Today was my last day as an intern at the Henry Ford Estate (it will no longer be open to anyone until the ownership transfer is complete.. don’t get any funny ideas security will be watching it closely) and in honor of that I will tell you about the house that could have been the Ford’s final home.
Around 1909, Henry Ford began acquiring land in Dearborn, Michigan, to build a new home. Ford employed the Chicago architecture firm Von Holst & Fyfe; Von Holst and Fyfe is the architecture firm that took over all of Frank Lloyd Wright’s commissions when he ran off to Europe. When Wright left Chicago, his employee/former student Marion Mahony Griffin began to work for Von Holst & Fyfe. Griffin was chosen to design the Henry Ford Estate, Fair Lane (they named the house before it was even built). In 1912, Griffin completed her architectural drawings of the home (click photo to see image bigger) and in 1913, construction began. Somehow in the process of the foundation being laid Henry Ford decided that the architecture firm was not using his time or money properly and he fired Von Holst & Fyfe and decided to no longer build this beautiful prairie architecture home. He soon thereafter employed William VanTine and the weird Tudor Revival/ English Gothic/ Italianate/ Prairie home was built and completed in 1915.