Nankin Mills in Westland, Michigan


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Nankin Mills in Westland, Michigan is a former grist mill built before the Civil War. It was purchased by Henry Ford as one of his Village Industry plants. Now it serves as an interpretative center and the home of Wayne County Parks. Learn more at

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Nankin Mills in Westland, Michigan

  1. 1. Nankin Mills A Connection to our Past, a Resource for our Future
  2. 2. Drawing of what the mill looked like in the 1880’s
  3. 3. A small community called Pike’s Peak grew up around the mill.
  4. 4. A thriving town, Pikes Peak had a livery stable, general store, post office and more.
  5. 5. Henry Ford purchased the mill in 1916 to serve as one of his Village Industry auto plants. Here Ford stands on the porch with Floyd Bennett, the Mill’s former owner.
  6. 6. Ford purchased a number of former grist mills in Southeast Michigan to serve as small auto plants.
  7. 7. Ford wanted to make use of water power. He had Thomas Edison install a hydroelectric generator. (It is presently undergoing restoration. Finally!) NOWTHEN
  8. 8. The rural countryside surrounding Nankin Mills.
  9. 9. Mill workers at their stations.
  10. 10. Ford made a number of changes to Nankin Mills over the years, including adding an annex.
  11. 11. The plant manager and his family lived in the nearby tenant house built around the same time as the mill. It is not currently open except during a few special events each year.
  12. 12. The Ford factory in the 1940’s shortly before it closed and was sold to Wayne County.
  13. 13. The Mill reopened in 1957 as a nature center under Mary Ellsworth
  14. 14. The nature center and mill closed to the public in 1980.
  15. 15. The mill fell into disrepair and there was talk of demolishing it. A group called the Friends of Nankin Mills was incorporated in 1988 to help save it. Worked with Wayne county and City of Westland , they secured funding to save and restore it.
  16. 16. Once again the mill is open and serving the local community.
  17. 17. The Nankin Mills Interpretive Center tells the cultural and natural history of Western Wayne County. How does it serve?
  18. 18. Nankin Mills draws tourists interested in auto history. The Mill is part of the MotorCities National Heritage Area , created by the National Park Service. How does it serve?
  19. 19. The Mill offers tours, events, classes and group activities. How does it serve?
  20. 20. How does The Friends of Nankin Mills continue to serve the Mill and community? They continue to sponsor activities and fundraisers including an annual mill lighting ceremony (with a visit from Santa); help fund exhibits; assist with activities; serve as docents; and much more.
  21. 21. A (not quite accurate) representation of Nankin Mills by Michigan painter Kathy Jakobsen. We invite you to visit our mill and interpretive center. Learn and have fun. And become a member of the Friends of Nankin Mills, if you wish. Help Nankin Mills continue to serve as a community resource.