With an emphasis on sustainability, the Ford House opens new visitors center, restaurant, and more

For all of its history, the Ford House in Grosse Pointe Shores continues to reimagine its future.

With construction beginning in 1926 and completed in 1929, the original Ford House was the private estate of the Edsel and Eleanor Ford family; Henry Ford was Edsel’s father. Legendary Detroit architect Albert Kahn designed the four original buildings on the property. Danish-American landscape architect Jens Jensen designed its gardens.

The estate was opened to the public as a museum and events space in 1978.

Late last month, the Ford House debuted a 40,000 sq. ft. visitors center, its first major expansion in more than 90 years. Construction of a 17,000 sq. ft. administrative building was also recently completed.

Both buildings were designed to be net-zero energy efficient.

“Our goal is to weave together the Ford family legacy with 21st century technology,” says Ford House President & CEO Mark Heppner. “This milestone expansion project was designed with the visitor experience top of mind. The brand-new, state of the art Visitor Center is our commitment that Ford House will always be an inclusive community destination.”

Inside The Continental, the new restaurant at the Ford House.The visitors center at the Ford House includes exhibition spaces, event spaces, conference rooms, and educational workshops and classrooms. A grand opening for The Continental, a lakeside restaurant with patio dining options, is scheduled for Thursday, June 3.

Restoration of the original property, including the swimming pool, lagoon, and landscaping, is expected to be completed in 2022.

The Ford Cove Shoreline and Coastal Wetland Restoration Project, which will restore the estate’s coastline to its natural features, was announced earlier this year.

A rare car exhibit opens at the Ford House.“The addition of the new Visitor Center will allow Ford House to more completely tell the stories of the life and legacy of my grandparents, Edsel and Eleanor Ford, their beloved home and the artists and designers who collaborated to create it,” says Lynn Ford Alandt, chairperson of the Ford House board of trustees.

“My grandmother wanted her estate to be a place where people feel welcomed. We look forward to welcoming visitors from all over the world to enjoy the expanded amenities these new buildings will offer.”

More about the Ford House, including information for visitors, is available online.

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MJ Galbraith is a writer and musician living in Detroit. Follow him on Twitter @mikegalbraith.