Fair Lane: the home of Clara and Henry Ford

Fair Lane: the home of Clara and Henry Ford

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We're still in Dearborn.
Fair Lane, home of Clara and Henry Ford, is an 8-minute drive away.

Henry Ford met Clara Jane Bryant in December 1886 at a New Year's party. He courted her for almost three years before he managed to marry her.

By 1914, 1,000 Model Ts rolled off the production line every day, which clearly made Henry Ford rich. He bought an area of ​​more than 12,000 acres (5,000 hectares), and this land became his new home.
He told the architects that he wanted to spend $250,000 on the 52-room home.
More than 500 professionals worked continuously on the house for two years. The last bill was $2 million!

Fair Lane - Dearborn, MI

What makes it even more unique is that it was powered by its own hydroelectric power station. And the hydroelectric plant was designed by Ford himself, with the help of his good friend Edison. The cornerstone of the power plant was laid by Edison.
The Rouge River crossed the property, and two power plants were built on it, from which a 300 feet (90 meters) long line carried the electricity to the house. In doing so, he supplied the entire property and another 2,000 households in the city of Dearborn with electricity.
It is one of the first historical sites designated a National Historic Landmark.
It is also fascinating that although Ford is responsible for the spread of cars, he lived in an environmentally friendly way!

They moved here in 1915 and inherited many features of their previous residences. Both placed great emphasis on preserving and protecting the natural environment. Still, there was also a private laboratory, a dance hall, and many other things.

Fair Lane - Dearborn, MI

After Clara Ford's death, the house became Ford Motor Company's property and the company's official archives. Most furnishings have been removed.

In 1957 the property was donated to the University of Michigan, which, by the way, is located near the property. It was operated as a museum by the university and closed to the public in 2010.
Today it works independently, with the support of donors.

The house is currently closed for renovations, so, unfortunately, you cannot go inside; you can only look at it from the outside and walk in the garden.

Fair Lane - Dearborn, MI

We're a bit sorry that we couldn't see it from the inside because it's also an imposing sight from the outside. But we're also glad we saw at least as much of it. After that, we found ourselves looking for the exit on the university campus but couldn't get out due to a roadblock, so we had to turn back.

That's how we ended up seeing a black squirrel (we had never seen a black squirrel before)! The black versions of the eastern gray squirrel and fox squirrel result from an abnormal pigment gene — that's why they're black. According to one expert, the chance of seeing a black squirrel is 1 in 10,000. We counted a total of 5 during our trip! 😀

We only saw a small portion of the university's buildings. Still, while I mentioned that the University of Michigan is here, I want to tell you one more exciting thing.

Fair Lane - Dearborn, MI

Michigan Stadium, nicknamed "The Big House", is the football stadium of the University of Michigan. The stadium itself is located in the city of Ann Arbor.
It is the largest stadium in the United States and the Western Hemisphere and the third largest in the world! Currently, the official capacity is 107,601 people.
Built in 1927 over an underground spring, legend has it that a crane was swallowed by the wet earth during construction. For years, Penn State University and the University of Michigan have been battling about the biggest stadium title! The university spent $226 million expanding the stadium in 2010.
All game tickets are usually sold out; the most expensive ticket reached 4000 USD 10 years ago!
One of the founders of Google, Larry Page, could have been among the viewers. But Madonna also attended this university. It's also unique because it's uncovered and doesn't have a top!
But not only sport has made history on campus. In the early 1960s, a small group of students gathered on the steps where then-presidential candidate John F. Kennedy delivered a speech urging the students to help the country. This later became the Peace Corps program. (Volunteers work with young people to encourage engagement and active citizenship.)
During the Vietnam Wars, the campus was packed with students protesting for peace.

So both the university and the stadium were shown in the past and still are places of important events today.

We'll have one more stop here in Dearborn, and then we'll go to Traverse City.

Additional Photos

Map - Fair Lane - Dearborn, MI