The Time Portal of Greenfield Village - The Henry Ford

Took this picture when I was on the train.  I am sure it is the Daggett Farmhouse which means the train took me all the way back to 1754 when trains weren't even invented yet.
Took this picture when I was on the train. I am sure it is the Daggett Farmhouse which means the train took me all the way back to 1754 when trains weren't even invented yet.

Going Back In Time

I found a time portal. A doorway that can take you back in time. But this time portal is unique, well, any time portal is unique, but not only can this portal take you back to one time period, it can take you back to many time periods all at once! Where can you go to see history unfold over the span of more than 300 years? Where can you go to to see how people lived as far back as the 1600s? This is a wonderful place where not only is time compressed but space is compressed too, where you can look with awe at Edison's Lab at Menlo Park, New Jersey and then drift over in minutes to the Wright Cycle Shop in Dayton, Ohio.

I have seen many unusual events at this incredible place where old horse drawn carriages somehow roam oblivious to the Model T automobiles driving the streets only a few blocks over. Where people from the 1920s sing while standing on the sidewalk unaware of the visitors around them wearing funny clothes and carrying funny devices. Where a horse mounted police officer from the the turn of the century is greeted by a women on her porch 50 years later. Or where Robert Frost's house in Ann Arbor, Michigan is right next to Noah Webster's home in New Haven, Connecticut.

Yes, in this beautiful window to the past, I have had glimpses of people like the mentioned singers and the mounted police officer. Some homes and businesses are empty while others are occupied beckoning you to come in to see how they live. I have been invited into a family's home during the Great Depression. I have been invited to another family's home during the 1700s as they prepared to sit down for dinner. I have traveled by railroad, by Model T, and by horse driven carriage, where the drivers have taken me through ripples of time catching sights of people toiling on their farms even before the nation was born. Some people know you are there while others don't see you, such as the enthusiastic reporter that I could see and hear through the window asking Henry Ford questions at Henry Ford's first factory.

For myself, I can't say what I particularly liked about this time trip because I liked it all, hopping from the homes of Wilbur and Orville Wright, H.J. Heinz, George Washing Carver, and many many more. Seeing the Logan County Courthouse where Abe Lincoln practices as a traveling attorney. Visiting the different shops, such as the Printing Office and Tin Shop, the Glass Shop, the Pottery Shop, and, again, many more, where I watched workers hone their craft. The Detroit Toledo & Milwaukee Roundhouse was especially interesting where you can watch the locomotives being repaired and maintained.

This gateway to the past is not secret or hidden from the public, nor controlled by the government, Visitors from all over the Midwest and the rest of the country have been coming here and going back in time for years now. So, where is this place that transcends space and time? It is located in Dearborn, Michigan. It is Greenfield Village-The Henry Ford.

There is so much going on here. One visit really is not enough to truly see everything. The village occupies over 90 acres and it is broken up into eight districts. Below are the districts and what is located in each one:

  • The Firestone Farm

  • Stony Creek Sawmill
  • Tripp Sawmill
  • Printing Office and Tin Shop
  • Gunsolly Carding Mill
  • Glass Shop
  • Hank's Silk Mill
  • The Workshop and Guild Beer Hall
  • Armington and Sims Machine Shop
  • The William Ford Barn
  • Carriage Barn
  • Liberty Craftsworks Store
  • Loranger Gristmill
  • Weaving Shop
  • Pottery Shop


  • Detroit Toledo and Milwaukee Roadhouse
  • Smith's Creek Depot
  • Edison Illuminating Company's Station A

  • Henry Ford's Model T
  • Henry Ford Theater
  • Model T Loading Dock
  • Ford Motor Company
  • Bagley Avenue Workshop
  • Hearse Shed
  • Miller School
  • Ford Home

  • Greenfield Village Tintype Studio
  • The Wright Cycle Shop and Home
  • Cohen Millinery
  • Heinz House
  • Grimm Jewelry Store
  • Town Hall
  • Phoenixville Post Office
  • Sir John Bennett Sweet Shop
  • The Carousel
  • Village Pavilion
  • J.R. Jones General Store
  • Eagle Tavern
  • Martha-Mary Chapel
  • Scotch Settlement School
  • Logan County Courthouse
  • Dr. Howard's Office

  • Thomas Alva Edison Statue
  • Edison's Menlo Park Complex
  • Edison's Fort Myers Laboratory
  • Sara Jordan Boarding School
  • Rock Village Toll House

  • Henry Ford Academy Village Campus

  • George Washington Carver Cabin
  • William Holmes McGruffy Birthplace and School
  • Mattox Family Home
  • Hermitage Slave Quarters
  • Chapman Family Home
  • Adams Family Home
  • Charles Steinmetz Cabin
  • Sounds of America Gallery
  • Luther Burbank Garden Office
  • Edison Homestead
  • Swiss Chalet
  • Noah Webster Home
  • Robert Frost Home
  • Giddings Family Home
  • Cotswold Cottage and Cotswold Forge
  • The Daggett Farmhouse
  • The Farris Windmill
  • The Plympton Home
  • Susquehanna Plantation

So Much To See

This is an incredible list and I might have even missed something above. Also, from what I remember, during the train tour, the village will expand eventually with more exhibits. It has the room to do so since its actual total size is 240 acres! And you also have to consider that the Henry Ford Museum is right next door which in itself occupies 12 acres and even has a IMAX theater.

Finally, one word of advice. The model T ride was one of the highlights of the visit but if you get there late, such as noon or later, you may encounter long lines. We arrived shortly after they opened and we were able to hitch a ride immediately.

So, bring your camera and prepare to spend a whole day in the past. I think you will really enjoy it!

This photo is a reminder on how lucky we are and what we most likely take for granted, running water and centralized heat and air conditioning.
This photo is a reminder on how lucky we are and what we most likely take for granted, running water and centralized heat and air conditioning.
Need I say more.  The incredible Ford Model T.
Need I say more. The incredible Ford Model T.
The Wright Brother's Cycle Shop.
The Wright Brother's Cycle Shop.
Looking back in time at main street america with the Model T coming around the corner and the man from the future on the Genie lift repairing a window.
Looking back in time at main street america with the Model T coming around the corner and the man from the future on the Genie lift repairing a window.
If you don't want to walk, take a ride on the horse drawn carriage.
If you don't want to walk, take a ride on the horse drawn carriage.
Thomas Edison's Menlo Park Lab
Thomas Edison's Menlo Park Lab
The singers.  Clothing looks like circa 1920s?
The singers. Clothing looks like circa 1920s?
A view from the back seat of a Model T.
A view from the back seat of a Model T.
Sitting down for dinner many many years ago.
Sitting down for dinner many many years ago.
The Detroit Toledo & Milwaukee Roundhouse where the locomotive engines are maintained and repaired.
The Detroit Toledo & Milwaukee Roundhouse where the locomotive engines are maintained and repaired.
A markerGreenfield Village - The Henry Ford -
20900 Oakwood Boulevard, Dearborn, MI 48124, USA
[get directions]

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DrBill-WmL-Smith profile image

DrBill-WmL-Smith 2 years ago from Hollister, MO

What a fun adventure. I've only been there once, and have much time. You filled me in on much I missed. I'd really like to go back... ;-)

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