Experience History in Greenfield Village

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Over 40 years ago, I got to experience history in Henry Ford Greenfield Village for a “day of school” in the Scotch Settlement School House. From that day, I fell in love with hands on historic learning, and visiting historic places and homes.

Greenfield Village is located in Dearborn, Michigan and became a National Landmark in 1987. Dearborn is hometown to the famous Ford Motor Company, and our hometown before moving to Central Florida. We loved living in a city with such deep historic roots in this country. Thankfully Henry Ford saw the importance of preserving history in such a unique way. 

“I am collecting the history of our people, as written into things their hands made and used. When we are through, we shall have reproduced American life as lived, and that, is the best way of preserving at least a part of our history and tradition.”

Henry Ford

Greenfield Village is an 80 acre sanctuary filled with over 300 years of America’s spirit to make things happen! It also makes it one of the best educational travel destinations. Perfect for traveling homeschoolers. Over many years, and several visits to Greenfield Village, here are some must sees. 

Working Farms

Firestone Farm

Greenfield Village at The Henry Ford

Firestone is our favorite of the 6 working farms. Tire maker Harvey Firestone, was raised in this house by his parents Benjamin and Catherine. The fields are re-created from the original 1880’s Firestone Farm. 

Soybean Laboratory

Home to the nationally renowned collection of agricultural tools and equipment. Henry Ford collected many of the items himself. 

Liberty Craftworkers

Loranger Mills

Showcases the grain milling processes you walk through,

but it’s a great photo backdrop. Or even pretty on it’s own. 

Pottery Shop 

Pottery is made daily to demonstrate the process, but you can also purchase the handmade items. 

Weaving Shop

Just like the pottery, the weaving shop you can watch first hand as they weave items, which you can purchase. 

Glass Blowing

There is also glass blowing, that is so amazing to watch. Sadly I don’t have any pictures from inside the glass blowing shop. 

Historic Rides

Herschell-Spillman Carousel

Greenfield Village at The Henry Ford

When we last visited in 2018, the carousel was 105 years old!! It was built in 1913 in North Tonawanda, New York. What’s most unique about this Herschell-Spillman made carousel?? Not only is it the only carousel with giant green frogs, but they are the only carousel animals to wear human clothing!! 

Model T

Take a ride in a Ford Model T. We did this when we visited in 2012. They drive you through the streets of the village. Great way to see more of Greenfield Village too. 

Weiser Railroad

Greenfield Village at The Henry Ford

The Detroit & Lima Northern Railway takes you around the edges of the village, and even beyond. Above all, you are able to get different views, and give your feet a much needed break. 

Horse-Drawn Carriage Ride

Greenfield Village at The Henry Ford

We’ve never taken a carriage ride. However, I still wanted to mention it. Really not sure why we’ve never done it, so I guess I need to make sure I do next time we visit.

Henry Ford’s Model T

Ford Home

Greenfield Village at The Henry Ford

Definitely a must see. I mean, this is the home Henry lived in. Ford grew up in this farmhouse with his parents and 5 siblings. Growing up on a farm, and disliking his chores, he realized farm life was not for him. 

Henry Ford Theater

Greenfield Village at The Henry Ford

A replica of the workshop Ford built for his son Edsel. Inside, you can watch a short movie of inspiring moments from Ford’s life that led him to follow his dream. 

Ford Motor Company

This replica building was built in Greenfield Village. However, it is only one-quarter the size of his original building, but still worth peeking at the beginnings of a company that changed our country. 

Edison at Work

Menlo Park Complex

Built in Greenfield Village in 1929, with some of the structures from the original complex. Edison’s lab in Menlo Park, NJ is where he developed the electric lighting system, and many of his other inventions. 

Greenfield Village at The Henry Ford

On the 50 year anniversary of the light bulb, in 1929, Ford had Edison re-enact the moment. After photographing the memory, Ford insisted they nail the chair to the floor in remembrance of the day. Therefore, this year will mark it’s 90th anniversary. 

Sarah Jordan Boarding House

Greenfield Village at The Henry Ford

Ford’s youngest worker, Francis Gale, was still alive when the boarding house was moved to Greenfield Village. Therefore, Francis was able to direct Ford’s people to set the home up just like Francis remembered it. In other words, the furniture looks similar to what Francis remembered, but is not the actual furniture from the home. 

Main Street

Village Green

Be sure to check out what kinds of fun activities they have in the Village Green, because there are all kinds of fun period time games. This time the girls got to try out their talents with some stilts, and they had fun!!

In addition, the Village Green is also a great area to take your packed lunch, and have a picnic. Although they do have several restaurant options.

Scotch Settlement School

Greenfield Village at The Henry Ford

This is the school house I attended for my “day of school” at Greenfield Village. I believe I was in 3rd grade. Itwas built in 1861 in the area of Dearborn, Michigan called The Scotch Settlement. Ford attended this one room schoolhouse from around age 8 to 11. He actually restored the school, had it moved to Greenfield Village, and used it as a classroom.

Dr. Howard’s Office

Greenfield Village at The Henry Ford
Check it out!!! HOPS!!!

One of my favorites is Dr. Howard’s office, from Tekonsha, Michigan. Can you believe he attended two medical schools, but didn’t graduate?? However, he just returned home, and became a doctor.

Being into natural living, I love how his office shows he made his own syrups and pills from herbs, roots, and barks. 

Look at these prices for a doctor’s services!!

Logan County Court House

Greenfield Village at The Henry Ford

This is the favorite of our oldest daughter. She always liked Abe Lincoln, so for her to walk into a courthouse where Lincoln practiced law, was memorable. Built in 1840 in Postville (now Lincoln), Illinois.

Lincoln tried cases here between 1840 and 1847, before being elected president. 

Martha-Mary Chapel

Greenfield Village at The Henry Ford

This chapel was built in honor of Ford’s mother, Mary, and his Mother-in-law, Martha. Built in the “center of town” just like during Colonial times. In addition to being the focal point of Main Street, and the Village Garden, the chapel is used for actual weddings!

Cohen Millinery

Elizabeth Cohen, a Detroit resident, and young widow, lived above her store. Therefore, being a widow, she was able to take care of her children. In addition, she was able to and work to support them. The girls had fun trying on hats in the shop. 

Porches & Parlors

Ackley Covered Bridge

Bridges, like Ackley Covered Bridge, connected busy roads and towns. Wood for this bridge came from the Daniel and Joshua Ackley Farms. Built over Wheeling Creek in West Finley, Pennsylvania in 1832. Another pretty location for taking pictures. 

Farris Windmill

Thought to be the oldest windmill in the United States, Farris Windmill was built in the mid 1600’s. It operated in Cape Cod, Massachusetts and allowed grain farmers to mill different grades of flour. 

Daggett Farmhouse

Built in 1754 in Andover, Connecticut, the farmhouse features the life of bartering. Both Samuel and Anna Daggett did a variety of things.For instance, building houses, making furniture, spinning yarn, making clothing, and teaching their children. In other words, family members acquired many skills in addition to those needed just to survive. This allowed them to trade with others for what they needed. 

Cotswold Cottage

I just love the Cotswold Cottage, with its beautiful limestone, and flower gardens. It was built in the early 1600’s in Chedworth, Gloucestershire, England. We love taking pictures around this home.

In addition to it being a beautiful place for photos, they also offer tea, pastries, and sandwiches in the garden during selected times.

Robert Frost Home

A special home to me, because when I was in school, I deeply enjoyed poetry. The Road Not Taken had impact on me during my middle school years. Therefore, seeing It framed on a wall, inside his home brings back so many memories!

I can only imagine what it must have been like to be a student at University of Michigan, and be invited to his home to talk poetry.

Luther Burbank Birthplace

Luther was a naturalist who experimented with plants, fruits, and vegetables. He developed many new varieties of fruits, vegetables, flowers, trees, grains, and grasses. For instance, his most popular would be the Russet Burbank potato, which is the world’s most cultivated potato.

The girls like going into the house for the dolls. You know we loved the Marvel ones. You can even pay to make your own doll. 

Mattox Family Home

Amos and Grace Mattox were descendants of enslaved African-Americans. Their home was built around 1880 in Bryan County, Georgia, by Amos’s father. The land was purchased by his grandfather, Amos Morel. As seen in our video, The Mattox family lined the walls and ceiling with newspaper because it was the best way insulate the home for cool Georgia nights.  

“We ought to know more about the families who founded this nation, and how they lived. One way to do that is to reconstruct as nearly as possible the conditions under which they lived.” 

Henry Ford

I hope you enjoyed a partial walk through Greenfield Village. There is so much more to see, but these are just some of our favorites. Getting to experience history in Greenfield Village as a child is one of the most memorable places for me.

What are some of your most memorable places you visited as a child? A favorite field trip? Your favorite places to experience history? Come share with us on Instagram!!

More things to do in Michigan, Check out:

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Share Our Happy!!

Julie Gazdecki

Julie is owner and founder of How We Find Happy. As an optimist, the name is perfect as we share the ways we find happy living in Florida, visiting breweries, spending time with our adult children, and getting away on some couples trips. As previous residents of Michigan, we still spend lots of time each year visiting our family up there, along with new and favorite places. My hope is to encourage others to spend time exploring this beautiful world, and finding happy in unexpected places.

38 thoughts on “Experience History in Greenfield Village

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  • Lisa Manderino

    This looks like a really cool place and really big? Looks like they have a lot to offer!

  • Tricia Snow

    Wow, this looks so cool. I would have not considered this before reading this post. Thanks for the tip!

  • I think my kids might spend all their time in the pottery shop. hah. I, however, would spend all day exploring. Such great history.

  • Lee Anne

    I keep seeing great stuff about Michigan that makes me want to send it to the top of my list of places to visit!! SO much awesome stuff here!!

  • Wow, what an incredible little place to explore! I’d never heard of it before. Thank you! 🙂

  • I love visiting working farms. They offer a great variety and depth to what life was like long ago in that particular area.

  • Greenfield Village looks like my kind of place. I love history, and I’d love to learn more about Henry Ford. You’ve put this place on my radar. Thank you!

  • My Dad would take me fishing at a local park. I have so many great memories of catching fish with him. I think a “day of school” in the Scotch Settlement School House would be fun.

  • I thoroughly enjoyed this partial walking tour through Greenfield Village as you know I’m all about history. So would love to visit! I think the most memorable field trip I took as a child was to a place believed to be a station for the Underground Railroad.

  • That is so cool to visit all these historical places and buildings, and to share with the kids.

  • Flo casiez

    How fun!! Makes you go back in time.

  • I love historic places, towns, living history, etc… This place looks fantastic and it is on the bucket list for Michigan.

  • The cottage looks so beautiful with the gardens and all. I love seeing beautiful historical buildings like that!

  • Julie Gazdecki

    They have a lot to offer. There’s a museum too. Planning to go there this summer! Haven’t been there in years.

  • Julie Gazdecki

    Great! Happy to fill you in. It really is a neat place of history!

  • Julie Gazdecki

    The kids would find so many interesting things!!

  • Julie Gazdecki

    It should be up there!! WE love it, and miss many things about it. I have lots more to share.

  • Julie Gazdecki

    So much American history in one place!! Everyone should visit!

  • Julie Gazdecki

    They worked hard, long days, but life seemed so much more simple back then.

  • Julie Gazdecki

    You would love it. And there are so many more things to do in the area!! Like Ford’s home, his Edsel’s home, and more!

  • Julie Gazdecki

    What wonderful memories. I used to fish with my dad too. Means so much to me still.

  • Julie Gazdecki

    Wow!! Where was the station? I would enjoy something like that myself. You would love Greenfield Village!

  • Julie Gazdecki

    I’m happy my kids enjoy it as much as I do!!

  • Julie Gazdecki

    Then you will love Greenfield Village!!

  • Julie Gazdecki

    Us too!! And the cottage is my favorite!! Hoping to do tea there one day!

  • I’ve never heard of Greenfield Village, but it looks like so much fun! I love historic homes. The music you chose for your video is super cute!

  • Taci- Life Beyond Zebra

    What a great way to experience history!

  • Wow, so much to do and see here. I enjoy places like this. The pottery looks beautiful.

  • I love all things that have an historical component. My undergrad degree is in History! The cottage looks fantastic with the colorful gardens. Love it!

  • Julie Gazdecki

    Thank you!! If you love historic homes, then you need to go!!

  • Julie Gazdecki

    One of the best ways!!

  • Julie Gazdecki

    Let me know when you head to Michigan!!

  • Julie Gazdecki

    With an undergrad in history, you would love the wide variety of history here.

  • We’ve only been to Michigan for a long weekend and wedding but always thought there was more to it. From history like this to apparently really nice beaches, I think I need to plan a more in depth trip to Michigan

  • Julie Gazdecki

    Yes, you should. Michigan has a lot to offer!

  • We have not visited Michigan yet even though we have been all around it! Thanks for all of the ideas for when we do make it there!

  • Julie Gazdecki

    Hope you make it there. I may be biased, but so much to see and do there.

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