Celebrating the Model A with Henry Ford
Next week, the Model A Ford Club of America will be celebrating the Model A in Upper Michigan. For the entire list of events, visit the club’s website at http://superioraclub.com/
One of the club’s members, Guy Forstrom, published a fascinating book last year about Henry Ford, the inventor of the Model A, and one of his famous camping trips to the Upper Peninsula along with Thomas Edison, Harvey Firestone, and their wives. Below is the review I wrote for the book which was published in the Marquette Monthly in January 2012 and is reprinted here with permission:
Camping in Cloverland with Henry Ford
By Guy Forstrom
In 1923, Henry Ford made a historic tour of Upper Michigan, accompanied by Harvey Firestone, Thomas Edison, their three wives, servants, and the crew of Ford’s luxurious yacht, the Sialia. Among the places the party visited were Iron Mountain, Michigamme, L’Anse, and Pequaming. They traveled by automobile and yacht.
Guy Forstrom, a resident of Iron Mountain, one of the places Ford visited in 1923, has written several articles for national car club magazines on Henry Ford. To compile Camping in Cloverland with Henry Ford, Forstrom spent considerable time researching the Ford camping trip and tracking down nearly every mention of it in the Upper Peninsula papers, all of which he reproduces here along with about forty images of Ford, Edison, and Firestone’s famous visit. The story is beautifully presented with the text laid out to look like the original newspaper stories while the photographs fill 8.5 x 11 pages, bringing the people and places to life for the reader.
The celebrity of Henry Ford in 1923 was at an all time high and readers will be fascinated by all the buzz the visit generated in the press. Ford was repeatedly asked that summer whether he would run for President of the United States, and at one point, he even hailed a hero for putting out a fire in Michigamme. He was followed about whether he was visiting one of his business interests or just relaxing.
Mrs. Ford also received her fair share of attention from the press when she visited Michigamme; a group of girls and women from neighboring camp Cha Ton Ka—among the many seeking autographs of the famous people—were scolded by Mrs. Ford for dressing in overalls and rolled down stockings; the women of Michigamme thanked Mrs. Ford for her attitude and assured her those women were outsiders to the village.
During the visit, Thomas Edison came down with a slight cold, but soon, the press was exaggerating his illness. Inquiries by phone came to the U.P. from New York, Chicago, Minneapolis and other cities for information about Mr. Edison’s health. Across the state and as far away as Detroit, rumors spread that Edison had died, but truthfully, he had quickly recovered from his cold.
Beyond being an interesting study in early celebrities and their depiction in the press, Camping in Cloverland is a true camping treat because Henry Ford knew how to camp in style. Although he and his companions had plenty of publicity photos taken of them camping in tents, much of the camping trip was spent in buildings, and frequently, on Ford’s fabulous yacht, the Sialia (with its crew of thirty); an interior photo of this luxurious boat is included in the book.
Anyone who is fascinated by Henry Ford or his companions, who wants to learn about early U.P. industries—particularly the automobile and sawmill industries—or who simply wonders what it would have been like to be famous in 1923 will enjoy reading Camping in Cloverland and viewing its historic photographs. In addition, each copy of the book comes with a free photo of Ford, Edison, and Firestone, with Ford and Firestone sporting cowboy hats, cigarettes and pistols.
Next to actually camping with Henry Ford, reading this book is the next best thing.
For more information about the book and Guy Forstrom, visit www.CampingwithHenryFord.com
Upper Michigan Books and Authors, Upper Michigan History
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