Historical Society and Village Partner to Restore Pettibone Creek Hydroelectric Station

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Preservation Award for Powerhouse


Milford Historical Society’s preservation work on the Pettibone Hydroelectric Station was recognized by Preservation Wayne, Detroit's oldest and largest architectural preservation organization, at their 2008 honor award dinner at Detroit’s Gem Theatre.

Honored with a “Regional Neighbors,’ award, the Historical Society joined a distinguished list of honorees representing important preservation work including Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit Film Theater, Detroit Athletic Club, New Center Council, Indian Village Homeowners Association, Detroit Economic Growth Corporation and Detroit’s Book Cadillac, among others. For a full listing of the honorees and more information on Preservation Wayne, go to www.preservationwayne.org .


Preserving and Restoring the Powerhouse

Whether you're an architect, an engineer, a history buff, a factory worker, or kid who likes to watch water flow over a dam, you will want to visit the Powerhouse . . . and then you'll understand why the Pettibone Creek Hydroelectric Station is becoming Milford's most important historical site.  
The names Henry Ford (who built it) and Albert Kahn (the architect) certainly command attention. The potential to produce electricity in this renewable energy driven world is another reason. The impact the auto industry has had on all of us in Michigan is yet another.
The Milford Historical Society, through the Pettibone Creek Hydroelectric Station Restoration subcommittee, acts as agent for the Village of Milford which owns the building. The goal goes beyond saving an old building from the wrecking ball. Phase I of the project, exterior restoration, was completed in 2005. Interior restoration, site work , producing hydroelectric power and telling the fascinating story of Henry Ford's "Village Industry" in Milford are all part of the committee's work toward optimal use of this resource for the community.

What's the Story?


Henry Ford changed the world some 100 years ago. Milford’s Powerhouse is here today to help tell that story.


Henry  Ford changed the world, not because he built cars, but because he invented and refined a system the world had never seen before, the assembly line. This invention brought about an industrial revolution that impacted the world. Not only did it dramatically change the way things were manufactured, it changed social structures, economic systems, transportation. It changed the world . . . and it happened right here in our own backyard.  We all live so close to the origins of this important development that we take it for granted. The Rouge Plant, where visitors come from all over the world to see how it all started, was just a place to go to work for thousands of people, our neighbors, our grandfathers, our aunts.


As Henry Ford was changing the world, he found his way to Milford. Our Powerhouse is evidence of his work in our own backyard . It stands to remind us of a vision that not many people know anything about, Ford's “Village Industries.” The Pettibone Creek Hydroelectric Station in Milford's Central Park is part of a much bigger story about the origins of the world's automotive center and its impact. 

The Milford story has many chapters:
Ford’s vision of coupling “field and factory;” locating small industrial complexes on waterpowers developed by earlier settlers; using water powers to create electricity for the factories; Ford's industrial architect, Albert Kahn; our reawakening interest in renewable energy; the importance of preservation.
Milford's Powerhouse is the visible icon that reminds us there is a story to tell. Welcome to a journey back in time that carries us into the future.
The Pettibone Creek Hydroelectric Station was designed by Albert Kahn
and built by Henry Ford in 1939. 
Over time the station became known as Milford 's Powerhouse.
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