Learn from Fair Lane's Restoration Experts
Want to know what it takes to restore your favorite old house? Our 2018 workshop series lets you come to Fair Lane to learn from the experts behind the restoration of Henry Ford’s century-old estate.
From removing old paint to designing a garden, cleaning stonework to pruning your trees, our team of craftspeople, artisans and experts will show you how they are applying their expertise to the Fair Lane estate.
The series features talks, tours, walks and hands-on lessons. Many include an opportunity to see the restoration work going on inside the house.
Space in each class is limited, and we ask that you register in advance online here.
For questions, reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can purchase your tickets and view a full schedule below:
Become a Member and Explore Fair Lane!
Become a party of history with a membership to Fair Lane, Home of Clara and Henry Ford.
Members are invited to special gatherings and sneak peeks at the restoration and receive a quarterly e-newsletter with restoration updates.
Our next event is a bird-watching tour of the estate grounds on January 13. Bird watching was one of Henry and Clara Ford's favorite ways to spend their free time. Join UM-Dearborn Naturalist Dorothy McLeer for a winter walk around Fair Lane and surrounding grounds to celebrate 2018 and the natural neighbors nearby. This event is open only to Fair Lane members
and is free as a benefit of your membership. Members may register for the tour here.
Interested in Membership? Find out more and sign up for yours here.
Membership also includes:
GENERAL MEMBERSHIP ($55/annually):
- Member plus one guest
- Receive members-only promotions and special offers that may include discounts on select events, programs and activities
- Receive Invitation to two member receptions:
- Garden Party in late Summer
- Holiday Gathering at year end
PHILANTHROPIC MEMBERSHIP ($150/annually):
- Member plus two guests
- Receive all the Benefits of General Membership, plus:
- ROAM (Reciprocal Organizations and Museums) -- nearly 500 cultural organizations throughout the U.S. and Canada participate
- Special Opportunities
Fair Lane Receives $10M from Ford Foundation
Grant nearly completes first phase of Estate’s fundraising campaign.
The Board of Trustees of announced that it has received a commitment for a $10 million grant from the to support its to restore, reinterpret and reopen the former home of Clara and Henry Ford in Dearborn, Mich.
The announcement was made April 21, 2017, by Ford Foundation President Darren Walker to a sold-out room of supporters at the 29th annual Henry Ford Estate Dinner Dance at the Dearborn Inn.
The Ford Foundation grant is the single largest contribution to the campaign to date, and nearly completes the first phase of the $25 million fundraising goal. The Ford Foundation joins Ford Motor Company Fund, the Ford Family, Ford and Lincoln dealers and many individual contributors in supporting this initiative.
“We are thrilled to support the campaign to restore the Estate so that future generations can learn about and discover the history of the Ford family," said Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation. "Even as we address issues of inequality in the 21st century as a global organization, it is important to honor the Ford family's foresight and generosity 80 years ago to seed the origins of our capital in Michigan."
“This generous commitment from the Ford Foundation is meaningful for so many reasons,” said Edsel B. Ford II, chairman of Henry Ford Estate, Inc. “Not only will this help in restoring, reinterpreting and reopening Fair Lane to the public; this gesture reinforces the Ford Foundation’s exceptional commitment to Detroit and the surrounding region. We are honored that so many members of the extended Ford ‘family’ have graciously stepped up to support our shared legacy. We look forward to inviting the public back to Fair Lane to experience this inspiring place that my great grandparents called home.”
After Clara Ford’s death in 1950, Ford Motor Company acquired the estate from Ford heirs and used it as an archival center and office space. In 1956 the company donated the home and 210 acres of land to the University of Michigan for the development of the Dearborn campus. The home was used for meetings, events, a restaurant and tours until the University closed it in 2010. In 2013, the Estate became an independent nonprofit when the University transferred ownership of the home and 17 acres of land to the newly established Henry Ford Estate Inc. Plans began immediately for a capital campaign and new vision for the future.v
“Our goal with this restoration has been to really understand the home that Clara and Henry Ford built. And then to take it back so if they were to walk in the door, they’d say ‘We’re home," said Kathleen Mullins, president and CEO, Henry Ford Estate, Inc. “We have fixed leaky roofs and collapsing foundations, and shored up the riverbank to make the estate secure. We are now investing in restoring the rooms inside the estate to how they looked and felt in 1919. We will then create a visitor experience like no other historic estate has done before; one that provides fertile ground for creativity, experimentation, dialog and action.”
With the Ford Foundation grant, the first phase of the campaign has raised more than $24 million of the $25 million goal. The first 10 percent of all funds raised will be placed into an endowment to help ensure Fair Lane is operated in a sound and sustainable manner. The remaining funds are supporting repair of structural and life-safety issues and restoration, furnishing and interpretation of all of the rooms on the main floor of the home. Funds are also going toward development of the future visitor experience, which will not only provide a look at the history of the Ford family home, it will also allow visitors to become participants in discussions that explore how Henry and Clara’s visionary thinking transformed and empowered a nation.
The Estate will be open for a special Preservation Day Open House on May 13 for the public to view the restoration progress and learn more about future plans. Admission is by prepurchased ticket; number of tickets are limited. For more information visit www.henryfordestate.org/news.
(Pictured: Above, the historical photo shows Henry and Clara Ford walking along the river at their Fair Lane home in Dearborn, Mich. Below, Michael Purser of the Rosebud Company works on restoring the Main Hall staircase at the Henry Ford Estate - Fair Lane in Dearborn, Mich. Credit: John F. Martin Photography for Henry Ford Estate.)
About Henry Ford Estate
Henry and Clara Ford built the 31,000-square-foot Fair Lane as their dream home on 1,300 acres, just a couple miles from where they both were born. At a time when Henry was skyrocketing to global fame after the success of Ford Motor Company and the Model T, Fair Lane was their sanctuary. The estate along the Rouge River included a hydro-electric powerhouse and dam, a greenhouse, a working farm built to scale for their grandchildren, an indoor pool, skating house, staff cottages, bowling alley, and a pony barn, as well as a private garage and laboratory for Henry.
After Clara Ford’s death in 1950, Ford Motor Company acquired the estate from Ford heirs and used it as an archival center and office space. In 1956, the company donated the home and 210 acres of land to the University of Michigan for the development of the Dearborn campus. The home was used for meetings, events, a restaurant and tours until the University closed it in 2010. In 2013, the Estate became an independent nonprofit when the University transferred ownership of the home and 17 acres of land to the newly established Henry Ford Estate Inc. For more information on this Henry Ford Estate – Fair Lane, visit www.henryfordestate.org.
Trick-or-Treat in the Gardens at Fair Lane
Please note, tickets are sold out for this year's event. Tickets will not be available at the door.
Bring the kids in costume for this annual tradition of Halloween fun at Fair Lane in Dearborn, on Monday, Oct. 30, 2017.
The outdoor fun begins in front of the historic Garage. Children will follow a loop route through the estate gardens with 10 trick-or-treat stops along the way.
Admission is $7 for children; adults are free, and children under 2 not receiving treats do not need a ticket. Tickets are timed for your arrival at either 6:30 p.m., 7 p.m. or 7:30 p.m. Tickets are only available in advance. They will not be available at the door.
An adult must accompany children, and adults are free. Babes in arms not collecting treats are also free.
Recommended for children ages 2-9. Children should come dressed in costume and prepared for the weather -- it's rain or shine! Please bring a flashlight and trick or treat bag. No strollers, please.
All proceeds benefit the restoration of the estate's gardens. The program is put on by our Garden Volunteers.
Annual Plant Sale and Invasive Species Clean-up!
Our garden staff and volunteers are hosting two favorite garden events in May: the annual Plant Sale and Garden Market, and invasive species clean-up day.
The Plant Sale and Garden Market dates are:
Friday, May 19, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Saturday May 20, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Plants for sale include unique perennials, wildflowers, heirlooms, pollinator-attracting and shade-loving plants, culinary herbs, annuals, water garden plants, stepping stones, garden art, mason bee houses, and bird houses. Some of the varieties are propagated from our own gardens at Fair Lane!
All proceeds benefit the restoration of the Henry Ford Estate gardens.
On May 20, come help out in the Henry Ford Estate’s Rouge Rescue Project, “Pulling Together – Garlic Mustard Removal.”
Attendees will be removing the Garlic Mustard plant, a biennial flowering invasive weed to Michigan. The event runs 10 AM - 12 PM.
Volunteers must wear long pants and closed toe shoes, gloves and tools will be provided. Please register by calling 313-668-3193 or email email@example.com.
Clara Ford Tribute Garden Celebrates Special Women
Join the Henry Ford Estate – Fair Lane as we celebrate the special women in our lives with the Clara Ford Tribute Garden!
With your tax-deductible $100 donation, your loved one will be recognized among the vibrant blossoms in this garden throughout 2017. Your gift could honor a mother, grandmother, daughter, sister, aunt, niece -- or anyone you choose. If you make your gift by April 30, the Henry Ford Estate will mail a Mother’s Day card to your honoree informing her of your special gift. Otherwise the deadline for your honoree to be included on signage is May 20, 2017.
The Clara Ford Tribute Garden was historically known as the "Cutting Garden” at Fair Lane and was a special space for trying out new varieties of plants. Your donation will allow the Henry Ford Estate to increase the variety of plants grown in the Cutting Garden and help support the work needed to maintain the entire landscape.
New Workshop Series: Learn from Fair Lane's Restoration Experts
Want to know what it takes to restore your favorite old house? Our new workshop series lets you come to Fair Lane to learn from the experts behind the restoration of Henry Ford’s century-old estate.
From fixing drafty old windows to chipping away and repairing crumbling plasters, our team of craftspeople will show you how they are applying their expertise to the Fair Lane estate. You will get hands-on lessons, as well as an opportunity to see the restoration work going on inside the house.
Space in each class is limited, and we ask that you register in advance online here. Cost is $45/person for each class. Classes will be from 1-4 p.m. at the Henry Ford Estate-Fair Lane, 1 Fair Lane Drive, in Dearborn.
For questions, reach out to Ann Loshaw, Vice President of Education and Visitor Experience, at 313-453-2049, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can purchase your tickets and view a full schedule below:
See how stonework at Fair Lane has been cleaned and restored and try your own hand at tuck pointing! Join us for a special, hands-on workshop and behind-the-scenes access as we restore the historic home of Clara and Henry Ford, Fair Lane, in Dearborn, Mich. See how the pros research, study and make the calls on what to do and how to do it! John Fletcher, President of National Restoration is a Journeyman in 5 masonry trades with more than 30 years of experience and is often a speaker at trade lectures. The Michigan Historical Museum sought out his expertise to create a historical masonry exhibit.
Join us as our expert in painting and plastering shares the work he’s been doing at Fair Lane. Get a chance to learn about basic plaster repairs and paint techniques. Tony Kartsonas, owner of Historic Surfaces, is a professional with more than 20 years of experience and involvement with over 80 significant projects listed on the National register or as National Landmarks. An expert in consulting on projects involving the restoration and conservation of painted surfaces, wood finishes, plaster and murals, his skills include gilding, glazing, poly-chroming, stenciling, trompe l’oeil, faux marbleizing, Venetian plaster and wood finishing.
Discover how to identify types of wood flooring and their suitability for an amazing Passive Refinishing® technique that doesn’t require any sanding! Michael Purser, owner of The Rosebud Company, first worked in older, urban neighborhoods. This exposure to working with floors that had reached a point where conventional sanding was not an option led him to think about refinishing in a different way. This has resulted in The Rosebud Company being called upon for the restoration of some of our nation’s most historic homes such as James and Dollie Madison’s Montpelier.
1-4 p.m. April 29, 2017
Learn how to correctly identify different types of metals in your home’s fixtures and how to clean and protect them. Henry Ford Estate’s own Mark Gervasi is a conservator with more than 34 years of experience working with and conserving historical objects. He will be joined by Tamsen Brown, Conservation Fellow with the Americana Foundation, received her Master’s degree in Conservation Studies from West Dean College in the United Kingdom as they both share their experiences and expertise working on Fair Lane.
1-4 p.m. May 20, 2017
See how the original wood windows of Fair Lane were completely removed, repaired, re-glazed and re-installed and get a chance to practice a few techniques. Sam Ruegsegger, Project Executive at the Christman Company, has been in the construction industry for 19 years and has worked on a variety of building projects, giving him a multifaceted understanding of the industry. Sam has a wide variety of project experience, including Chelsea Community Hospital Bed Replacement Program, General Services Administration Vance Federal Court Building Renovation, and Lansing Board of Water and Light REO Town Plant.
Take a look inside at the Preservation Day Open House!
Join us for a special Preservation Day Open House at the Henry Ford Estate – Fair Lane on May 13!
CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE TICKETS.
The extensive restoration projects continue and now you can see what we’ve been up to during a special Open House to celebrate National Preservation Month!
As you tour the first floor of the home, you can soak in the fully recreated Sun Porch – which looks just as Henry and Clara Ford knew it.
Plus, you’ll see the transformation in progress in the Music Room, Billiards Room, Library, Main Hall and more. We have projects going on throughout the home, as well as on the grounds.
To schedule your tour, purchase tickets in advance online here.
Space is limited. Tours will be offered on Saturday, May 13, between 10AM and 6PM. Guests will be able to stroll the grounds, as well, and visit a new exhibit celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Fordson tractor, opening soon in the Garage.
In the meantime, you can see some of the work going on by following our project blog here. And don’t forget to catch the Henry Ford Estate on PBS’ Get a sneak peek of the restoration on PBS’ This Old House!
Help Restore Clara and Henry Ford's Garden!
Clara and Henry Ford's Early Rose Garden is one of the most enchanting spaces on the estate and a favorite stop for visitors! Beyond its wrought-iron gate, the garden is a gentle-yet-vibrant mix of flowers in Clara’s favorite color palette – blues, pinks and creams.
Now, we are working to preserve two important, iconic features of the garden: the Tea House and the Lily Pond. After Black Friday and Cyber Monday, turn your thoughts to the beauty of our natural environment and make a donation on Giving Tuesday to restore Clara Ford’s gardens! Every time you come to visit, you will feel the pleasure of knowing that you played an important role in restoring this extraordinary place! You can make your tax-deductible donation here.
While the house is closed for restoration, the grounds are open for visitors. Come to the Estate to stroll the gardens, explore the special features, and absorb the beauty of Fair Lane – no matter what the season!
The Lily Pond
The charming Lily Pond is a beloved feature of the garden. It was added in the 1930s, and in 1968, well after the Fords’ time at Fair Lane, the Marshall Frederick sculpture of a ram was placed in the center. Weather and wear-and-tear have taken a toll on the charming water feature, and now we must completely repair the interior and exterior of the pond.
The Tea House
The Tea House, with its copper roof, scalloped edge detail, curved wood beams, wrought iron, and flagstone and brick flooring was a favorite place of Mrs. Ford to enjoy afternoon tea, according to oral history. The Tea House roof was most likely painted black in the 1950s. Recently, our staff and volunteers have been cleaning and re-coating the Tea House roof with a paint color matching slightly aged copper. Our goal, however, is to completely restore the copper roof to its original luster.
You Can Help!To date we have raised more than $30,000 toward these projects, but we need your help! We are $10,000 short of our goal and your tax-deductible donation on Giving Tuesday, November 29, will help to bring these iconic features in Clara Ford’s gardens back to their original shine!
If you have questions about #GivingTuesday and the Early Rose Garden project, contact Brent Glass at email@example.com or (313) 884-4222 ext. 144.
About the Early Rose Garden
The Early Rose Garden next to Clara and Henry Ford’s residence is a restored interpretation of the first rose garden at Fair Lane which contained over 300 rose plants. Jens Jensen, the renowned Danish-born Chicago area Landscape Architect, designed the first rose garden in 1916. In the late 1920’s, Mrs. Ford decided to build a much larger rose garden with over 10,000 rose plants within a 2.5-acre meadow area that partly parallels the Great Meadow. The roses from the Early Rose Garden are thought to have been relocated to that second rose garden designed in 1926 by Boston, Massachusetts Landscape Architect, Herbert Kellaway and Marblehead, Mass. Rosarian, Harriet Foote.
In 1930, Mrs. Ford hired Ellen Biddle Shipman, a Landscape Architect from New Hampshire, to transform the former Early Rose Garden into an English garden with mixed annuals, perennials, and flowering shrubs and trees. The Tea House, stone walls, heavy wood garden door, slate paths, modified raised terrace next to the residence, and lily pond in the center of the garden date to that era. The magnificent wrought iron gate on the north side of the garden is said to have been brought to the Estate from Europe and installed in the late 1920s.
Fair Lane Music Guild Announces 47th Season
The Fair Lane Music Guild has announced its upcoming 2016-2017 concert season at the Henry Ford Estate-Fair Lane!
The season's performances will be:
- October 26, 2016, violinist Gabriel Bolkosky and pianist Michele Cooker with From Bach to Blues, a program of violin and piano music including Bach's Sonata No. 1 in G Minor and other works by Sarasate, Debussy and Ravel.
- November 16, 2016, the Dearborn Symphony Brass Quintet, presenting a program of light classical and pop selections to usher in the holiday season.
- February 22, 2017, ragtime and boogie-woogie pianist Bob Milne.
- April 5, 2017, at 7:30 p.m. Chamber Soloists of Detroit return to the Guild’ stage with a performance entitled Just Between Us.
All Fair Lane Music Guild concerts are held at the Henry Ford Estate – Fair Lane. Shows start at 7:30 p.m. Season tickets are $45.00/person, $40 for senior citizens, and $25 for students. Single concert tickets are $15/$14/$9 per person.
For more information about season tickets or individual concert ticket sales, please call the Fair Lane Music Guild at (313) 593-5330, or go to http://flmg.umd.umich.edu/
Fair Lane Folk Festival 2016
Join us at the estate for our second Fair Lane Folk Festival on July 30, 2016. The estate comes alive with great music from local and national contemporary folk and Americana bands, great food from a variety of food trucks, plus cold beverages and a chance to enjoy the historic grounds and gardens.
Tickets are on sale now! General admission is $30 in advance, and VIP is $75. Get your tickets and look for the lineup announcement at www.fairlanefolkfest.org.
Honoring Clara Ford's 150th Anniversary
This year marks the 150th Anniversary of Clara Ford's birth, and we are celebrating her life and legacy, along with many other historic sites and organizations around the country. Clara was the matriarch of a family that changed the world, and she left behind an important footprint all of her own. Learn more about Clara and the events in her honor at www.claraford150.com