Edsel Ford Barn New Paint Job Begins!

ABOVE: The Edsel Ford Barn in Highland State Recreation Area is having the old paint removed and new paint applied this summer of 2016.

For the first time in many years (unknown) the Edsel Ford Barn is going to get a newly painted exterior! The Friends of Highland Recreation Area have worked with the MDNR, Oakland County historic structure color experts, and old photographs to finalize choices of a light exterior with dark trim. See historic photo below.

ABOVE: Old photo of Edsel Ford barn showing light exterior and dark trim.

A local area professional painter has been recruited by the volunteers to perform the job. The Friends group and its' supporters have prepared the building since the 2008 collapse with walls, beams, rafters, shingle and siding replacement, corner trim, and new windows.

ABOVE: Strong but "gentle" pressurized washing techniques are being used to remove the layers of old paint and mildew. 

Come see the Barn's new paint job underway at the Haven Hill Festival on August 27th between 10:00 am and 3:00 pm. There will be an Antiques and Collectibles Sale at the Barn during the Festival. All proceeds go to FOHRA as a fund raiser. Come out and see the inside of the Edsel Ford barn on this special day open to the public!

John Fitzgerald

The Friends of Highland Recreation Area (FOHRA) volunteer organization was established in 2007, and is a 501 (c) (3) tax exempt non-profit organization operating under lease agreement with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Within one of the most picturesque, fascinating, and historically significant state parks in southeast lower Michigan, our goal is to combine the former Haven Hill estate history with Highland Recreation Area’s existing amenities, wilderness, and recreation.

Edsel Ford Barn Reconstruction Begins!

Hardy volunteers from the Friends of Highland Recreation Area worked together between rain showers and thunderstorms to clean old wounds from the barn and install the new walls. It was a momentus day as the workers performed the first new construction on the barn since the violent storm in June 2008 tore at the historic structure.

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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.

Creativity and Inspiration

Although the Edsel Ford Barn has been severely damaged by the summer storms this year, the FOHRA has been inspired with new visions for the Barn's future. One example is shown in the depiction below.

This design concept would include a pavilion over the existing slab that was once the interior floor of the  barn.  As you can see, this concept would accommodate a large number of possibilities for future use. Childrens' events, music, fairs, equestrian shows, art displays, winter activities - all could be realized with this design. The front of the barn would be used for historical displays, interior office space, educational classrooms, dining/cafeteria space, etc..

The Friends of Highland Recreation are filled with inspiration for the future.  This "pavilion-style" concept is one example of many possibilities. I hope you're inspired as well!

Recent Workday Another Success!

The group tore down more second floor flooring above the north east room  on Sunday the 24th of February. We also added more tarps to the lower east roof. Work Day 022408 Pic 1

The 2nd floor boards are rotted most severely under each of the old skylights that have leaked in the roof overhead.

Work Day 022408 Pic 2

We worked to demo the old floor safely on scaffolding from below.

Work Day 022408 Pic 3

Above: What a view looking up through the 2nd floor supports!

Work Day 022408 Pic 4

The debris pile... we need another dumpster soon!

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!

Work Party Entry

On January 13, 2008 we had a great group of volunteers come out to the Highland Recreation Area and work on the Edsel Ford Haven Hill barn. More large tarps were put on the roof to stop water and snow damage, and lots of interior cleanup was accomplished as well. It was my 1st time inside of the barn. Edsel Ford Barn Interior Photo

Believe it or not, the photo above is a picture of the SECOND FLOOR... the barn is huge! Click on the image to see a larger photo.

All of the volunteers had a great time and the weather cooperated (snow and rain were in the forecast but none fell). Keep in touch... a more extensive post will be coming soon...