Astonishingly, in the midst of this heavily-industrial landscape, just a few miles up the river from the Ford Rouge plant, nestled on the riverbank in a wooded area just a stone's throw from the most heavily-industrialized neighborhoods in the nation, is Henry Ford's magnificent Fairlane Mansion. And in the river next to the mansion, Henry Ford & Thomas Edison created a hydroelectric dam that doubled as a gorgeous waterfall. It is amazing to travel the length of the river, from where it meets the Detroit River at Zug Island, an enormous center of steelmaking, past the Rouge plant where steel is turned into automobile, to Ford's mansion in the woods, just a few miles upstream.
The people who live among the behemoths of industry along the river in the communities of Delray and River Rouge hardly experience the small-town feel of Greenfield Village or the beauty of Fairlane. And one cannot help but think about all those cars, many of which originated from this very spot over the decades, and of all the freeways, stripmalls, tract homes & drive-thrus that have consumed the American landscape as a result. The River Rouge is truly a metaphor of Detroit & its industrial history, and a stunning example of American capitalism & one man's control of a way of life.