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Richmond Hill trolley tour to highlight city’s Henry Ford history

Updated: May. 10, 2021 at 12:46 PM EDT
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RICHMOND HILL, Ga. (WTOC) - A drive through Richmond Hill may not have the same historical feel as other towns, but several markers tell a different story.

The Richmond Hill Historical Society is offering a trolley tour around town to highlight some of the sights and the stories tied to its most famous part-time resident.

“If you sort of stop and look, the white wood buildings tend to be our Ford buildings,” Richmond Hill History Museum Exec. Director Jennifer Grover said. “The white fence that’s outside of our museum right now, that’s the trademark Ford fence that he put in the area.”

The Historical Society will lead two Spring Trolley tours on Sunday, May 16 at 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. The tours will make stops at the Ford Courthouse Annex, Martha-Mary Chapel, Community House, Bakery and Commissary.

“The Fords were very engaged with the local community so they didn’t stay at their home very often,” Christy Sherman of the Richmond Hill Convention and Visitors Bureau said.

Sherman will be leading one of the tours, which also offers a rare opportunity to see where Henry Ford spent his winters on the banks of the Ogeechee River.

“Henry and Clara Ford’s winter home was called Richmond Hill plantation,” Sherman said. “It is not open to the public on a normal basis so the trolley tour is, is kind of a special sneak peek, getting behind the gates here.”

The Fords did more than just come to Bryan County for a vacation. They spent decades transforming an impoverished community.

“They were very involved in building schools and creating places of employment to give people education and skills that they needed to thrive,” Sherman said.

The tour allows you to see some of the original Ford sites up close. It begins and ends at the history museum, highlighting one of Ford’s biggest contributions.

“I think his impact has been in education, and a lot of people move here to Richmond Hill today because of our schools,” Grover said. “I think he laid the foundation for that. He built this building (the museum), which was a kindergarten building, and that was really unusual for kids to go to kindergarten.”

Click here for more information about the trolley tours and to book a spot online.

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