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 Summer Landscaping

Below, the Haven Hill Carriage House rests peacefully in the dappled sunlight of a summer morning on the Hill in Highland State Recreation Area. Nearby, the Friends of Highland Recreation Area (FOHRA) performed some summer landscaping on the Lodge site. Carriage House

The Haven Hill Lodge was once the home of the Edsel and Eleanor Ford family.

Haven Hill Lodge Site 07/25/10

The Friends group and a WWAM Team from Oakland County completed some routine summer landscaping maintenance on Haven Hill during one of their regularly scheduled work days. Below, Jerry McManus uses the tractor to clear some roadside growth from haven Hill Road.

McManus on the HillSee the FOHRA website at www.fohra.org for more information on how to volunteer.

The Friends of Highland recreation area also readying Haven Hill, the Edsel Ford Barn, and the Gate House for the summer Haven Hill Festival to occur on Saturday, August 28 from 10 am until 4 pm in Goose Meadow. Check out www.havenhillfestival.com for more info. The event will include a Model A car show, and a vintage base ball game. It is free to the public. State park vehicle fees apply.

Edsel Ford Barn: Hot Sun in the Summer Time

The Edsel Ford Barn clean-up work is nearing completion as FOHRA members use the mornings' cooler temperatures to sweat out a few hours of hard labor. The photo below shows the amazingly clean and visible concrete pad that was once under as much as 10 feet of debris after the barn collapsed in 2008.

Multiple large dumpsters of non salvageable wood and debris have been filled and removed from the work site over the past several months. The Edsel Ford Barns' rear 2/3 section collapsed in a June 2008 storm. Much of 2009 was spent readying the site for the clean-up effort.

Seen below, Dustin Proctor works hard today hand moving wood from one of the final piles of barn debris.

Much of the work has been done by hand in order to sort the debris. Heavy machinery has been used to move mostly large sections of the barn. During today's work just three Friends of Highland Recreation Area volunteers filled nearly one half of a 30-yard dumpster.

Above: FOHRA volunteer Jenna Coyle gives a "thumbs up" after emptying another of the many cans of debris moved today.

As a reminder, the conceptual drawing of the Barn's future is shown below. A rebuild of the front end of the barn (still standing today) and the addition of a new "pavilion" roof over the concrete pad to the south.

For more information and to help with this great project go to www.fohra.org.

Another Special Part of History Saved on May 31st Work Day!

The last May 2009 FOHRA work day at the Edsel Ford Barn (EFB) netted more salvageable wood, metal, glass, and cedar shingles.  But the special event of the day was definitely the recovery of another of the barn's large roof-top ventilators. These units served to draw a vacuum of air out of the barn's interior to cool and exhaust the huge spaces within. EFB Ventilator on the Debris Pile 053109 DSC_76921024x768

The unit was carefully carried across the field towards the barn's remaining section (the "Cube") for storage.

EFB Ventilator Recovery 1 053109 DSC_77211024x768

FOHRA volunteers used long supports to lift the unit and transport its' bulk.

EFB Ventilator Recovery 2 053109 DSC_77301024x768

The ventilator was then put into the EFB "cube" for storage for the upcoming rebuild and re-purposing of the barn. Members of the volunteer effort are salvaging as many components of the damaged barn as possible for re-use during the reconstruction. The barn was hit by a heavy storm in June of 2008 and severely damaged.

Tim Wiles Vent Move 053109 DSC_7732

Want to help save historic building components by volunteering? Come and join the effort at the upcoming work days of the Friends of Highland Recreation Area at the Highland State Recreation Area on Sunday, June 14 and Sunday, June 28. The effort is ongoing and will continue throughout the summer. Visit the FOHRA website at www.fohra.org for work day updates, a list of needed supplies, and other ways that you can help save the hsitoric structures in the Haven Hill section of the Highland Recreation Area.

Fall Clean-Up on Haven Hill

This last weekends' Sunday work party (October 12) included a visit to the Haven Hill Gatehouse, a review of the Edsel Ford Barn, and some productive clean-up on the hill at the circle in front of the Haven Hill Lodge ruins.

Above, members of the Friends of Highland Recreation Area (FOHRA) enjoy a clean-up day on Haven Hill in front of the ruins of Edsel Ford's Lodge. The group cleared overgrowth, removed piles of storm-damaged tree limbs, and raked and shoveled there way through the afternoon. It was a nice day (70's to near 80 degrees), and the group was visited by 10 - 12 people hiking the Haven Hill in the great weather.

The location on the hill inside of the Highland Recreation Area is a wonderful place to hike and enjoy the fall color. If you can make some time available for a good cause, come on out and join us in helping our local recreation area on the 2nd and 4th Sundays of each month! Look for the FOHRA gang.

REMINDER: Click on the pics to see the full-sized images. Have a great day!

Carriage House Clean-Up

The Haven Hill Carriage House received a good lawn mowing and exterior clean-up this last month. An intrepid group from FOHRA gathered together with rakes, shovels, clippers, and a lawn mower to do a little summer cleaning. Here you can see the jungle of growth from this spring into July...

And below the area after the Friends Group work...

The historic Carriage House is just south of the Edsel Ford Haven Hill Lodge ruins. The building was a place for Edsel's vehicles and still stands watch near the ruins of the once stately retreat. It is the only remaining example in the park of the Lodge's construction techniques.. awesome log walls and stone fireplaces.

Weekend work like this is a lot of fun... and great exercise in the wonderful Highland Recreation Area wilderness. Come out and join us! We can be found in the key areas of the park... just look for the group with the shovels, brooms, rakes, and tools! Go to our FOHRA Website for more details...