This year we’re continuing our weekly look at unique festivals, events, and attractions that are within an easy driving distance. We call these “Summer Road Trips.” Of course, we regularly feature the many extraordinary places to visit right here in Delaware County and encourage our readers to get out and experience what is on offer in our own backyard.

Today we are featuring an event in a community that is a relatively short drive to the north. On Sunday, July 28, the Gill House in Galion will be the location for a celebration of local and national history as Preserving Galion, Inc. welcomes guests for its very first “Henry Ford Birthday Celebration.”

Taking place on the Sunday closest to Ford’s actual birthday, July 30, this event will center on the unique connections between Galion, the early days of the automobile industry, and the visits to town of a man who transformed American manufacturing. According to Gill family descendants, Ford and Bloomer Gill were friends and business associates, and Ford was one of the first persons seen driving a “horseless carriage” around the streets of Galion.

Later, it was a Galion man who made the first photographed transcontinental trip across Canada by car – in a Ford, of course.

To commemorate these connections, the following will take place between 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.:

  • Music by the Galion Area Band and the Shawshank Redemption Big Band
  • Food by Bistro217 in Galion
  • A display of vintage Ford automobiles
  • Modern Ford autos courtesy of Donley Ford in Galion
  • Additional food and drink
  • Tours of the Gill House, including special displays and a possible photo of Henry Ford in Galion

All events are free with the exception of food from Bistro 217. Donations will be warmly accepted.

To celebrate the Ford connection, Preserving Galion, Inc. has received a donation from The Henry Ford in Dearborn, Michigan consisting of full price tickets good for either the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation or Greenfield Village. Guests at the July 28 event can enter into a raffle for these tickets.

The Gill House is Galion’s “Grand Old Lady” on historic West Main Street, once a part of the Lincoln Highway, America’s first coast-to-coast thoroughfare, and later re-named Harding Way West. The house was built in 1903 to the design of noted Detroit architect Louis Kamper, who was responsible for many architectural gems such as that city’s Book-Cadillac Hotel. The Gill House is Kamper’s only known Neoclassical-style house to remain standing, and copies of original house plans will be on display. The house was visited by family friends Thomas Alva Edison, Henry Ford, and others.

Preserving Galion, Inc. is a non-profit corporation with a mission of preserving the built history of Galion and the stories of the people who lived and worked here. The organization’s first major project is the historic Gill House, and it sponsors events throughout the year that highlight Galion’s rich collection of period architecture.

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