You think of Henry Ford. You visit the Henry Ford Museum. Now it is time to visit a very special place: the Greenfield Village.
You enter the Greenfield Village. Many structures from across the United States await you. You can see Henry Ford’s House, walk through the Firestone Farm, see Thomas Edison’s homestead and his laboratory where he made the lightbulb, see Noah Webster’s home, passing by farms, walk through villages, ride a merry-go round and see artisans do their work. You can walk, take a classic bus, ride in a horse drawn carriage and ride around in a Model T. Oh, this is just a tiny sampling of what is in the village. There are seven historic districts, and many of the villagers are in period attire. As you make your way around the Greenfield Village, you will be transported to a very different place. There is something very special about the Greenfield Village.
Some of you are saying, “That is very cool. I love reading about Henry Ford, and the Greenfield Village looks like a very great place to spend a day. However, I do not see anything special about this village unless you have railroads here.”
As mentioned, the Greenfield Village is a very special place. The numerous historic structures give you a look inside the world of Henry Ford’s world. Yes, he is known for the famous Model T, but he also had a heart for the railroad, and the railroad has a very special place in the Greenfield Village. In matter of fact, the first thing that you see as you enter the village is the depot. It is here where you can ride the Weiser Railroad on a restored steam locomotive on a three mile route around the village with three different stops. It is a great way to get a great overview of the village plus a few things that can only be seen from the train. For rail fans, this will be one of the special reasons to visit the village, and the ride will be one to remember.
The train ride is one special reason for rail fans to visit the Greenfield Village. If that does not satisfy them, here is another reason.
As mentioned earlier, the Greenfield Village is split into seven historic districts. One of those districts is Railroad Junction. The centerpiece of this district is the Detroit, Toledo and Milwaukee Roundhouse. Originally built in 1884 in Marshall, Michigan and rebuilt in 2000 in the village, you can take a walk through the roundhouse and see some of the restoration work taking place. Of course, what is a roundhouse without a turntable? If you are fortunate enough, you can see the turntable in action. You will also find a coaling tower used to fill the coal cars with coal and a water tower.
Then you have the Smith’s Creek Depot. Originally built in 1859 in Smith’s Creek, Michigan for the Grand Trunk Railroad, it was a not just depot where passengers caught the train but also served as a post office and as the station master’s residence as many old small town depots did. It was here where Thomas Edison sold newspapers and candy when he was just a boy. Today, it is at the Greenfield Village, and it is still an active depot not for the Grand Trunk Railroad but for the Weiser Railroad where, if you are tired, you can ride back to the main entrance.
The Greenfield Village is part of what is called ‘The Henry Ford’ which features the Greenfield Village, Henry Ford Museum, the Ford Rouge Factory Tour and the Giant Screen Experience. It is located at 20900 Oakwood Boulevard in Dearborn, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. Unlike the museum, the Greenfield Village is only open from April to December (9:30am to 5:30pm April to November and evenings in December). Admission is $26.00 for adults and includes a visit to the Railroad Junction. Train rides plus rides on other vehicles cost extra. (Unlimited daily ride pass is $16.00.) You can go to www.thehenryford,org to get all of the details.
Is the Greenfield Village at The Henry Ford on your place of places to see? It must be. It will be an experience that is three hundred years in the making.