had obscured the Gate House from view.

Above: FOHRA members Tim Wiles and Jerry McManus review the clearing.

Above: The Haven Hill Gate House, once the entrance to Edsel Ford's Haven Hill Estate, exposed to public view beyond the entrance station turn-around at Highland Recreation Area.

Above: Friends of Highland Recreation Area marvel at the new view.

FOHRA plans to improve these sites within the park. The Haven Hill Gate House may become an informative Visitors Center some day. Come on out and help the effort. Visit www.fohra.org for more info.

Edsel Ford Barn Clean-Up Nearing Completion

The storm-damaged Edsel Ford Barn within the Highland Recreation Area has been given tender loving care just about every two weekends on Sundays this Spring and Summer. The Friends of Highland Recreation Area volunteers, with the help of Oakland County WWAM teams and the MDNR, have cleared of debris over 2/3 of what was the barn's interior concrete pad. The June 8, 2009 storm heavily damaged the barn when 80+ mile per hour winds roared through Oakland County, Michigan. IMG_5180 1280x1024

Great progress has been made through teh efforts of FOHRA, the parks charitable support group. Plans continue forward for a revitalization of the barn into a shared public space for the area's residents. A conceptual drawing can be seen below.

EFB Pavilion Concept 640x480Heavy equipment and heavy-lifting volunteers have made all of the difference... a coordinated effort to rejuvenate an amazing historic structure commissioned by Edsel Ford and his family in what was once his Haven Hill Estate.

IMG_5166 1280x1024Come on out for future workdays and help with the project. The debris is being salvaged as much as possible for re-use. Hand sorting of wood, metal, functional components, etcetera is a tedious business. Work day information can be found at the FOHRA website, www.fohra.org.

HRA Edsel Ford Barn Winterization Weekend A Success!

The members and guest volunteers of the Friends of Highland Recreation Area (FOHRA) worked feverishly on Saturday and Sunday, November first and second, to stabilize and "winterize" the Edsel Ford Barn inside of the Recreation Area. The volunteers worked in the cool Fall weather and Sunday rain these last two days to clear the huge mass of debris that fell around the historic barn during the severe storms in June of this year.

An outdoor extended-reach forklift was used to perform the heavy lifting of debris from the south side of the barn, and to clear a safe path around the remaining "cube" section of the structure.  Volunteers sorted debris into designated areas for recycling.

Volunteers cleared the southern side of the remaining structure in order to provide easy access to the barn for installation of tarpaulins in preparation for the oncoming winter. Members of the FOHRA wore hard hats, safety glasses, and safety shoes to minimize the possibility of job-site injuries.

Above: The Edsel Ford Barn at the beginning of the weekend winterization effort.

Below: The historic Edsel Ford Barn at the end of the day today.

The Friends of Highland Recreation area would like to sincerely thank the Michigan Department of Natural Resources for the opportunity to assist in the preservation efforts put forth towards this important natural historic resource. Special thanks are also sincerely extended to the Michigan Barn Preservation Network without whom our efforts would never have been realized this weekend.

More to come as the progress continues! Please come out and enjoy the special resources that the Highland Recreation Area has to offer. And make sure to consider joining the FOHRA in our effort to preserve and protect the things that the Highland Recreation Area has to offer. See our website at www.friendsofhighlandrec.org.

FOHRA Shows the Edsel Ford Barn at Highland Equestrian Conservancy Barn Tour

This last Saturday, September 27, the Friends of Highland Recreation put on a terrific display of history and experiences at the Edsel Ford Barn inside the Highland Recreation Area.  The group decorated a large tent with straw bales, pumpkins, mums, and corn stalks to welcome their public guests. People from all around came to see the injured but awesome Edsel Ford Barn and learn of its' uncertain future. The barn was severely damaged after years of neglect by a severe storm on June 8 of this year.

Everyone was enthusiastic about the preservation/restoration cause.

Displays included old findings from inside the barn and the surrounding area, a Boy Scouts' "Snow Snake" and badges display, and various informative materials about the Highland Recreation Area.

The FOHRA continues to seize opportunities such as the Barn Tour to inform the public of the valuable historic resources that need attention in the Recreation Area.  The Haven Hill complex at the Highland Recreation Area contains an historic  gatehouse, carriage house, and lodge ruins amongst all of its' natural beauty.

A decision regarding the Edsel Ford Barn's future from the Department of Natural Resources is expected as soon as this week.

Barn Preservation/Renovation Goes High Tech!

I'm doing some experiments with PC software that can assist with interior and exterior design projects. Here's a start at re-creating the barn inside of a computer. Edsel Ford Barn PC 1

Edsel Ford Barn Open North End

A Look Inside

Interior Long Shot

Pretty slick. This new way of looking at things really opens up the creative possibilities for the renovation/restoration. The graphics are 100% "fly-by" tourable. You can fly around and through the building!

1000 Points of Light

One look up to the ceiling inside of the barn and you can see how important it is to cover the roof. The tiny points of light are holes with daylight shining through. Roof Holes

Click on the picture and you can see the  image up close.  This last work party included more covering of the ever-important skin of the barn with heavy plastic/vinyl tarps.