Haven Hill Barn Stormers and Rochester Grangers - 1860's Base Ball

In the late 1800's as the Civil War came and passed, the game of base ball spread across America and eventually became what it is today. Next time you get a chance to see the beginnings of base ball don't pass it up. It's a wonderful game!

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Edsel Ford Barn Storm Debris Clearing Complete!

A dedicated group of Friends of Highland Recreation Area members this last Sunday, August 8, with shovels, pitchforks, brooms, and a tractor, scooped another pile of broken wood, shingles, twisted metal, and dirt into a large dumpster...

...this was more debris from the historic Edsel Ford Barn in Highland State Recreation Area that was hit by a violent storm on June 8, 2008 and nearly completely demolished. The difference this last Sunday was that these last few piles were the final vestiges of more than a year's work cleaning up the beloved barn's injuries.

The destruction from the storm in 2008 was devastating to the old barn, built in the 1920's for Edsel and Eleanor Ford who once owned what is now the Haven Hill section of Highland Recreation Area (named after "Haven Hill", the name the Fords' gave to their once grand country estate).

Below: The Edsel Ford Barn in May of 2008, prior to the devastating storm that destroyed nearly 3/4 of the barn's structure.

Below: The Edsel Ford Barn soon after the storm of June 8, 2008.

During the last year the fallen debris from the storm damage to the barn was cleared off of the concrete slab that lay beneath the once grand structure. The task was completed during weekend work sessions wherein members of the Friends group, and partner organizations, all took part in the effort. Rescue efforts did not begin in earnest until the spring of 2009 after various safety and insurance requirements were met.

Below: The cleared Edsel Ford Barn concrete slab last Sunday, August 8, 2010.

This was indeed a major milestone for the project, and for those people directly involved in the effort, but it is also just another beginning of a process of rejuvenating the site from a relatively unknown historical asset into a place that is beneficial to the local community. The Friends of Highland Recreation Area (FOHRA) still need the continued involvement of those of you willing to help. Donations of manpower, materials, finances, and services can be contributed to the effort by contacting the Friends group. Go to www.fohra.org for more information.

Below: A conceptual drawing of the potential future for the Edsel Ford Barn in White Lake/Highland, Michigan.

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.

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.


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.

FOHRA to March in Milford, Michigan 4th of July Parade

This years' 4th of July Parade in Milford, Michigan will be held on Saturday, July 3 at 11 am. The Friends of Highland Recreation Area will walk and drive in the parade to promote the Highland State Recreation Area, the historic Edsel and Eleanor Ford Haven Hill estate within the park, and the upcoming summer "Haven Hill Festival". The Festival will be held from 10 am until 4 pm on Saturday, August 28th in the Goose Meadow picnic area of the park. A vintage 1929 Model A Ford, driven by Chuck and Jean Sherman, members of the Livingston A's driving club, will escort FOHRA's members the length of the parade. Come on out and enjoy supporting FOHRA in the community!

Ford Team Volunteers at Ford Barn!

On Friday, May 14 an enthusiastic group of Ford Motor Company volunteers came out to historic Haven Hill and helped continue the rescue of the Edsel Ford Barn inside the Highland State Recreation Area in Highland/White Lake, Michigan. The Haven Hill section of the Highland State Recreation Area was once the grand country estate of Edsel and Eleanor Ford. Above: Ford Volunteer Corps team members at the Haven Hill Carriage House on May 14, 2010.

The Ford Volunteer Corps members were participating in a "Better World Accelerated Action Day". The Friends of Highland Recreation Area (FOHRA) applied for and were selected as a recipient of a mini-grant and the Edsel Ford Barn as an Action Day location. The Edsel Ford Barn is in the final stage of a massive cleanup after the violent storm damage that occurred during the summer of 2008. FOHRA has handled the clean-up with environment-friendly techniques, sorting much of the fallen debris by hand for potential reuse.

Above: The Edsel Ford Barn pad is nearly 100% cleared of fallen debris after two seasons of hard work with help from volunteers like the Ford Volunteer Corps.

The Ford folks helped sort and clean metal, wood, cedar shingles, and more as the giant concrete pad that was once underneath the barn is cleaned and readied for the next stages of renovation. Continued work on the historic barn occurs the 1st and 3rd Sundays of each month.

The Haven Hill restoration and re-purposing project in Highland State Recreation Area is an excellent way for your group to volunteer, and we need your help. Check us out at www.fohra.org. To learn more about the Ford Volunteer Corps, go to www.volunteer.ford.com.