The Edsel and Eleanor Ford House in Grosse Pointe Shores has undergone major electrical upgrades, received a new storm-water management system, and added a bridge to connect neighboring Bird Island to the mainland as part of an effort to restore and rehabilitate the historic estate.
“The landscape of this magnificent estate has matured at the same time that the infrastructure has aged,” says Kathleen Mullins, president and CEO of the Ford House. “As we plan for the future, we are taking this opportunity to replace aging systems with state-of-the-art, more efficient systems, and to restore the landscape to the period when Eleanor and Edsel called the estate home.”
A small portion of Bird Island, a peninsula created by the Fords and their landscape architect Jens Jensen to attract migratory birds, was removed to allow water to circulate between the cove and the lake. The effort reduces the risks associated with stagnant water, including algae blooms. The island reopens on July 8, and visitors will have the chance to walk across the newly installed footbridge.
Dave Miller, a project manager for the Ford House, says he and his team have replaced more than 16,000 feet of underground electrical cabling, added 50,000 feet of underground piping, and installed 1,000 sprinkler heads as part of a sensor-based irrigation system.
The Ford House, built in 1915 and designed by architect Albert Kahn, resembles an English cottage with a stone roof, vine-covered walls, and lead-paned windows.
Miller says the Ford House will continue renovations on the house and grounds. An administration building may be added in the future.