Dearborn in Wayne County, Michigan — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
Prior to refrigerators, the constant cool temperature of the earth surrounding a root cellar was sufficient to preserve summer produce for winter consumption. This root cellar was used to store apples, pears, onions, carrots and potatoes grown on the estate. The fruit were individually wrapped in newspaper and stored on shelves, and the root crops were covered with sand on the ground. This root cellar predated Fair Lane by many years to a time when many small farms lined Fair Lane Drive (then Ann Arbor Road).
It is not known why Mr. Ford maintained this natural cooler, even though he had state-of-the-art, brine-based refrigeration inside Fair Lane. Perhaps he wanted it as a back-up, in case the refrigeration system broke down, or perhaps it was nostalgia for his rural Dearborn childhood. It is likely, however, that it was Mr. Ford who added the electric lights inside the root cellar to enhance its use.
Source: Louie Hagopian, Henry Ford Estate Gardener from 1942-1950
Illustration source: Neal Kessler and Jing Zong
Erected by Henry Ford Estate and
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Agriculture. In addition, it is included in the MotorCities National Heritage Area series list.
Location. 42° 18.776′ N, 83° 13.855′ W. Marker is in Dearborn, Michigan, in Wayne County. Marker can be reached from Fair Lane Drive 0.3 miles west of Evergreen Road. Marker is on the grounds of the Henry Ford Estate, Fair Lane, along a path that leads east from the potting shed and greenhouse. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1 Fair Lane Drive, Dearborn MI 48128, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. A House in a Tree (a few steps from this marker); The Bur Oak and the Vegetable Garden (within shouting distance of this marker); Compost Then and Now (within shouting distance of this marker); Preserving Fair Lane — An Iconic American Estate (within shouting distance of this marker); Harnessing Nature's Energy (within shouting distance of this marker); In Honor of Friendship (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Fair Lane (about 500 feet away); Out in the Orchard (about 500 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Dearborn.
Credits. This page was last revised on March 4, 2020. It was originally submitted on February 25, 2020, by Joel Seewald of Madison Heights, Michigan. This page has been viewed 72 times since then and 12 times this year. Photos: 1. submitted on February 25, 2020, by Joel Seewald of Madison Heights, Michigan. 2. submitted on March 4, 2020, by Joel Seewald of Madison Heights, Michigan.