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.

Haven Hill Lodge in Historic Pontiac Video on YouTube

Check out this GREAT old film of amazing young Mickey Burns with Brace Beemer, the original Lone Ranger, in a cameo for the city of Pontiac, Michigan on YouTube... Historic video produced with scenes filmed at the Haven Hill Lodge! [embed][/embed]

Read a terrific news article about the original of the film HERE.

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 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 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.

Summer Sites in the Woods of Highland State Recreation Area

The Highland State Recreation Area has many wonderful things to experience in the summer. Put on some sun screen and some insect repellent and get outdoors! Brave the heat and some of the parks' natural insect population (read "bugs") and enjoy the trails that traverse the areas deep into the woods of the park... here's a few pics from a hike on July 18th on the trails north of Haven Hill Lake... Above: Ferns carpet the forest floor.

Above: Beautiful wild flowers abound in Highland State Recreation Area.

Look closely for things big and small...

Mushrooms and fungi in the shade on the cool forest floor.

The small glacial ponds are full of almost flourescent green algae...

The wetland trail was filled with bird life...

Such as this Cedar Waxing...

The Waxwing was probably searching for these berries...

On the return leg of the hike the water lillies on Haven Hill Lake had started to open in the morning sun...

Enjoy the summer... hike Highland State Recreation Area... one of Michigan's true wonders.

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!

HRA History: Pontiac Press Lodge Photo


Digitizing of some fantastic photos and newspaper articles that were collected by Marge Sawruk of the Friends of Highland Recreation is underway. This wonderful old photo of the lodge (below) from the October 31, 1962 edition of the Pontiac Press shows its magnificent sloping roofs and two of the six giant chimneys. For those of you who didn't know, the Pontiac Press became the Oakland Press in 1972.

Click on the photo to see and read the text. Use your "back button" to return to this page.

Marge Sawruk is the Secretary of the White Lake Historical Society and a long-standing member of the Friends of Highland Recreation Area. Our sincere appreciation goes out to Marge for saving and collecting  such wonderful historical records.



The FOHRA would like to extend a formal request for any and all old photographs that reflect the natural and man-made hsitory of the Highland Recreation Area and Haven Hill. We'll carefully scan your pictures of the park and return them to you unaffected. In retun, the FOHRA will send along with a free computer disk containing all of the preserved images. Please contact Jay Fitzgerald (FOHRA group Secretary) at (248) 494-8919 or write a email to Thanks ahead of time!

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!

3 Men and A Truck

Dick, Tom, and Jay started some clean-up of the overgrown Haven Hill hill road this last Sunday, September 14th. Leaves, grass, saplings, and brush have encroached over 5 feet onto the road in some areas!

Even the area in front of the lodge ruins got a little trimming...

And below, just one of the piles of debris from our clean-up...

We'll be looking for help to do more soon. Get out your trimmers, gloves, and be ready to join us in the great outdoors!

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