Phoenix Mill

Henry Ford purchased this site in 1920. It had been the site of the Phoenix Gristmill, built in 1840, and the Matthews Distillery. Both had burned down. Ford constructed a new building in 1922, designed by legendary architect Albert Kahn, beside the millpond of Phoenix Lake. The plant was unique in that it employed mostly women because Ford felt that women were more adept at assembling delicate electrical parts such as voltage meters, light switches, and generator cutouts.

Ford Motor Company deeded the property to Wayne County in 1948 after it moved these operations to Ypsilanti. Phoenix Mill has served as a maintenance facility for the County. For 25 years it served as the Wayne County Road Commission's sign shop and later it was home to Wayne County's Bridges Division.

In 2018, the Wayne County Commission approved a development agreement with Critical Mass, LLC to rehabilitate the building while respecting original styling envisioned by Ford and Kahn, incorporating public uses and interpretive space. In addition to reactivating the space and celebrating its history, the Phoenix Mill development envisions better connecting the Phoenix Mill site's green space with Hines Park trails and facilities. The project plan calls tangible steps toward that goal, including removing fencing that separates the mill from the park as well as adding bicycle parking, flower beds, improving public access to the river, and opening up the viewshed to Phoenix Lake.

Categories: #Mills
<span class="translation_missing" title="translation missing:">Load Comment Text</span>