Posted by: Kath Usitalo | September 8, 2011

A Gem Of A Spot In Greenfield Village

After he relocated the jewelry shop from Detroit to Greenfield Village, Henry Ford sat at this table to tinker with watches, a pastime of his since his youth

Just before Paige left for college we made a quick tour of some of her favorite spots in the 313, including Greenfield Village, the outdoor portion of The Henry Ford museum complex in Dearborn.

Grimm Jewelry Store once stood on Michigan Avenue near Detroit's Corktown

The sky was threatening rain, but we only had a short time for our visit and figured we’d chance it. If necessary we’d duck into one of the historic structures until the storm blew over.

When the downpour came we were at the Grimm Jewelry Store, a pretty little building I hadn’t stepped into in years. It’s situated across the lawn from the carousel and not on my “usual” route through the Village, so I’m glad we were sidetracked and were able to spend a little extra time to learn about the history of the business.

With the merry-go-round music as backdrop, the docent (unfortunately, I didn’t get his name) explained that jeweler Engelbert Grimm commissioned architect Peter Dederichs Jr. to design his shop for a spot on Detroit’s Michigan Avenue, just about across the street from where Slows Bar-B-Q stands.

Of course Slows wasn’t a BBQ joint in the 1880s; it was a KFC, I believe.

Grimm and his wife and children lived above the shop, which he operated from 1886 to 1931.

The store’s showcases and shelves now hold examples of the mass produced clocks and everyday or costume jewelry that Mr. Grimm carried for his working class clientele. Henry Ford frequented the shop on the city’s west side and in 1940, after his friend died, Ford relocated the building to Greenfield Village and restored it to its 1880s roots.

A docent explains to Paige the tradition of making watch chains from a dear one's hair

When he was in the Village Henry Ford occasionally stopped in to tinker with watches—something he’d done since childhood—-at the repair table in the window.

I happened on this “Pic of the Month” entry on The Henry Ford website that shares more about the architect, the structure, and historic photos of the Grimm Jewelry Store.

The rain soon stopped, the sun peaked through, and we were able to squeeze in a ride on the 1913 Herschell Spillman carousel.

Never too old for a merry-go-round ride

Paige was about 5 when the carousel, with its 40 hand-carved animals, was relocated from the Suwanee Park area of Greenfield Village to its more central location. We remembered that we waited for an hour to ride it back then.

And yes, although I got a little weepy when I saw other parents enjoying the rainy day ride with their 5-year olds I resisted the urge to say, “Enjoy every minute; time really does fly!”

A memorable afternoon with “my little girl” before she headed to New York state (which, coincidentally, is where the carousel was built).

And the seasons go round and round.

Visitor Info Clicks:

The Henry Ford

Detroit

Pure Michigan

Related Link:

Mati’s Deli

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