The Ford House

Edsel & Eleanor Ford House tells the story of the home life of a prominent American family.

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Ford House Commemorates Construction Milestone with Beam Signing
Posted: April 5, 2019

Edsel & Eleanor Ford House today announced that construction crews are preparing to install the final steel beam to complete the structure of its new administration building and visitor center later this month.
In honor of the upcoming milestone, members of the Ford House board of trustees signed the final steel beam to be installed.
Construction continues to be on schedule with both buildings projected to open in Spring 2020. Find out more at
“Completing the steel structure for the new buildings is the next major step toward our vision for the estate,” said Lynn Ford Alandt, board chair of the Ford House board of trustees. “It really helps build anticipation to see them taking shape and to imagine the new experiences that the staff are busy developing for guests to enjoy.”
Ford House broke ground on the new facilities in 2017 as part of a long-term master plan to preserve the historic core of the National Historic Landmark estate, while vastly improving and expanding the visitor experience and amenities. The new buildings are the first major construction on the historic estate in more than 25 years, and the largest new construction since the home was built in 1929. 
“The expansion is part of our Ford House Forward initiative,” said Mark Heppner, president and CEO of Ford House. “We are making upgrades to the estate in alignment with the stewardship and sustainability values that were important to the Ford family and driving it forward to enrich the visitor experience and strengthen the Ford family legacy.”
Frank Rewold & Son Inc., the project’s construction manager, dedicated much of 2018 working to prepare the site for construction. To set the foundation for its net-zero goals, 16 geothermal wells were dug for an energy-saving closed-circuit geothermal system that will heat and cool the new administration building.
“The system uses the ground as a natural reservoir for energy. Geothermal heat pumps help moderate the heating and cooling needs by tapping into the earth’s energy,” said Gene Ferrera, senior project manager for Frank Rewold & Son Inc. “The geothermal system is just one element of the project, which was designed by architectural firm SmithGroup, that will help Ford House meet its sustainability goals.”
The new 40,000-square-foot visitor center will be a two-story building designed to LEED Gold to Platinum standards. It will feature dedicated space for enhancing the visitor orientation, education and overall experience for Ford House visitors. It will have space for traveling and changing exhibits to complement and enrich ongoing programming, indoor and outdoor classrooms as well as an expanded restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating for 120 people, museum store and a 200-seat second-floor event space overlooking Ford Cove with full audio-visual capabilities and food service.
The new 17,000-square-foot administration building will remove Ford House operations from the main house and other historic buildings, allowing the organization to better preserve the historic core. It will enable the relocation of 98 percent of the staff who are stationed within historic buildings, including an area which was historically staff quarters of the main house. To further enhance the visitor experience, Ford House plans to restore these spaces and incorporate them into their tours and educational programming for guests. The administration building is set to be energy net-zero to net-positive, creating as much or more energy than it consumes. Any excess energy it creates will contribute energy to the visitor center.
The parking lot is being designed to preserve nearby wetland areas. Rows will be separated by bioswales planted with environmentally-beneficial vegetation to help filter and improve the quality of storm water runoff before it enters Lake St. Clair.
Ford House is open during construction. Visitor arrival is temporarily located in the historic garage, with nearby parking provided. Most annual events such as the Detroit Symphony Orchestra at Ford House, EyesOn Design Car Show, Michigan Humane Society Mutt March and Michigan Anti-Cruelty Society Pooch Prance will continue to be held on the estate’s grounds. Click here to find information on upcoming events.

About Edsel & Eleanor Ford House
Edsel & Eleanor Ford House is located at 1100 Lake Shore Road in Grosse Pointe Shores. Since 1978, Ford House has welcomed hundreds of thousands of visitors to share in Eleanor Ford’s vision of preserving the estate for future generations to enjoy through interpretive tours, family activities, lectures, exhibits and gardens and grounds events. For more information, visit or call 313.884.4222 and connect with the Ford House on Facebook, Instagram (@eefordhouse) and Twitter (@fordhouse).

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