Dearborn in Wayne County, Michigan — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
The Bur Oak and the Vegetable Garden
Aldo Leopold, pioneer wildlife ecologist, once said, "He who owns a veteran bur oak owns more than a tree. He owns an historical library, and a reserved seat in the theatre of evolution. To the discerning eye, his farm is labeled with the badge and symbol of the prairie war (with the forest)."
From 1915 to 1950, the area surrounding this bur oak was developed as the Fords' vegetable garden. Henry Ford, an avid and well-read student of natural history, respected the legacy of the bur oak tree and chose to build the garden around the tree.
Dating from the 1600's, the area in which the tree stood was one of the many prairie openings in the Michigan forests, where native Americans camped, surrounded by lush meadows growing on the sandy subsoil. At that time, prairie fires helped to keep the areas open. Eventually, growing settlements and increased farming activity ended the fires, and trees without the bur oak's thick protective bark grew into the openings.
Illustration source: John McIntyre, Henry Ford Estate Gardener, 1924-1950.
Erected by Henry Ford
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Environment. In addition, it is included in the MotorCities National Heritage Area series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1915.
Location. 42° 18.761′ N, 83° 13.863′ 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, and downhill to the Rouge River. 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. Nature's Refrigeration (within shouting distance of this marker); A House in a Tree (within shouting distance of this marker); Compost Then and Now (within shouting distance of this marker); Harnessing Nature's Energy (within shouting distance of this marker); Preserving Fair Lane — An Iconic American Estate (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); In Honor of Friendship (about 400 feet away); Fair Lane (about 600 feet away); Out in the Orchard (about 600 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Dearborn.
Credits. This page was last revised on February 26, 2020. It was originally submitted on February 26, 2020, by Joel Seewald of Madison Heights, Michigan. This page has been viewed 170 times since then and 15 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on February 26, 2020, by Joel Seewald of Madison Heights, Michigan.