"After driving past, we finally stopped. Glad we did …. we were welcomed to a slice of history we had never seen…You find out about a whole other side of Henry Ford I knew nothing about."
It's true—blink and you might miss it. Eight miles south of L'Anse and 40.6 miles east of Houghton on US Highway 41, the Ford Forest Center is an unexpected break in the western Upper Peninsula's terrain, streets laid out in orderly grids, lined with sharp-peaked 1,400-square foot clapboard houses on 90-by-50-foot lots. Built by Henry Ford after World War I to satisfy his company's lumber needs (Woodies and more) the planned community of Alberta, centered around its sawmill, was part of Ford's extensive northern holdings and one of his statewide Village Industries.
Closed due to lumber industry fluctuations in 1954, the village never got the post office, store, church, additional homes, and drive around the lake that Henry envisioned.
Henry believed in learning through doing. So does Michigan Tech.
More than 60 years after the sawmill, village, and 3,700 acres were donated to Michigan Tech, the Ford Center's mission to provide an ideal setting for field-based education, research, and demonstration in sustainable use of forest-based natural resources continues. In our 3,700-acre living lab we manage the forests of today and work to ensure they'll be around in the future.
You don't have to be a scientist, researcher, or timber harvester to enjoy the Ford Center's combination of historic and natural beauty.
We offer a peaceful, scenic, affordable setting for group get-togethers of all kinds: reunions, conferences, life events, adventure vacations, and special occasions. Indoor and outdoor recreation, tasty meals, and the call of the wild await (deer, moose, swans, and salamanders—some of the usual suspects around these parts).
They don't call us Tech for nothing.
Rustic? You bet. But we also have the facilities, resources, and equipment you need to bring training and other presentations to life—Wifi to audiovisual equipment, wet lab to break-out rooms.
Daytrippers also welcome.
Visit the sawmill museum, and the Knothole Gift Shop (especially if you're a birdseye-maple fan). Walk the streets, past homes named after tree species : Birch, Beech, Elm, Spruce—built from the first lumber that came off the sawmill. Maybe you can stay a little longer next time.
Quiet, yes. But far from a ghost town.
Explore the trails, paddle the waters, live the history, and be inspired for the future. Whether it's a professional conclave or a family getaway, we're ready to help you plan your Ford Center event. Contact us today!