Apple Corporation today would not be the giant it is without the vision of one man, Steve Jobs. He saw that putting the power of computing into the hands of everyone would be a benefit beyond measure. He was right, it brought a massive increase in productivity and power to the people of this country and to the businesses that incorporated that productivity. I am no Steve Jobs, but I do see this city as something more than just a place to live and work, a place with a past history. I see it with a BRILLIANT future history.
Henry Ford, Michigan is a treasure. The home town of the most important industrialist of our time. He made his home here. He built his company here, he died here and produced a massive number of jobs right here in Henry Ford, Michigan. Was he perfect? Of course not, but get beyond his antisemitism, his lack of formal education, his views about Hitler and Germany in the thirties. Get over it. Are you so damn perfect? Dwell, instead on what he produced for American, the B-24’s out of Willow Run that brought Hitler to put a bullet in his temple. The $5.00 workday wage. The cars, the freedom he gave to us all. Dwell on that.
But do dwell on what you have and what you could have right here. You have it. He built it for you. Use it, use his name, leverage that name and produce something of real value with it. Build Henry Ford, Michigan, “THE AUTOMOTIVE TOURIST CAPITAL OF THE WORLD.”
What you have already: The Henry Ford, a 12 acre site that has no comparison anywhere in the world and obviously closely related to the automobile and the industrial strength of American in the 20th Century. There is Greenfield Village…where else can the people of America see, first hand how our country developed? These two attractions are a enough in themselves to demand serious attention to tourists. But you have more…you have Fairlane, the home of Henry Ford. Look what you have and you leverage all of this with the name “Dearborn?” Really, are you nuts? I don’t mean to be too insulting, but all I hear is how much taxes are, how slow the police department is, how long it takes to pick up the damn leaves. How much this costs and why you can’t afford it..It’s pathetic. It’s not the town I grew up in. You can change it. You can…if you decide to, if you want to, if you get busy and just do it as Nike says.
Look what you did have and what you could have again, the unbelievable, Ford Rotunda that as your editor said “The Ford Rotunda, was was the 5th most popular tourist destination in the United States in the mid-twentieth century. This futuristic structure received more visits in the 1950s than did the Statue of Liberty.” Ford used this a showplace for its vehicles. There was a “test track” that circled the building where visitors could drive a variety of Ford Cars. People loved the place. There were holiday shows and civic affairs of all kinds that drew people from miles away. It can be re-built again. Do it!
And the Rouge Plant tour…think of the power you have already with the Ford Visitor Center already in place for you! It is an exciting tourist attraction. Moving, alive and real. Name another…anywhere outside of the Disney complexes.
Take this simple phrase: “Henry Ford, Michigan, THE AUTOMOTIVE TOURIST CAPITAL OF THE WORLD.” Leverage it, market it, direct tourists to the sights, make it easy for them, use the power of PR and advertising. Get tourists to the city they will demand places to shop, places to stay, restaurants to eat in and maybe even a new SEASHORE POOL, a year-round destination pool with a center island just like the original and one that tourists and citizens can use 365 days/year. You are paying a fortune for small pools. Put that money where it can do some real good and give you a return!
But Dearborn…named after the “Adolf Eichman” of the removal of the Indians to West of the Mississippi. There are better names than a general whose ineptitude caused the surrender of Fort Detroit in the War of 1812. But first…change the name. Adopt the vision and implement it. I cannot think of one rational reason to not do it. I cannot think of one rational argument that could stand in its way once the PEOPLE of Henry Ford, Michigan come together to make something truly remarkable out of their/my city. I can think of a thousand irrational reasons to not do it… It is easy to be negative, to dwell on the negative. I have to ask you if Steve Jobs dwelled on all the reason why personal computing would be a flop…do you think you would be using your Iphone today?
George “Axxel” Knutson, formerly of Geneva St., “Henry Ford, MI” – now living in Bradenton, Florida
Editors note: We like these marketing, branding, and investment ideas, with one small change. Instead of : “Henry Ford, Michigan, The Automotive Tourist Capital of the World” – Let’s say “Dearborn, MI – home town of Henry Ford, and the Automotive Tourist Capital of the World”.