Starting with a painstaking replica of his childhood farm built on a plot of land not far from his Dearborn estate, Ford created what has since grown into a major regional tourist-attraction called Greenfield Village. Today 1.5-million people annually visit this place which boasts the world’s largest concentration of historical buildings moved from their original locations to a new site. Today, there are nearly 100 historical buildings “preserved” in the walled 240-acre compound, many of them chosen and situated to represent a typical American village somewhere between 1870 and 1910. There’s a town square, a courthouse (where young Abe Lincoln practiced law), a general store, and a chapel. Seersuckered historical interpretors as friendly as Mormon missionaries prowl the streets in straw hats, pouncing on unsuspecting tourists:
It’s a living diorama of nostalgia. Visiting Greenfield Village is like wandering through Mitch Albom’s cloying fantasy of “the good old days.” If you don’t watch out, you might get serenaded by an impromptu BARBERSHOP SEXTET.