Meandering around Fair Lane Estate – Part II

I have visited the Fair Lane Estate multiple times the past few years. While walking through the woodsy area of the Rouge Gateway Trail, if one stays on the Trail, then veers left, there is easy access to view and/or stroll Fair Lane’s extensive grounds. Ongoing renovations to the entire Estate began in 2014, but inside renovations were curtailed in 2020 due to the pandemic and have resumed with no stated date for completion.

Last Monday’s post focused on the grounds of the Estate, including the Manor; the Fords moved into their home in 1915 and lived there until their respective deaths in 1947 (Henry) and 1950 (Clara). You can click here if you missed that post.

Clara Ford loved flowers and the 17 acres of gardens which are part of the Ford Estate would be the envy of any gardener, both back in its heyday and even now. There are many perennial and wildflower gardens, plus a courtyard filled with roses … thousands of roses. In its heyday, Clara could stand at the copper-roofed Tea House and gaze upon 10,000 different rose bushes, some 350 rose varieties, which lined up along the perimeter of the courtyard and surround the courtyard’s fountain.

Although the many birdhouses at the Estate are long gone, at one time there were 500 large and rather ornate birdhouses placed around the grounds, on tall poles or hung from trees. That was Henry Ford’s doing, as he was an ornithophile (bird lover) and enjoyed watching his feathered friends.

The facts and figures about the gardens and birdhouse tell you why a contingent of 26 full-time gardeners were needed to maintain the property.

This post is going to focus on the passions of the Fords … Clara’s flowers and Henry’s birds. I visited the Persian Lilac walkway in May 2021 [click here if you missed that post] and returned mid-Summer 2021 to see the roses in bloom. They were exquisite. I am sure you will agree. I’ll bet they were even more beautiful during the 30 years the couple resided at Fair Lane Estate.

Don’t forget to stop and smell the roses.” ~Walter Hagen

The original garden featured tea roses, roses with a single bud, often prone to disease, but later all the roses were replaced with sturdier and disease-resistant shrub roses. Well I can identify with this swapping of roses as I did the same thing. My original rose gardens similarly were tea roses, but waiting forever for one bloom, then a rain or windstorm might scatter the petals was frustrating, so I replaced my original rose bushes with hardy Home Run Shrub Roses a few years later.

So come along through this wooden gate and take a look at Clara Ford’s rose garden. I wish I could create a panoramic view of the garden, but had to do various shots instead.

In 1930, Clara and Henry Ford visited England where they toured an old estate and admired the iron gate. Clara asked Henry if he thought the estate would sell it to them for her garden. Henry said he doubted they would part with it, so Clara forgot about the gate. Two weeks later when they returned from their trip abroad, Clara went out to check her gardens and discovered the same iron gate separating the perennial garden from her rose garden.

I found a few vintage photos and want to include them in this post. Unlike the photos that are featured around the Estate which were okay to photograph, I’m not about to tread on anyone’s toes regarding copyright issues, so I’ll include the links to three vintage photos from the Henry Ford Organization digital archives,in this post.

The first photo is Clara and Henry Ford standing at the above-mentioned gate and you can access it by clicking here.

The Tea House is located at the other end of the rose garden.

The life-sized bronze sculpture of Clara and Henry Ford was installed near the Tea House in 2018. The sculpture, which took 25 people and 18 months to complete was created by world-renowned Brooklyn-based StudioEIS and gifted to the Estate by Lynn Ford Alandt, the great-granddaughter of Henry and Clara. The life-sized bronze likenesses feature the couple with the Power House in the background. Henry Ford, at 5 feet 10 inches tall with a top hat in his right hand, rests his left hand on Clara’s lower back as she sits in her garden hat gazing toward her rose garden.

Clara was an avid gardener, so there were several gardens on the Estate,the most famous being the rose garden and English-style gardens, but back in the day her peony and rock gardens were also renowned as you see in these vintage pictures which I photographed at the Estate.

Henry Ford loved nature and wildlife.

Henry Ford, a brilliant inventor, had a soft spot in his heart for wildlife, which he said began when the four-year-old Henry watched, alongside his brother, as their parents pointed out a Sparrow’s nest containing four eggs in a fallen tree. This event fostered Henry’s life-long fascination with birds. Henry hired an artist to document many scenes revolving around his workshops, inventions and life at Fair Lane, so Henry commissioned this artist, Irvin Bacon, to recreate that fond scene in a painting for him.

Please click here to see the painting of young Henry Ford and his family circa 1867 from the Henry Ford Organization digital archives.

Fair Lane had over 500 birdhouses and an equal number of bird baths which were heated in the cold weather for his fine-feathered friends. Henry’s love of birds extended way past the grounds of Fair Lane as he used his influence to ensure passage of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act in 1918, the first national legislation geared to protect migrating birds and prohibit poaching.

Also, in looking through the Henry Ford Organization digital archives, I discovered this photo of Henry with a telescope enjoying the many birds that lived on the Estate. Click here to view that photo.

Below is a quote about Henry’s vast collection of birds:

“About ten years ago we imported a great number of birds from abroad – yellow-hammers, chaffinches, green finches, red pales, twits, bullfinches, jays, linnets, larks – some five hundred of them. They stayed around for a while, but where they are now I do not know. I shall not import any more. Birds are entitled to live where they want to live.” – Henry Ford

After I published the first post last Monday, several of you asked if I saw any birds around the Estate and were surprised to learn I did not. I only saw bees and butterflies enjoying the many flowers. I didn’t see any of the birdhouses or birdbaths and I wonder if they will once again fill the grounds once the renovations are complete? Perhaps I’ll poke around and see if I can get an answer to that question. Currently, you must be a member/donor at this organization to learn the status of the ongoing renovations.

In visiting Fair Lane Estate and its grounds, plus wading through significant online history to complete these posts, I think that Fair Lane was more than simply another jewel acquired by the Fords. Can you really call a 56-room mansion and extensive grounds a “home” in the sense that you and I define a home? Well, perhaps on a much-grander scale, but I like that the Fords not only enjoyed the opulence of their home in a manner befitting an automobile magnate and his wife, but they also used Fair Lane to fuel their respective passions: Henry for his brilliant ideas and forward thinking more than a century ago and, because the Fords enjoyed nature, Henry had his birds and Clara had her flowers – most of all they had each other, a beautiful love story that lasted until Henry’s passing in 1947.

About Linda Schaub

This is my first blog and I enjoy writing each and every post immensely. I started a walking regimen in 2011 and decided to create a blog as a means of memorializing the people, places and things I see on my daily walks. I have always enjoyed people watching, and so my blog is peppered with folks I meet, or reflections of characters I have known through the years. Often something piques my interest, or evokes a pleasant memory from my memory bank, so this becomes a “slice o’ life” blog post that day. I respect and appreciate nature and my interaction with Mother Nature’s gifts is also a common theme. Sometimes the most-ordinary items become fodder for points to ponder over and touch upon. My career has been in the legal field and I have been a legal secretary for four decades, primarily working in downtown Detroit, and now working from my home. I graduated from Wayne State University with a degree in print journalism in 1978, though I’ve never worked in that field. I like to think this blog is the writer in me finally emerging!! Walking and writing have met and shaken hands and the creative juices are flowing once again in Walkin’, Writin’, Wit & Whimsy – hope you think so too. - Linda Schaub
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106 Responses to Meandering around Fair Lane Estate – Part II

  1. peggy says:

    What a great place to take a walk. I can see why you like going to this lovely neighborhood. I enjoyed all the great photos you took. A bit of history was a nice touch to this post. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Glad you liked it Peggy. I’m glad I finally got these posts done… I kept pushing them off to the side because I did want to include that bit of history and I knew it would take awhile to compile.

      Liked by 1 person

      • peggy says:

        That was a very long post – which took a lot of effort on your part. I am too lazy to make a post that long. My excuses – A messy husband to follow around and clean after, garden season, housework and old age. Ha

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        I do tell myself not to have so many pictures, but since I am telling a story about what I saw, the posts end up being long. You are right Peggy – these two posts about the Ford Estate were a lot of work. I know I could have just posted the photos, but wanted to include some history in there as well to make it interesting, so that took a while to get the posts written. I don’t have a messy husband, but do have a messy house and in a few more weeks and warmer weather (maybe), yardwork will rear its ugly head and there will be more to do. Our all-day rain today will encourage the lawn and weeds to grow.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I love that painting of Henry discovering the bird nest with eggs with his parents. It was also nice to learn that he decided to stop importing birds and that he finally realized that they “are entitled to live where they want to live.” It would be nice if the birdhouses were brought back and some birds started living in these beautiful gardens. Somehow it would make the scenery with all those stunning flowers and roses more complete. Those life-sized bronze sculptures are amazing works of art. It’s so hard to imagine being so wealthy!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Linda Schaub says:

      I really liked that painting too Barbara – he remembered that instance all those years ago. What a nice memento of the occasion to have. I contacted the Estate today and heard back from them and they do not intend to put the birdhouses back when the renovations are complete. They want to keep it natural looking at the Estate and said: “Due to our relationship with the University of Michigan Dearborn, and their Environmental Interpretation Center, I don’t believe we’ll be installing the birdhouses and birdbaths the way that Clara and Henry would have. Henry was certainly a bird lover, and he loved having numerous birdhouses throughout the Grounds, but our team is respecting the environmental studies currently underway by not installing too many unnatural habitats.”

      (That surprised me – it would enhance the Estate in my opinion; University of Michigan satellite campus is next to the Estate.)

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m sorry to hear that the birdhouses won’t be coming back. But they might have a point, if there are enough “natural habitats” on the property perhaps a lot of birds will return and build nests in trees and other natural nooks and crannies. I’ve also read that birdhouses need a cleaning every year, so that would be a lot of extra work for the gardeners.

        Since we stopped feeding the birds here we are amazed at how many we still see, especially in the birch tree outside our kitchen window. Last fall after the leaves fell, a nest was revealed deep in the branches. And it’s fun to watch the chickadees pecking at the bark for insects all summer.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        You do have a point I didn’t think about Barbara – the birds might favor that “natural habitat” and actually thrive in it, building their nests in the trees and in a natural habitat, without the need for all the birdhouses. I like watching the Chickadees at the Park when I put down sunflower seeds. They are the cutest and perkiest birds.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Its’s all so beautiful. I wish all wealthy moguls (do they call them oligarchs now?) had such noble passions.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pam says:

    Fab post, Linda. And what a cool iron gate!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thank you Pam – I thought it was a cool iron gate too. Imagine her surprise when she got home and found the iron gate installed in the garden. Lucky he used his connections to get it for her.

      Like

  5. Anne says:

    Your photographs are both interesting and lovely to look at.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Great story showcasing Ford’s passions Linda! They should put bird houses around the property. Ford would have loved that!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thank you Wayne – I’m glad you liked it. I will admit that I did not know that Henry Ford was a nature lover and bird lover, nor that he helped push through the legislation to protect birds. If you go to the Henry Ford Museum at Greenfield Village, you see what he created as to the car, but I never knew the other characteristics of this man. I learned today from a Facebook inquiry I sent to the Estate asking about the birdhouses that: “Due to our relationship with the University of Michigan Dearborn, and their Environmental Interpretation Center, I don’t believe we’ll be installing the birdhouses and birdbaths the way that Clara and Henry would have. Henry was certainly a bird lover, and he loved having numerous birdhouses throughout the Grounds, but our team is respecting the environmental studies currently underway by not installing too many unnatural habitats.” The University of Michigan Dearborn campus is next to the Estate. Last year when I went to see the lilacs, they were having an outside commencement for those grads.

      Like

  7. Joni says:

    Great post Linda! I can’t imagine that many rose bushes, and number of varieties. If I lived close I would visit every week if I could – the grounds look so peaceful, plus I’m dying to get a look at the inside of the house.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thank you Joni! I knew you would like seeing the roses as you have so many of your own, which look like these. My photos don’t do the roses justice as I could not take a picture of the entire courtyard so you could see just how many roses there are. Can you imagine 10,000 rosebushes in its heyday? Today I decided to follow the Estate on Facebook to get any updates. Unfortunately you have to be a donor/member to get updates but they’ll have some info on FB. When I looked last year re: the lilacs, they had a plant sale. While there, I did ask about the birdhouses appearing again once the renovation was complete, but they responded they are not going to be doing so due to the environmental studies at nearby University of Michigan’s satellite campus.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        I would love to go to that plant sale….it’s hard to find those old heirloom lilac trees, as the new ones only last ten years and don’t have the same smell IMO. I’m looking for two new lilac bushes to plant this year, and that’s it for landscaping, other than a few baskets.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        I bought the Little Miss Kim bush in the mid-90s and it only bloomed last year for the first time which makes no sense does it? My lilac trees are getting sparse so I have to find out how to prune them properly and maybe fertilize them with a liquid fertilizer,. My neighbor’s wisteria was choking the one lilac tree but he took it down last year. Another dreary, rain-soaked day tomorrow.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        I have two lilac bushes, one is half dead and the other is sparse branchwise plus the flowers have been very skimpy for the past few years. Pruning at the wrong time means no flowers the next spring, but don’t ask me when is the right time as my grasscutter does it for me. I’m looking for two new bushes for a different spot, as the neighbours cut down their privacy hedge when they redid their lawn last year, and lilac bushes tend to be fast growers. I hate looking into their yard, even if it is a distance away. They all seem to be dreary, rain soaked days lately, but at least things are greening.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        The weather is horrid and when it doesn’t rain, it is gray and gloomy, like today. The sun-soaked days are supposedly on the way beginning Mother’s Day (according to several meteorologists). The trees aren’t out here, except for the ones that blossom, but other trees have not leafed out yet. I know you prune when they are done blooming and there was just an article I read a few minutes ago on Birds and Blooms website on FB. It told when to prune various bushes and lilacs was among . I will find it and send it in a separate post to you Joni.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        I thought if you pruned right after they bloomed, then they wouldn’t bloom the next spring?

        Like

      • Linda Schaub says:

        Hmm – you know, before Lowes and Home Depot came on the scene and even my Meijer store sells not only plants but trees/shrubs/bushes, you could go to a nursery and they usually had a Master Gardener on staff and they’d give you answers. I just was Googling around as there was a show on WJR radio every Saturday afternoon. I would listen to it and my mom would listen to it if I wasn’t around and write down pointers. I didn’t know they cancelled it … I’ve not listened in years. The guy had a Masters Degree and was on staff at MSU and knew the answer to anything you’d ask him about gardening, diseases of trees/plants/bushes. I called in a few times for my climbing rose which was disease prone.

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      • Linda Schaub says:

        Here is the post I just read Joni. I save a lot of “Birds and Blooms” posts for reference later, but I know I have to put some effort into my lilac trees as they are too sparse lately. Don’t let the date of the article bother you as they recycle their posts all the time. They have info on hummingbirds almost daily.

        https://www.birdsandblooms.com/gardening/growing-trees-shrubs-grasses/when-to-prune-trees/

        Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        Thanks Linda……but I’m still confused as to how soon after? While the blooms are still on? If you wait a few weeks then you’re getting rid of old wood? “Prune spring flowering shrubs like forsythia and lilac right after flowering to maintain early flowers while controlling growth. These plants form their flower buds on old wood from the previous growing season.

        Like

      • Linda Schaub says:

        I just looked on Birds and Blooms to see if they had a “contact us” page and it is only customer service re: subscriptions. I did know at one time. All the huge nurseries here have closed down and Lowes and Home Depot I think may have a general knowledge only. I will ask Sabine – she is a fellow blogger and I sent you photos of her lilacs and butterflies or hummingbirds one time. I’ll forward what she says – she lives in Oregon, so warmer than us.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        Thanks Linda…..I think my grasscutter pruned them shortly after blooming and then the next year they did not bloom at all, and haven’t really much sense. I might get 4 or 5 blooms on one bush, and 1 or 2 on the other. The corner they are planted has become too shady from the neighbours tree.

        Like

      • Linda Schaub says:

        I think the shade is messing my lilacs up too. I just wrote Sabine on this post and asked her – hers were beautiful. I don’t get many either.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        could be the cold winter. Hardly any of my tulips came up from the 30 I planted, and some that are there are really stunted/short.

        Like

      • Linda Schaub says:

        This stupid weather – it was cold this morning and 20 mph wind. I walked at the Park today, then went over to that house with all the yard art and plants. I was there a couple of years ago and took photos of all their tulips. Today, they had some, but nothing like before and didn’t see any of the pale pink ones they had before. Sabine gave me some tips and I sent them to you. Sabine said she can take photos too of how she cuts them. My lilacs aren’t out and there is a house on a corner with a huge lilac bush … I looked today and it’s not even in bud yet.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        Thanks Linda…but I think my current bushes are beyond hope. They are too sparse and too shady now. It was bright and sunny here, but a cold March like wind with no warmth to the sun at all. I remember the lilac bushes were always out on the farm on mother’s day. I will reply to your gmails on Monday.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        I always thought we had lilacs by Mother’s Day also. We have some magnolias and other flowering trees, but no lilacs yet. It was still cold and windy this morning. I walked again, but got back without taking pictures so accomplished more in the house today – yesterday I got sidetracked by the three sets of goslings at Council Point Park. More pictures. Take your time – just read the long ones – not necessary to respond.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. This post is gorgeous, and I enjoyed knowing more about Henry and Clara.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Glad you liked the post Anne – you, having seen or toured so many historical buildings while living in Europe, would give you an appreciation of the manor and the grounds. I researched the history of the Estate and Clara and Henry and really enjoyed reading about this couple beyond just as the auto magnate and his wife who lived here.

      Like

  9. trumstravels says:

    That place is fantastic! They must have hired a lot of staff to clean the house lol. The gate is truly beautiful, what a work of art .

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Eilene Lyon says:

    Enjoyed learning some of the history of the estate. That is too bad they won’t be reinstalling birdhouses. I think it would be more help than harm. The scent of all those roses must be overpowering!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Glad you enjoyed the post Eilene. I learned a lot in researching some of the history for these two posts, especially this one. I knew about Clara and her flowers from my first visit, but I had no idea the extent that Henry went to entice birds to come to the Estate and his work in protecting them. I also think birdhouses would enhance the grounds, rather than do any harm. The scent was overpowering, especially because they had just been watered and it was Summer, so it was humid as well.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Eloquent writing about this place through the lens of nature!! Your personable and curious writer’s voice are distinct and that makes learning about this historical place and couple intriguing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thank you Esther – wow, you will swell my head! I usually don’t write about history in my posts and actually I like this post better than the Part I post as I researched into Henry and Clara more. I had no idea the side of Henry that was so involved with nature and his birds. I learned all kinds of facts and figures about the two of them that I never knew before. I like that they didn’t seem stuffy or stodgy to me but “real people” who lived here.

      Like

  12. Ally Bean says:

    Tea roses! I haven’t seen any in years. What a quaint reference to the past. I love the iron gates, but wouldn’t want to be responsible for their upkeep. Your photos show a tranquil setting that seems oddly perfect for that large home– that is a mansion I don’t care what you say.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      My first venture into gardening and I picked all tea roses. They are not hardy and I covered them with Styrofoam cones every Winter – essentially babied them. Then I got climbing roses (three bare roots bushes ordered from Jackson & Perkins to merge into one climber on an umbrella trellis). Another mistake – black spot galore and I spent a fortune on rose spray for all its issues. Ripped the climbers out and planted hydrangeas and ripped the tea roses out and planted shrub roses. Sigh. You’re right Ally – it is a mansion plunked in the middle of a natural and peaceful setting.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. What a visually beautiful and informative tour of this gorgeous estate! You sure know how to combine the history and current state. I love roses and of course birds and would love a place like that. But maybe not as big unless I had help with it. Great post, Linda! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Glad you liked the post Sabine. I decided to delve into Fair Lane and the Fords’ history a little bit to make the gardens tour more interesting. I thought I studied about Henry Ford back in the day, but I never knew about how he enjoyed nature and birds. It would be a monumental task to be a gardener or caretaker in this place!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I was just thinking that perhaps people back then were smarter than people are today. Ford’s garden and love and care for nature and the critters was a perfect balance with automotive part of his life.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        Yes, you’re right Sabine. Back when the pandemic began, people started getting more into nature, tending gardens, enjoying nature but I wonder how many people kept up the trend as pandemic restrictions continue to ease? The perfect work-life balance worked for him … we should follow that example. I’m trying, if the weather would cooperate more. Today we had an all-day soaking rain.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I wouldn’t worry about what’s perfect. Do it as it fits your schedule and work hours and don’t forget to enjoy it in the moment. I often dread having to weed, then I do it and find it incredibly therapeutic. Anything that makes one feel better is good.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        I debate each Summer about whether to restore my backyard garden to how it looked in 2010 before I began walking and the Polar Vortex wiped out so many of my perennials a few years later. Maybe when retired and can enjoy it more but the erratic weather issues also niggles at me as well.

        Liked by 1 person

  14. Prior... says:

    A beautiful love story indeed and the bronze sculpture of the pair seems t complete the property – very important to have them “there”
    That way.
    Enjoyed this post and part one – and glad to learn about a tea rose

    And do you remember talking about the lilacs when I said the first house we owned had a gardener as a former homeowner – her name was Ruth – well this post again reminded me of her because she put in strong iron doors on the front and to the back (double doors there) and only after we moved out did I realize how expensive those doors were – and the gate here reminded me of her as did the roses – because she had all those darn rose bushes waiting for us in the front- sigh…

    Anyhow – I define a home uch different as well – and it can be so relative. I cannot imagine son folks owning multiple large mansions around the world – but they do!
    Anyhow – this estate being donated and preserved is a special gift to society!
    Thanks for these wonderful posts about the estate

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      The sculpture is pretty amazing to see Yvette … not only life-sized, but also very intricate details. I think the sculpture is perfect to honor Clara and Henry and their dedication to and appreciation of the flora and fauna at Fair Lane. That’s really something about your heavy doors. I think it was such a nice gesture for Henry to order that gate as a surprise for Clara … I get it – they are not the same as you and me, but they’re more like real people, than a lot of the millionaires today.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Prior... says:

        Hi Linda – well I think the Millionaires of back then are the billionaires of today! And whew – I will say that with “much” comes much responsibility – also – the stats show that they are not usually content – enough is not reached and some can get funky – like Howard Hughes – and for others it just becomes a way of life – for years I had two quotes from 1992 that I used to share with folks – Bonnie Rait was asked how does she felt “now that she was successful” and she replied something like “It feels great now that I have made money and more sales – but I’ve been successful all along to just be a Musician”
        And Sylvester Stallone said something about how after he made big money – his issue and problems stayed the same (still had to learn how to be a spouse and meet his own needs etc) but his back account just had a lot more zeroes….

        And on the Minimalism show the guys showed research that showed people with large houses (nothing near the Ford estate here ) but 4 and 5 thousand square feet – well they recorded their movement and found they only resided in a small space within that dwelling – sigh!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        That’s interesting about those people who are mega-wealthy Yvette. It is true, if you have problems to begin with, money is not the answer to every problem and, if you don’t have your health, all the money in the world cannot help you out. As to the Minimalism show, interesting how people in a large house stay in very small portion of it – the rest is all for show!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Prior... says:

        And the rest of the house might really meet needs for parties or for times they have family over
        And so it is not maybe only for show – ya know? Plus part of our culture in the US is just used to big – right? We see some homes having domes in the entry way now – sigh….
        but I won’t judge because I guess it is truly relative. And even the rich might compare up and feel
        Less than because their yacht only has one chef – hahaa

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        Yes, can you imagine what is perceived as the horror of keeping up with the Joneses when you are extremely rich?!
        In this house, the living room was never used – it is cold as it next to the garage and the furniture is very uncomfortable. So there were three bedrooms and one bedroom was turned into a den – query: is the word “den” even used anymore? I guess “TV room” would be more appropriate. Anyway, the living room was not and still is not a welcoming room. Because I spend about 10 hours daily sitting here at the kitchen table at the computer and I don’t have cable, thus don’t watch TV, (unless streaming it online through Amazon Prime), now the den/TV room is never used. Maybe when I am retired I can stray to more than the bedroom, bathroom and kitchen in the course of my day. 🙂

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      • Prior... says:

        Thanks for sharing the rooms you use – and when you retire I think you will use more of the house and will have phases to adjust to retired life…
        And now that you mention it, I do not think “den” is used that much – but not sure – and TV room or living room seems to be the big staple – or do some home
        Have gaming rooms now – or recording rooms – that have large TV/Computers and lost of sound panels – and maybe if FB is right and we enter more “meta” – there will be a room for virtual experiences in every household (like having a tea room or radio center area when those were the big thing)

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        I want to make that room more livable – right now it is messy and cluttered and it has to be dealt with soon.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Prior... says:

        Maybe this summer?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        I’m going to work in the house this weekend and it needs it. Instead of going on a long excursion with lots of picture-taking, I’ll go to my park I walk during the week and carry the camera to use for something spectacular only. I’ve already done my Mother’s Day post last weekend and I can’t drive anywhere right now. I took my car into the shop to have a new A/C system and they need to hold it over until Wednesday for parts and they are very busy – two other cars with the same problem. It was leaking freon. I’m happy the parts finally came in for the car locks – my car locks on the passenger side would not open when you used the key or remote and the driver’s side door would open on its own while driving. It is some glitch but not “glitchy” enough for a recall. I’m not happy about it as it required taking apart each door to repair the “lock buttons” … the car’s been in the shop since this Wednesday a.m.

        Like

      • Prior... says:

        Oh sorry about the car issues — blah! And good thing you don’t need it for a commute to work.
        Looking forward to your Mother’s Day post.
        😊⭐️⭐️

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        Yes, I told him to take as long as he wanted because they could not find the leak. I had it recharged twice already and it was blowing out warm again. I’ve been going there for 20 years and trust the shop. Most large parks will be soggy this weekend because we had a lot of rain the past week and I’ll try to be productive in the house, instead of using the camera or the keyboard. The Mother’s Day post will be all about goslings – the first ones of the year. Can’t go wrong with any type of baby animals/birds.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Prior... says:

        Oh and those heavy iron doors Ruth put in happened after her spouse died and she was alone in the house – for safety! And as nice (and safe) as they were – I don’t miss them –
        — and the gates you showed us reminded me of a scene in one of the WWII shows I watched last year. One of the ladies donated her huge gates for the war effort!
        It really struck me because so many Sacrifices were made – !
        And it was a nice surprise –

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        How nice of that person to donate her huge gates for the war effort – that was a truly selfless act to do so. We’ve never had to go without due to the war effort. I can remember my grandmother referring to “goods” as “dear” or talking about rationing sugar or certain foods. My mom told me nylon stockings were something that were rationed during the war years and women were very careful with them, prolonging discarding them as long as possible.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Prior... says:

        I can’t recall
        The name of the show but I think it was based on a true story –
        And guess what – ? I am doing Dan’s writing doors writing challenge this month and just because of this post – I chose a door that was a gate – and this chat gave me ideas – hmmm- I will share the link to the doors to how ya (and maybe you could join in ? Or not 😊

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        Oh, I never thought about submitting it to Thursday doors for the gate – hmm. I’ve not done it since Dan’s done it … if I can submit it to him, I’d be okay as it was a little difficult before when Norm did it. I’ll check out your link. Thanks Yvette. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Prior... says:

        Hi – I just read your other comment first – about submitting it to Dan – and then got this one (sorry)
        Well I think Dan makes it super easy to join in and hope you do it that way too !
        Cheers

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        Yes, the last time we had to submit the post on a site as I recall. I submitted some doors at Heritage Park from their historical section. I can’t say I see enough doors to post regularly because I am more in park or woodsy settings. So I used this opportunity – not sure there will be many more opportunities.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Prior... says:

        Yes – I did not like using the place we had to log in and leave a link – and then they stated having ads

        Like

      • Linda Schaub says:

        I only did it once as to a blog post and I thought it was complicated. I didn’t realize it had ads as I never went back.

        Like

      • Prior... says:

        Hi – it only had ads when (I think) it reached a certain number – and I believe the hosts had to then pay a fee (not sure) – but it had some pros – like seeing all of the posts in a little box – but encumbering too

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        I can imagine it would be costly and cumbersome to host all those weekly posts.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        I just submitted my post to Dan. Thanks for the link Yvette.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Prior... says:

        Oh I look forward to your entry!
        I will try to have mine done next week – chewing on the idea now

        Liked by 1 person

  15. Rebecca says:

    Thanks for the tour, Linda. I’m sure those rose gardens smell wonderful! What a nice surprise for Henry to have gotten and set up the gate for Clara. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      [Somehow my comment ended up in cyberspace.] Glad you liked the tour Rebecca – this was a very pretty part of the estate and it did smell wonderful. The roses were still moist and dewy and it was humid as well that morning. I thought that was pretty special of Henry to order that gate for Clara and what a surprise for her to find it when they returned home. True love.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. It’s so sweet that they both enjoyed nature! Hopefully, they will once again stock birdhouses there for feathered friends to enjoy! Looks like a very “safe” place to be. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      I was amazed to learn that Clara and Henry Ford were much more than an auto magnate and his wife when doing some research to add some history to this post. I liked that fact about the couple as well Tom. I contacted Fair Lane on Facebook the day after I published this post to inquire if birdhouses would be back once the restoration was complete and their reply was “Henry was certainly a bird lover, and he loved having numerous birdhouses throughout the Grounds, but our team is respecting the environmental studies currently underway by not installing too many unnatural habitats.” I did feel safe here – once I drove and parked in a nearby lot and the other times I just stayed on the woodsy trail until it got to the end and I was there. I’m happy I walked in that 5K to benefit a huge animal shelter and the route went past there or I would not have gone.

      Like

  17. Dan Antion says:

    Thanks for sharing this. I will put it in with this week’s doors, and it will be included in the recap. The doors, gate and all the other items are very interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thank you Dan. I really enjoyed going to Fair Lane and, in preparing the post, I did some research and was fascinated to learn the Fords were so involved with nature, something I never knew before. I really wish I could have used the vintage shot of the gate in this post, but I had concerns about copyright issues.

      Like

  18. The tea roses remind me of the wild roses we have growing at the edge of our property. The gardens there are gorgeous and I love the pond. I wonder how they keep the blue heron and egrets from eating the fish. I scare a blue heron away daily, in fact he knocked the top of our concrete bird bath to the ground yesterday. Luckily it didn’t break. I can’t imagine 500 bird houses, they take a bit of work cleaning them out every year. Thank you for sharing your pictures, I really enjoyed them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Glad you liked the post Diane. I can’t imagine there being 10,000 rosebushes at one time. There were roses as far as the eye could see in this rose garden courtyard. Interestingly, I never saw a single bird when I was there and I’ve been there three times, now even waterfowl down by the Rouge River. The fountain has running water constantly – maybe the herons or egrets are afraid of running water? You were lucky that birdbath didn’t break. That would be quite a chore to clean/maintain all those birdhouses. Good thing they had 26 gardeners back in the day.

      Like

  19. Zazzy says:

    I would love to see the estate, and the insides when done, in person. Thank you for the photos and history. I hope they replace his bird feeders and the birds come back when the renovations are done. Of course, with tourists around, they might stay out of sight. Still, I hope that they return. The gardens are lovely even as they are but I expect they were even more beautiful in their heyday with a large budget to spend on so many gardeners. I wonder if the Fords introduced invasive species of birds. I’m glad he decided that birds should live where they want and did not import any more.

    Thank you again for the tour. I hope they reopen the mansion within our lifetimes and you are able to take us on a tour of that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      I am glad you enjoyed the tour Zazzy. I liked seeing the estate and touring the gardens and grounds and learned a lot while researching info for the posts. I suspect that once there are guided tours again they will likely post a video on their site or on YouTube. There were some videos on YouTube but mostly compilations of vintage photos and some drone shots, done before the restoration. I understand they had tours and some events there as well before closing for renovation in 2014.

      After I published this post I wrote to Fair Lane Estate on Facebook to ask if they will bring back the birdhouses once the renovation was complete and their response was:
      “Due to our relationship with the University of Michigan Dearborn, and their Environmental Interpretation Center, I don’t believe we’ll be installing the birdhouses and birdbaths the way that Clara and Henry would have. Henry was certainly a bird lover, and he loved having numerous birdhouses throughout the Grounds, but our team is respecting the environmental studies currently underway by not installing too many unnatural habitats.” U of M’s main campus is in Ann Arbor, Michigan, but a satellite campus is near the grounds of the Estate.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Zazzy says:

        Interesting. I get why they wouldn’t install 500 of them but is there something wrong with birdhouses these days? I know last year they didn’t want us to feed birds because they were transmitting some disease amongst themselves at birdfeeders, though I’m not sure what.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        I’m with you Zazzy – birdhouses protect the birds and allow them to nest without predators and raise their young safely … that seems like a win-win to me and nothing unnatural there. We have the bird flu here in Michigan this year, though I don’t think it is in all states. For now it is okay here to use birdfeeders. We had bird flu while I still had my canary and I stayed away from the Park and walked in the neighborhood for that month or so that it was bad – that bird flu they said was running rampant in waterfowl and since there are geese, ducks and sometimes swans at the Park where I walk daily, I just stayed away. It is always something anymore. They said our Winters are not getting cold enough so the ticks are not getting killed off like they used to, so now in 2022 we again have a tick explosion.

        Liked by 1 person

  20. Dave says:

    The bronze is magnificent. They’re usually not so lifelike but I’d say the artists captured Henry and Clara perfectly!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      I thought it was some magnificent bronze sculpture work too Dave. I took the close-up of Henry’s hand as the artists even captured the veins on the top of his hand and the skin wrinkles in the bend of the knuckles. Even the texture of the fabric in their clothing was reproduced perfectly.

      Like

  21. dennyho says:

    How fabulous to have a space like this to foster my love of flowers, birds, and garden gates! I never knew this side of inventor Henry Ford so thank you for sharing this information. Hopping over to part two now.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      You’re welcome dennyho – I learned a lot in compiling the two posts, mostly about Henry Ford’s love of nature which I had never known about before – all I ever knew was the significance of him as an inventor.

      Like

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