HAVEN HILL HISTORY

Edsel Ford (1894-1943) 

Edsel Ford developed a passion for art at a very early age. His father, Henry Ford, encouraged that passion, and built Edsel a private art studio above the garage of Edsel’s childhood home in Detroit, MI.

It was from that studio, that Edsel began his automotive drawings - the beginning of what would eventually become a tremendous asset to the Ford Motor Company, as Edsel later introduced the Ford Model A, the Mercury, and the Continental automobiles, reflecting his design genius.

Edsel Ford held the position of president of The Ford Motor Company from 1919 until his untimely passing at age 49, in 1943. To this day, Edsel remains the longest running president in the history of The Ford Motor Company.

After Edsel’s passing the Ford Motor Company released the “Edsel” automobile as a tribute to his many contributions to the company and to the public. This vehicle was not well received by the public, ironically because of it's forward-thinking modern design. Sales were poor.  Common thought is that this

At A Glimpse 

  • Edsel Ford was the son of the “Man of the Millennium”, Henry Ford.
  • Helped design & introduced the Mercury and Continental automobiles.
  • President of The Ford Motor Company from 1919-1943.
  • Chairman of the Detroit Institute of Arts and a founding patron of the New York Museum of Modern Art.
  • Supporter of Charles Lindbergh’s famous transatlantic flight, and Admiral Richard E. Byrd’s north & south pole flights.
  • November 6, 1893: Edsel Bryant Ford was born.
  • August 1, 1916: Edsel Ford married Eleanor Lowthian Clay.
  • January 1, 1919: Edsel Ford became president of Ford Motor Company.
  • September 17, 1919: Henry & Edsel became sole owners of Ford Motor Company.
  • May 26, 1943: Edsel Ford died.

The Haven Hill Estate

Edsel Ford, only child of Henry Ford, began purchasing parcels of land in Highland and White Lake Townships in 1923. The plan was to construct self-sufficient retreat as a diversion from the hustle and bustle of city life - a retreat that was more convenient than a lengthy drive north.

During the Edsel & Eleanor Ford family years, the Haven Hill Estate consisted of five structures:

  • Gate House - the estate’s primary entrance
  • Riding Stables - home to the family’s prized riding horses
  • Barn - housing for sheep, work horses and Black Angus cattle
  • Carriage House - three car log garage with living quarters
  • Lodge - the Ford family’s residence at Haven Hill

The role of this 2,422 acre estate, was that of relaxation and creation, a leisure estate that included:

  • 3,000 ft tow-return toboggan run
  • Swimming pool
  • Tennis court
  • Horseback riding
  • Fishing and more

Three years after Edsel’s passing in 1943, Eleanor sold the estate to our state park system, which eventually became Highland Recreation Area.

Many alterations were made to the estate over the years to accommodate various uses, until state budget cuts in the 1980’s lead to closure of the structures. The structures have suffered from lack of use, but continue to fascinate visitors and serve as a popular park attraction. The Riding Stables and Lodge have since been lost to fire.

Now under lease agreement with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, FOHRA is working to bring the three remaining structures back to life, while returning them more closely to their original design...

See a copy of all of the informative MotorCities Wayside signs located at Haven Hill by clicking on the document below...