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.

Press Release: Haven Hill - The Edsel & Eleanor Ford Family Farm Estate - The Untold Story

Date: April 29, 2015
Location: Howell Opera House 123 W. Grand River, Howell MI
Time: Doors open at 7:00 PM Program Starts 7:30 PM
Admission is Free - Public Welcome

In the 1920’s Henry Ford visited and spoke at the Howell Opera House. Related and
virtually unknown is the fascinating story of his only son Edsel and his wife Eleanor who,
in 1923, embarked on the creation of a 2,300 acre working farm state on present day
M-59 just east of Livingston County. They named their farm estate Haven Hill. For some
20-23 years Edsel, Eleanor, and their four children - Henry II, Benson, Josephine, &
William Clay (past owner of Detroit Lions), enjoyed Haven Hill as a refuge and retreat.
Edsel tragically died in 1943 at the young age of 49 years and the estate was passed
on, by his wife Eleanor, to the Michigan Department of Conservation (today Mich. Dept.
of Natural Resources).

On Wednesday April 29, at 7 pm, the Haven Hill story will fittingly be told at the Howell
Opera House with a presentation by the Friends of Highland Recreation Area (FOHRA).
Come learn of the estate architecture and unique landscape setting plus hear of the
estates many world famous guests and visitors such as Charles and Anne Morrow
Lindbergh, Thomas Edison, Admiral Byrd who first flew over the North and South Poles,
and the Duke of Windsor from England's Royal Family just to name a few.
The evening will include a very entertaining video presentation of the history of Haven
Hill and an update on accomplishments to date and future plans. Also on display, for
one night only, will be select nature photographs of the area plus a fine art portrait
series paying tribute to the people of Haven Hill.

Date: April 29, 2015
Location: Howell Opera House 123 W. Grand River, Howell MI
Time: Doors open at 7:00 PM Program Starts 7:30 PM
Admission is Free - Public Welcome

For more information & contacts:
Dick Russell - Friends of Highland Recreation Area
Phone: Cell: 248-563-7428 Email: FireExplr2@aol.com
Sharon Fisher - Howell Opera House
Phone: 517-294-7562 Email: sharon@howelloperahouse.com
For more information please see attached flyer and visit:

Dine with Edsel and Eleanor Event is Tomorrow

Gentlemen (and Ladies) attending this year’s fund raiser will not only see a special "Fishing In Da U.P." table setting this year, but also a vintage automobile display just down the street on the corner of Livingston and Milford Road where some vintage cars will be on display throughout the day.

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2013 Haven Hill Festival Saturday, August 24

Haven Hill history displays, a Haven Hill National Natural Landmark nature photo exhibit, vintage Ford automobiles, children’s activities, along with summer food and drinks, will be available all day during the free 10 am to 3:00 pm Festival on August 24. This year’s Haven Hill Festival will include, for the second year, the Novi Brass Band accompanying the 1860’s Base Ball Game on the Goose Meadow ball field at 1:00 pm.

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