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Historic Hines Drive



Tour Overview

Cruise through the western suburbs of Detroit along beautiful Hines Drive, a 17-mile long road that follows the path of the Rouge River from Dearborn to Northville.  Prior to European settlement of the area, the Rouge served as the road through this country for local Indian tribes and for French and English trappers.  Later, the river was a pathway for escaped slaves on their way to Canada along the Underground Railroad.  Hines Drive was built in 1949 with land donated by Henry Ford and was named after Edward Hines, head of the Wayne County Road Commission.  Along the way there are a number of historic mills, some of which Henry Ford used to make automobile parts.  In addition to mills, Hines Drive is lined with baseball and soccer fields, hiking and biking paths, fishing docks, and picnic areas.  Exploring the cities of Dearborn, Plymouth, and Northville is an added bonus when traveling this multi-faceted parkway.


Note:  Sections of Hines Drive are located in a flood plain, which means the drive may be closed during periods of heavy rain.  Ann Arbor Trail can be used as an alternate route and will take you along generally the same, though less scenic, path.



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Henry_Ford_Estate_1 UpdatedHenry Ford Estate -- Fair Lane [A]

4901 Evergreen Rd., Dearborn



Though not directly on Hines Drive, the Henry Ford Estate is a stone's throw away and an appropriate start to your journey when you consider Ford's role in the creation of the roadway.  This Great Estate and National Historic Landmark was the home of Clara and Henry Ford for over thirty years.  Construction began in 1914 with between 500 and 800 masons, wood carvers, and artisans working under the direction of architect William Van Tine to complete the estate.  Tour the 31,000 square foot, 56-room residence, where the Fords entertained some of the world’s most influential people, including President Herbert Hoover, the Prince of Wales, aviator Charles Lindbergh, and lifelong friend Thomas Edison.  Explore the spacious rooms with original furnishings and eight intricately designed fireplaces.  View the six-level working powerhouse, research laboratory, and 12-car garage with some of Ford's personal vehicles.  And follow Ford’s favorite walk down to the pond hidden in the woods.  The meadow and cascade were designed by renowned landscape designer Jans Jensen and are acknowledged to be two of the greatest examples of landscape in America.  Last but not least, do not forget a bite to eat in the mansion's unique swimming pool room.  An unforgettable experience all around!




Nankin Mills 2 -- nankinmillsNankin Mills [B]

33175 Ann Arbor Trail, Westland



This building dates back to 1842 when it operated as a grist mill and was the catalyst for the development of a thriving community that sprung up around it.  In 1918, Nankin Mills was purchased by Henry Ford who made major changes to the mill to transform it into a small automotive factory.  Despite the renovations, Ford worked hard to maintain the integrity of the historic building, including the original tongue and groove hardwood flooring fastened to the support beams with wooden pegs.  Nankin Mills now serves as an interpretive center that tells of the area's cultural and natural history.  A great historical stop!


Plymouth -- City of Plymouth websitePlymouth [C]

Vicinity of Main Street and Ann Arbor Trail



Plymouth is one of the oldest communities in Michigan, settled in 1825 and incorporated as a city in 1867.  It has a vibrant downtown with a variety of shops and restaurants surrounding a beautiful park.  The park is the focal point of the city and hosts major community events such as the popular Fall Festival, Ice Sculpture Spectacular, and Art in the Park.  In addition to a beautiful downtown, Plymouth has a number of well-preserved historic homes within walking distance.  Do not pass up a visit to this quaint city!


downtownnorthvilleclockNorthville [D]

Vicinity of Main Street and Center Street



This distinctive community was incorporated as a city in 1867 and is known for its rolling hills and attractive countryside.  The city retains a small-town atmosphere with stately Victorian-era architecture in its Historic District and well-kept older homes built before the 1930s.  A "walk to" downtown boasts of old-fashioned street lamps, benches, specialty shops, galleries, theaters, restaurants, businesses, and preserved landmarks.  Points of interest in the area include the Northville Downs Racetrack, Northville Cider Mill, Mill Race Historical Village, art festivals, the Victorian Festival, holiday celebrations, and nearby Maybury State Park.  Without a doubt one of the Detroit area's most charming communities!


Tour Map

Number of Destinations:  4

Overall Tour Time:  1 day


Hines Drive




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Related Tours

African American Heritage

Automotive Heritage

Historic Sites

Mansions & Great Estates


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Wayne County Parks




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