Nankin Mills Nature Center, photo submitted 1978
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Nankin Mills Nature Center
33175 Ann Arbor Trail, Westland - Wayne County
Property Type frame building
Historic Use INDUSTRY/PROCESSING/EXTRACTION/manufacturing facility
Current Use LANDSCAPE
Style Greek Revival
Architect/Builder Henry Ford
Significant Person Henry Ford
Narrative Description The Nankin Mills Nature Center is a two-and-one-half-story, side-gabled, frame-and-clapboard, Greek Revival structure with twelve-over-twelve double-hung sash windows, decorative brackets at the corniceline, a wide frieze, and a full-length, one-story porch supported by square columns.
Statement of Significance The Nankin Mills Nature Center has historical significance as a grist mill erected between 1835 and 1842 and as part of Henry Ford's plan to develop village industry mills along the Rouge and other small rivers. Ford believed that farmers working in an atmosphere of cleanliness and tranquility would restore a proper balance between the industrialized city and rural communities. Although his experiment intrigued American and European planners, it proved unprofitable. After World War II the mills closed. The Wayne County Road Commission acquired Nankin Mills, and in 1956 it was given new life as a nature center.
Marker Name Nankin Mills
Marker Text NANKIN MILLS Two grist mills have occupied this site. The first was built between 1835 and 1842; the present was constructed soon after the Civil War. In 1918, Henry Ford purchased it as part of a plan to develop village mill industries along the Rouge and other small rivers. Equipped with a turbine generator, Nankin Mills produced engravings, carburetor parts, rivets and bearings. Ford believed that farmers working in an atmosphere of cleanliness and tranquility would restore a proper balance between the industrialized city and rural communities. Although his experiment intrigued American and European planners, it proved unprofitable. After World War II the mills closed. The Wayne County Road Commission acquired Nankin Mills, and in 1956 it was given new life as a nature center.
Period of Significance 1901-1930
Significant Date(s) c. 1835, c. 1865, 1918
Registry Type(s) 03/22/1977 Marker erected
03/11/1967 State Register listed
Site ID# P25362