Edsel & Eleanor Ford House

Edsel & Eleanor Ford House, Grosse Pointe Shores: Hours, Address, Edsel & Eleanor Ford House Reviews: 4.5/5

Edsel & Eleanor Ford House
4.5
Historic Sites • Gardens • History Museums
12:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Tuesday
12:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Wednesday
12:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Thursday
12:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Friday
12:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Saturday
11:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Sunday
12:00 PM - 4:00 PM
About
Telling the story of Edsel and Eleanor Ford and their family through their historic home on the shores of Lake St. Clair. We offer tours, programs and special events at this National Historic Landmark. Edsel Ford was the son of Henry Ford, and he built his grand home in the style of the Cotswold villages in England. Surrounded by 87 acres of scenic lakeside grounds, the home and landscape are open for tours in all seasons. The home was designed by prominent Detroit architect Albert Kahn and Jens Jensen, one of America's foremost landscape designers and conservationists. It is filled with original antique furnishings, as well as art from the Fords' vast collection. Ford House also hosts popular events, including a Fairy Tale Festival in June, Detroit Symphony concerts in July and holiday tours and events in December.
Suggested duration
1-2 hours
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4.5
264 reviews
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50
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5

KarenM1_10
Bloomfield Hills, Michigan721 contributions
Beautiful Historic Home and Gardens
Oct 2021
We visited the House and Gardens. The House is beautiful and very well preserved and maintained. We did a self-guide but there were many docents throughout the house that provided additional information and answered questions. The staff was very knowledgeable and friendly. There were some flowers in the Garden but I'm sure that during the summer, it is spectacular. They are currently renovating the lagoon and pool. You can peak in and get a look at the extensive renovations. We will definitely return when the pool/lagoon renovations are complete and during the summer when we can tour the Gardens. Also, the new Visitor Center was completed earlier this year and is very nice. They have some exhibitions, restaurant and a gift shop.
Written October 12, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

JRJT_Travel
los angeles14 contributions
History, Art & Natural Beauty
Oct 2021
Lots of history, wonderful art and objects, and beautiful grounds. Plus the docents were incredible -- extremely knowledgeable and enthusiastic. You could easily spend the day here: touring the house, lunching at the lovely restaurant, and walking the grounds. A highlight of our first trip to Detroit, a much-maligned but architecturally beautiful city with friendly people and great food.
Written October 11, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

StockholmKindaGuy
Marietta, GA7,299 contributions
Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous...Detroit Style.
Sep 2021
If you're someone like me who enjoys historic homes and automotive history, the Edsel & Eleanor Ford House checks both boxes. There's much to see at this beautiful 87 acre estate, that sits along Lake St. Clair, in Grosse Point Shores.

I was quite impressed with the newly opened Visitor Center, which contains the Continental restaurant, exhibition space and gift shop. After purchasing a ticket, I proceeded to the exhibits. The Ford Family Story exhibit provides historical information on Edsel & Eleanor Ford, their family and the estate itself. It's insightful and well done. The Driven by Design exhibit contains three wonderful cars that Edsel was involved in designing. My favorite was the 1934 Speedster.

My next stop was the house. Shuttles are available to take you there if you don't care to walk. The Ford's Cotswold style house was built in 1927. The tour was self-guided, with staff available for questions. Of the 60 rooms, approximately 20 were available to see. A brochure with information on each room was provided. The Ford's had exquisite taste and their well curated home reflects that. As I walked through each room, I was reminded of palaces I'd toured in Europe. My favorite rooms were the Modern Room and Henry Ford II's bedroom.

Being an Art Major, I was also impressed with the Ford's collection of world-class art, which includes works by Van Gogh, Cézanne and Degas. Some of the paintings in the house have been replaced with reproductions, with some of the originals now in the Detroit Institute of Arts.

There are several things to see on the grounds of the estate as well, such as the life-size statues of Edsel & Eleanor walking together and the pool, although it's currently closed for restoration work.

A House & Grounds Pass runs $10.00 and includes the exhibitions in the Visitor Center. If you're interested in eating at the The Continental at Ford House restaurant, reservations are recommended. There's also a grab-and-go counter.

A very enjoyable afternoon with the Ford's.
Written September 27, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

TravelerCentralFLA
Clermont, FL743 contributions
A Wonderful House and Grounds
Aug 2021 • Family
We visited the Edsel Ford house on our trip to Michigan. We really enjoyed our visit. The new welcome center is beautiful. The grounds are amazing set on the shores of Lake Saint Clair. There is a wonderful playhouse on the grounds that Ford had built for his daughter.
The house is wonderful. It is a Tudor revival style. The interior has rooms decorated in various eras of the house. The home is actually modest for the amount of wealth the Ford’s had. The wow factor for me was the art. Most of the art are reproductions, the originals that used to hang in the home now reside in places like the Detroit Institute of Arts. The original works were by artists as varied as Holbein and Chagall. The home is also interesting for its history of the Ford family and the auto industry. I highly recommend a visit to the Edsel and Eleanor House.
Written August 11, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

J D
3 contributions
Stepping back in time.
Sep 2020 • Business
What a beautiful grounds to be able to visit, especially during Covid-19.
They do follow the executive orders, you can feel comfortable enjoying the grounds and waterfront without a worry !
Make sure your group is not too big, they will enforce the rules.
Take your camera and make some memories!!!
Written September 5, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Marty F
Plymouth, MI656 contributions
Historic Home Well Worth Visiting
Dec 2019
As you travel to the Edsel and Eleanor Ford house in Grosse Pointe Shores, you'll find yourself passing through one of the most wealthy areas of Michigan, with grand homes stretching for miles along the shore of Lake St. Clair. From the Ford Home parking lot, it's a short walk to the Gate House visitor center where you can purchase tickets, browse a small museum store and view a 5-minute video about Edsel and Eleanor Ford and their four children. (NOTE: 50-minute tours start every 1/2 hour or every 20 minutes during holiday periods. Reservations are strongly recommended, as tour groups are small. You can take a free shuttle bus or walk to the main house for the tour.) Surprisingly, the tour and video pay little attention to the larger Ford family and Edsel's role in the Ford Motor Company. This would have been of interest during the tour itself, so in the next three paragraphs below I'll give you a bit of background. If your interest is solely in the house, just skip the next three paragraphs.....

Edsel Ford was the only son of Henry Ford and Clara Ford, Henry being the founder of the Ford Motor Company and one of America's historic figures. Edsel came to the car industry easily, as during his childhood years he and his father tinkered together on cars. He was groomed for the business, serving in several positions before assuming the Presidency of Ford in 1919. While Henry and Edsel were close as father and son, they did not always agree on the direction of the company, with the elder Henry devoted to his simplistic Model T and Edsel pushing for more modern design. This dynamic eventually resulted in the introduction of the Model A, which was a big success, selling four million vehicles in four years of production. Still, Edsel pushed for more modernization, leading him to purchase the Lincoln Motor Company; later Edsel himself introduced the Mercury lineup of cars. Edsel was also instrumental in bringing about the luxurious Lincoln Continental model. In the early years of WWII, Edsel focused on the company's production of B-24 bombers at the Ford Willow Run Bomber Plant in Ypsilanti, MI, achieving a production goal of one bomber per hour!

Edsel married Eleanor Clay, a niece of J.L. Hudson, the famed department store founder. They wished for a family home somewhat removed from the Dearborn-centered Ford business and chose the Grosse Point Shores area, along Lake St. Clair, to build their family home. As devoted parents, this is where they raised their four children -- Henry Ford II, Benson Ford, Josephine Clay Ford and William Clay Ford. William was the last survivor of these four children, passing away in 2014.

In 1943, at just 49 years old, Edsel succumbed to stomach cancer, leaving his 80-year-old father to resume the Presidency of Ford for two years until handing it over to Edsel's eldest son, Henry Ford II, in 1945. Edsel's wife, Eleanor, continued to live at their home on Lake Ste. Clair for another 33 years, until her death in 1976. Much of Edsel's stock in the Ford company became the basis for the Ford Foundation. During their lifetimes Edsel and Eleanor both were major benefactors of charitable causes, including the Detroit Institute of Art. After Eleanor's death, many of the paintings in the home were given to the DIA.

The Edsel and Eleanor Ford Home was designed in 1927 by famed architect Albert Kahn, who was already close to the Ford family, having in 1909 designed Henry Ford's original Highland Park plant, where Henry perfected the assembly line in producing Model T's. Later, in 1917, Kahn designed the original huge Ford River Rouge Complex (later expanded), which was the largest factory in the world at that time, being 1/2 mile long and providing work for over 100,000 employees. Kahn was much more than an industrial designer, however, as he designed many iconic buildings in Detroit, nearby Windsor, Ontario, and at the University of Michigan before taking on the Edsel and Eleanor Ford House project in 1927. Among those earlier projects were the Hiram Walker Offices in Windsor, Detroit Athletic Club, Detroit News Building, Detroit Free Press Building, and UM's Angell Hall, Clements Library and Hill Auditorium, among others. It was only natural that Edsel and Eleanor turned to Kahn for the design of their home. Concurrent with the Ford Home project, Kahn designed Detroit's iconic Fisher Building.

Kahn, Edsel and Eleanor traveled to England to consider English styles for the home. When the three arrived in the Cotswold villages area (about 2 hours northwest of London) they found the style they wanted and Kahn designed their home with that style in mind. While construction of the 60-room, 30,000 square foot home (you'll see about 20 rooms) took only one year, it took an additional two years to complete the interior as many of the features were actually imported from England and other European countries. Fireplaces, stairways, relief-carved wood paneling, stained glass windows and many other features, dating from as early as the 1400's, made their way across the Atlantic to the Ford home.

As a juxtaposition to the European influence of most of the first floor, you'll find one room on the first floor and the bedrooms of the three sons on the second floor in an art deco style, designed by Walter Teague, a leading industrial designer of the 1930's. This is a reflection of Edsel's interest in modern design.

In addition to the guided tour of the home, you'll also see Josephine's "Playhouse" a child-sized house built for her as a present from Clara Ford, Henry's wife. At $15.000, this playhouse was bulit at a time when the average American home cost about $5,000. At the north end of the house you can visit the power plant, while beyond the south end are the swimming pool and "Recreation House". Beyond the Recreation House is the garden area, featuring gardens designed by Jens Jensen, a renowned garden designer of the time. Jensen designed the gardens at all four of the homes owned by Edsel and Eleanor.

Scheduled to be completed in 2020 are two new buildings on the 87-acre site, a 40,000 sf Visitor Center and a new 15,000 sf Administration Building.

The Edsel and Eleanor Ford House is well worth a visit. It has an interesting mix of grandeur without the ostentatiousness one might experience in the homes of other wealthy familes and industrialists of times past. This was truly a family home and despite its size, one can feel the family intimacy that filled these rooms.

Admission is $12 adults, $11 seniors, $8 children 6-12, and free for 5 and under.
Ford House Members are free.
Grounds-only Admission is $5 for adults, free for children under 5,

Highly Recommended! Enjoy....
Written December 22, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Jon B
Adrian, MI33 contributions
A Must See in Detroit
Nov 2019
I am not sure where to start. One of the things I want to stress is the size of the tours. They intentionally limit the group size to about 10. This makes for a real intimate setting to view this magnificent house. We did the behind the scenes tour as well so we got to tour the basement, the attic and the power plant. The docent was well informed and really knew the history of the family and the house. It was well worth the time and price of admission.
Written December 15, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Edsalldw
Ellsworth, ME305 contributions
On of best two hour tours
Oct 2019 • Couples
We have toured over 100 homes and this one along with RJ Reynolds house is the most impressive in terms of extravagant , beauty and cozy livability. Many are more historical better views over the top opulence etc but this home feels like you could live there ( if you could afford it) the tour gives you a real sense of the family who lived there until 1970’s I think.

Also as you find out in many tours the super rich did ( and maybe still do) do a lot of good with their money more efficientlyand with less corruption. Universities charity libraries foundations hospitals.

House has great architecture, Cezanne Matisse Renoir and other art 30,000 sq feet but no indoor pool!! Edsel went to work in a 40’ boat with 600 HP motor.
Written October 12, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

prairiefoxMn_Usa
MN - USA80 contributions
History frozen
Sep 2019
The home is essentially like it was as their home, only a few pictures have been moved to museums. The guides are wonderful and tell a wonderful story of a life lived in an era of opulence. But as opposed to some of the other mansions I have toured, this home was built in the 1920's and was built with a eye towards livability (OK - a high end form of livability).

If you like history, do not miss this home.
Written September 29, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

melissa w
Cincinnati, OH1,024 contributions
Well done tour
Aug 2019
I'm not completely into history or the Ford family, but my husband is which is why I went. The tour of the home is well done and interesting. The grounds are very pretty. There are some great pieces of art inside the home. Currently the pool and the garage are under renovations and will be really neat once done. You do walk outside at the end of the tour, so bring an umbrella or rain jacket if it could rain (we weren't told this). It was decent way to occupy a couple of hours while in the area for vacation.
Written August 15, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Edsel & Eleanor Ford House

Edsel & Eleanor Ford House is open:
  • Sun - Sun 12:00 PM - 4:00 PM
  • Tue - Fri 12:00 PM - 4:00 PM
  • Sat - Sat 11:00 AM - 4:00 PM