Sitting almost in the shadow of Detroit at the far western edge of Wayne County is Cherry Hill, one of Canton Township’s historic villages. This is the location where you will find Henry Ford’s last village industry and a large industrial warehouse on 14 acres of property that has been vacant for over 10 years. The Cherry Hill Ford Factory Complex consisted of two buildings: the Veteran’s Dormitory and the Ford Factory. In 2003, this village industry was added to the National Historical Registry as part of the Cherry Hill Historic District.
The Veterans Dormitory:
Originally built in the early 1900’s, as a creamery in the village of Cherry Hill. Henry Ford purchased the Wilson Dairy building in 1943 and had it moved to its current location next to the factory he was constructing. Ford then transformed the creamery into a residence hall for the disabled veterans that worked at his Cherry Hill Plant. The 2600 square foot dormitory housed from 18-22 men as well as the staff, which consisted of the cook and his assistant.
The Ford Factory:
The Cherry Hill Ford Plant began operations in July 1944; it served two main purposes: to provide training and rehabilitation to returning veterans and to supplement work at the Willow Run Bomber Plant. The two-story, concrete-block building, covered with stucco, originally had 3,100 square feet of workspace on the first floor and over 2,000 square feet of workspace on the lower level. The veterans manufactured automobile parts, including radiator parts, ignition locks and keys until the factory ceased production in 1945.
In August 2012, the Partnership for the Arts & Humanities acquired this site in a local auction. This fate enabled the Partnership to begin developing a strategic plan that will incorporate these historical Canton landmarks along with a master community revitalization plan for Cherry Hill Village. The Partnership believes that the Village Arts Factory could contribute to Michigan’s new economy by providing affordable workshop space, in addition to a common gallery space and retail outlet for a unique assortment of locally produced goods. Heavy consideration is being made to also include a destination food and beverage service to compliment the array of offerings on the property. Further opportunities exist to partner with local universities and institutions for the advancement of art, skill trades or employment training in this educational setting.
2017 © Partnership for the Arts & Humanities.
P.O. Box 871722, Canton, MI 48187