Soar in a Quadcopter for Amazing Aerial Views of Haven Hill

Have you ever flown over Highland State Recreation Area in Highland/White Lake, Michigan and looked down upon the gorgeous landscapes and historic structures within this truly special Michigan state park? If not, take a few minutes of your time right now and see a variety of beautiful "birds eye" views of these beautiful landscapes and historic landmark areas. See Edsel and Eleanor Ford's historic Haven Hill estate from high above the ground using a quadcopter and a tiny video camera. 

The Haven Hill Gate House, Cedar Creek wetland and the new Cedar Creek Trail, Goose Meadow and Haven Hill Lake, the Haven Hill Lodge site, and the famous Edsel Ford Barn are all in view "out of your window seat" as you watch this amazing aerial film footage.

The members of the Friends of Highland Recreation Area are starting to shake off their winter "cabin fever" and begin spring and summer activities at the park. Come out and join us as we celebrate the season-opening Redbud Reveal and Antiques and Collectibles fundraising sale at the Edsel Ford Barn on Saturday, May 14.

Early March Haven Hill FOHRA WWAM!

While reading this posts' title you might ask yourself what's a "FOHRA and a WWAM"? Well FOHRA is the Friends of Highland Recreation Area and WWAM stands for Weekends and Weekdays Alternatives for Misdemeanants. WWAM is an Oakland County program that was created as an alternative for misdemeanor offenders wherein participants not only pay for the option to work, but the work itself is provided free to various community projects... fohra-hh-logo-fohra-320x240On March 7, 2009 the FOHRA team met 12 to 14 WWAM participants and their Supervisor on Haven Hill inside of Highland Recreation Area. It was a dark and rainy day, but by the end of the work bee the group had transformed the Haven Hill area around the Carriage House back into the park-like setting that it once was years ago.

carriage-house-lawn-view-after-clean-upAbove: FOHRA set up a tent for the WWAM crew during the rainy day at the Haven Hill Carriage House. Photo by Tom Slaga.

Years of forest debris had covered the wonderful pathways that surround the Edsel Ford Carriage House and the road leading up to the Haven Hill Lodge Ruins. WWAM support, FOHRA members, and a heavy excavator were used to clear the road and the pathways.

parking-path-before parkling-path-after

Above: The path to the old parking area before and after the volunteer efforts. Photos by Tom Slaga.

heavy-equip-030709-haven-hillAbove: FOHRA member Dean Sutton uses his heavy equipment to clear Haven Hill Road.

FOHRA has scheduled more Spring clean-ups at the Edsel Ford Barn, the Carriage House, the Lodge Ruins, and the Gate House for 2009.

circle-drive-looking-n-wAbove: The circle of Haven Hill Road after FOHRA and WWAM clean-up on March 7, 2009. Photo by Tom Slaga.

We would like to sincerely thank the WWAM program organizers and participants for their work.

FOHRA will continue its efforts to improve and maintain the natural settings within the Highland Recreation Area. Look out for more announcements of upcoming events soon! Come and join us!

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...

Haven Hill Lodge Ruins

Well I finally did it... I grabbed the dog and we headed over to the rec. area and hiked up to the ruins of the Edsel Ford Haven Hill lodge. Beautiful in winter, the ruins seemed kind of pristine covered by a blanket of snow. This was my 1st visit to the ruins - I had heard of the site that is inside of the Highland Recreation Area in Southeast Michigan several years ago. From the parking area the hike appears to be just at or under a mile (I'm guessing) until you come upon the "carriage house" or what appears to have been the "welcoming building" for guests.

Haven Hill Lodge 1

This is an amazing little cabin - the only remaining structure from Edsel's day.

Haven Hill Lodge 2

I am told that this carriage house is an excellent example how the lodge was constructed - solid stacked logs and a wonderful stone chimney.

Haven Hill Carriage House Logs

From the backside it's obvious that vandals have broken into the old building - a gaping hole in a plywood board covering the window to a bathroom. Shame.

Haven Hill Carriage House 2

Here's a great photo (below) of the Haven Hill Carriage House - larger size. Click to view the full-size image.

Haven Hill Carriage House

As you look North and slightly west you then see what appears to be the remnants of an arched entranceway to what I assume was a walkway to the lodge's front door.

Haven Hill Archway

Then a large fireplace/chimney appears and you can begin to understand the actual size of the lodge by the ruins of the foundation. I wish I had seen the actual building before it was burned to the ground in 1997.

Haven Hill Fireplace Chimney

This day in mid February the snow was obscuring the ground all around and inside the foundation.

Haven Hill Lodge 3

The building must have been truly amazing in it's hay day! And to think that the likes of Thomas Edison, Admiral Bird, and other famous figures have stood right there many years ago!

PRESERVATION: Sometimes I wonder if the information that I'm posting on this website might result in those with "ill-wills" damaging a historic site like this. I hope not. As a matter of fact, I believe that by sharing this information maybe attention can be drawn to this amazing location that might inspire caring persons to visit the area and be a part of its' preservation. Come and see and join the forces for good will!

The Haven Hill Archway