His name is known for one of the biggest automobile flops of all time: the Edsel.

Yet it didn’t seem to bother Edsel Ford the least little bit. He was living a fine life and had his own retreat – an embellished, luxurious lodge by the name of Haven Hill in Oakland County.

Edsel and his wife Eleanor had the lavish structure built in 1923 to be used as a close-by place where they could get away from the business world. At the time, the area was mostly countryside, loaded with trees and very little people.

According to trekers.org, Edsel’s retreat was a 6,900 square-foot log lodge built on 2,400 acres of purchased property on the highest point of Oakland County. Edsel made sure there were lots of amenities for his famous guests, like extensive gardens, riding stables, a swimming pool, tennis courts, and a motorized toboggan run. Some of the members on his guest list included Admiral Richard Byrd, Thomas Edison, “Tarzan” creator Edgar Rice Burroughs, and Charles Lindbergh. And don’t forget the animals! There was a 15,000 square foot barn that was home to sheep and cows.

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Other inclusions were a carriage house – which turned into a playhouse for the kids – and the gate house. The gate house was home for the head of security, who was also the farm administrator.

After Edsel died in 1943, Eleanor decided to get rid of it – she sold it to the State of Michigan, hoping it would be used as part of a park project. The state used it for a conference center for a while but closed it down during the 1980s. A fire was caused by vandals that burned the place to the ground in 1999. Today, the remains sit in the Highland State Recreation Area…I say ‘remains’ thanks to a fire that destroyed the whole place. You can still see the stonework, some foundations, markings where the rooms used to be, and the stone chimney. The stables also burned and the barn collapsed thanks to heavy winds in 2008.

Today, you can visit and walk through these remains of good ol’ Edsel’s gaudy getaway. It’s sitting out in the middle of the woods in Highland Charter Township, just west of Haven Hill Lake. Take a look at the gallery below!

Remains of Edsel Ford's Retreat

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