A Look at Cotswold Cottage

We are in Michigan visiting family and this week took a walk back in history at The Henry Ford in Dearborn, Michigan...

Cotswold Cottage is one of the many historic homes found at Greenfield Village. It was originally built in the 1620's in Chedworth, Gloucestershire in the Cotswold Hills of southwestern England. Henry Ford purchased the cottage, barn, dovecote, forge and fences for $5,000 in 1929. The structures were dismantled; each stone labeled individually, and then packed and shipped to America and reassembled in Michigan.

This was my favorite of all the historic homes. It is warm and welcoming and very picturesque.

The walled flower garden is typical of Victorian gardens. The ideology of the late Victorian era required less maintenance and more natural growth instead of manicured features. Exotics were most popular during the era of colonization. Azalea, hydrangea, peony, hosta, delphinium, aster, lavender, and yarrow are some of the commonly planted perennials.

Filled with happy plants and lots of color. All shades of red, purple, yellow, orange, blue and pink all together work in this garden.

This view looks out toward the barn and dovecote. The dovecote was used to house pigeons or doves. Dovecotes generally contained holes for the birds to nest. Historically, pigeons and dove were an important food source in Western Europe and were kept for eggs, meat and manure. Apparently the manure would fetch a nice price and was used in the tanning of leather. I wonder if they used it in their gardens too.

Clara Ford, the wife of Henry Ford, loved cottage style gardens and was President of the Women's National Farm & Garden Association for many years.

This cottage was built during the first waves of English immigration to the colonies. Limestone was an abundant resource in England and many of the modest homes found in the country were built out of this stone. (If you look at the photo above you can see the Farris Windmill built in the 1600's and said to be the oldest windmill in the United States.)

Look closely at the wall on this side of the house and you can see niches for birds to nest. The roof tiles are all crafted from limestone and the gutter and downspouts are very ornamental.


This building style became a favorite architectural model in America in the 1920's & 30's, especially for homes of the wealthy.

It is a little bit of country cottage heaven, English history and garden eye candy all rolled into one.


  1. Very interesting, and I love the stone walks lined with flowers. I can't help but wonder, though, why didn't he just build a replica here? Wouldn't that have been easier than dismantling, shipping, and reassembling?

    1. Probably! All the homes in Greenfield Village are originals and moved here including Noah Webster, Robert Frost among others. :)

  2. It's beautiful and fascinating. Thanks for sharing all the details--if I ever get over there, I'll check it out! If you're ever in Ft. Myers, Fla., check out the Edison and Ford Winter Estates. The historical museum and 17-acre botanical garden is awesome. You can see Clara's influences there, too. Great post!

    1. I will definitely put Ft. Myers in my "to do" bank. They did say they vacationed together and had homes next door in Florida. I love to visit gardens that have a story to tell.

  3. your last sentiments are my thoughts exactly. It really is a beautiful home and gardens.

  4. I love the style of the house and garden. I didn't realize this house even existed. I'll add it to my list of places to see.

  5. I am such a sucker for stone buildings. and that stacked stone wall! what I wouldn't give for one of those. Great photos.

  6. This is so beautiful. I had to pause in your post several times so I could add to my Fall Planting Notes document after seeing design I liked in the photos. I don't blame Ford for wanting to bring that cottage home. I'll take it, too!

  7. This would be my favorite as I have always dreamed of seeing cottages like these...I love the stones and gardens and that dovecote...I think I lived another life in England during the time these cottages were built. I am so drawn to them.

    I was in heaven through the entire post Karin.


Post a Comment

One of my favorite things about blogging is the conversation with readers. Leave a comment and let's get talking. ~Karin

Popular Posts