Helping to Ensure Nankin Mills Remains
A Link To Our Past,
Historic Hines Drive And Its Mills
Pathway To Freedom
Mills And Hines Drive
(Click on the thumbnail photos below to see a larger view of each mill as it currently appears. Most have had their exteriors and interiors extensively remodeled since they served as Ford plants, including having some windows and/or doors covered by bricks or cement block.)
The Mills Along Hines Drive
Newburgh Mill (Hines Drive and Newburgh Road) -- Originally a cider mill had stood on the site in the village of Newburg. Ford built a new mill on that site in 1934 for one of his village industry plants. Like with Nankin Mills, Ford donated land around the mill for the parkway in return for Wayne County reconstructing the nearby dam, which he could use for hydroelectric power. At one time, the Newburgh plant produced 95 percent of all the drills used by Ford plants worldwide. In 1948, the plant was closed and deeded over to Wayne County. The Wayne County Sheriffís department now uses the mill for its Parks and Mounted division.
Gunsolly Mill (Hines Drive near Plymouth Road) -- There was a carding mill here and Ford used to come with his family to have their wool carded. (Carding cleans, separates, and straightens the wool fibers, producing lofty wool ready for spinning into yarn.) Ford didnít use the mill as one of his industry plants but bought it and had it relocated to Greenfield Village. The site is now a picnic area.
Wilcox Mill (Hines Drive and Wilcox Road) -- This plant was built in 1923 and stands on the site of the old Hardenbergh grist mill build around 1850. Samuel Hardenbergh also owned Nankin Mills. Because of the millís poor condition, Ford was forced to replace the mill. The mill was used by Ford to produce generator cut outs and in later years, taps. Like with other mills, a hydroelectric generator powered the machinery. In 1948, the mill and adjacent lands were deeded to Wayne County.
Phoenix Mill (Hines Drive and Northville Road) Ė This mill once stood near the former town of Phoenix. The original mill stood here from 1840 to 1905 when it burned down. Ford bought the site in 1919 and built the new mill, which opened in 1922 to produce electrical parts. This mill was unique in that most of its employees were women. Because Ford didnít believe that married women should work outside the home, the women working at Phoenix were either single or widowed. The mill is in the process of becoming a museum to honor working women. View the Phoenix Mill Women's Museum Web site
Meads Mill (Hines Drive north of 5 Mile) Ė A former bell foundry was located near here. A portion of the mill including parts of the undershoot wheel can be seen. The ruins were moved to this spot when the river was relocated during the building of Hines Drive.
Waterford Mill (Hines Drive south of 6 Mile at Mill road) ĖFord purchased the mill and dam in 1925 to produce high precision gauges. When many of the other mills were closed in 1948, production from many of them was moved to Waterford. The mill operated into the 1950ís when it was sold. It is in private hands. Up Mill Road is the former village of Waterford, including an old Cemetery.
Northville Mill (North of Seven Mile in the village of Northville) Ė This mill is not on Hines Drive. It was the first of Fordís Village Industry mills to open and the last to close. Ford opened the mill in 1920.This had been a mill site since 1827. A sawmill was in operation here when Ford purchased the site. Ford finally closed the mill in the 1980ís. It is privately owned.
Facts About Hines Drive
Please note: Sections of Hines Drive are located in a flood plain. This means the drive may be closed after a heavy rain. This is normal. Better the roadway floods then basements downstream.
Much of the information used in preparing this summary was adapted from ďTour of Historic Hines DriveĒ written by Nancy Darga, manager of Design, Wayne County Parks. The Friends of Nankin Mills is grateful for her hard work and her generosity in allowing us to share the material.
Web site copyright 2003 Friends of Nankin Mills