Past Forward

Activating The Henry Ford Archive of Innovation

It's finally time - Greenfield Village re-opens this Friday, April 15! All this week, we'll focus on some of the special springtime activities that you'll see around Greenfield Village as you take that first stroll of the season. See you soon!

There are signs of spring all over Firestone Farm in Greenfield Village: the weather is finally warming, our winter wheat is turning our field a nice shade of green, and our sheep are ready for us to shear their wool in time for warmer months ahead.

During your April or May visit to Greenfield Village, you just might catch our farmers shearing our special wrinkly Merino sheep with the same technology used by shearers on Firestone Farm in 1885.  Want a preview? Watch our video of the sheep-shearing here (which is time-lapsed - it takes quite a bit of time!) and learn more about this process, then come visit in person and find out about the Firestone family and how their resourcefulness helped them make a profit from the wool off of their sheep.

And do those sheep look comfortable or what? It's actually a natural response to when their feet come off the ground - it puts them in a relaxed state, which makes the shearer's job that much easier!

Plus, our on-site and online stores are now offering a special shearing discount for high-quality yarn made right from our own sheep - two skeins for $35! Pick up a few, then get busy making your own piece of history!

Ryan Spencer is manager of Firestone Farm in Greenfield Village. Working at The Henry Ford was a childhood dream of his – although he did not realize then that it would involve so much manure.

farm animals, farming, sheep, sheep shearing

Each year, Greenfield Village closes for the winter season - but that doesn't mean it lies dormant! This is the time for freshening up the homes, grounds and vehicles in preparation for the busy year ahead. Take a peek into what happens during winter in Greenfield Village - then join us in April to enjoy the results!

In 1800s Ohio, the harsh winters provided little opportunity for families like future tire magnate Harvey Firestone's to enjoy fresh foods. In order to keep the family fed until spring, the Firestones worked hard to preserve and enjoy the crops and animals they raised all year long on the farm, which included their hogs.

Very little of the pig went to waste, as the men of the family carefully cut pork chops, roasts, bacon and more from the animal. From there, the women rendered the fat for lard, soap and other uses.

Today, we continue this tradition, but with trained professionals slaughtering the hogs; our Firestone Farm presenters then butcher and preserve the meat in the farmhouse's root cellar.

Watch as our period-clothed presenters show you this historic process, right inside the Firestone Farm at Greenfield Village - with narration by Firestone Farm manager Ryan Spencer!

Ryan Spencer is manager of Firestone Farm in Greenfield Village. Working at The Henry Ford was a childhood dream of his - although he did not realize then that it would involve so much manure.

hog butchering, winter activities

Doc Howard

May 11, 2010 Think THF

Ever heard of Alonson Bingley Howard Jr.? Well he’s actually someone we know quite well here at The Henry Ford. We call him Doc Howard and his office and garden are located in Greenfield Village.

Doc Howard practiced in Michigan around the time of the Civil War. He was, as we say now, a homeopathic doctor – creating his own concoctions and medicines from natural sources such as herbs, spices, elixirs, poultices, pills, waters, chemicals and minerals.

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Doc Howard