Ford Cottages were built by Florence Putnam Ford and her husband John in 1942. They stood along South Putnam Drive, across from the Jennie Munger Gregory Museum and slightly to the west.
The cottages were built on a portion of the land George C. and Mary Putnam purchased from the Fitch family in 1865. Florence’s father, George Elbert, and mother Alice, purchased this 30-acre farm from his siblings and mother in 1908, when George C. died. Florence and her husband purchased land from her father in 1936 to build a one-story home and cottages.
The cottages’ names included Okeedoke, Taka-Peke-Inn, Fordlawn, Triple Inn, Tumble Inn, Putnam, Just-a-Mere, Harmony House, Brighton, Dukamin, Foursome, and This’ll Do. As of spring 2016, only two of the cottages remained, This’ll Do (trimmed in yellow) and Putnam (orange trim). The house that John and Florence built in 1936 still stands, as well (gray, one-story on South side of Lake Road and west of Putnam).
Their slogan was “You can afford a Ford Cottage”.
John and Florence Ford had many happy years together managing Ford Cottages and made many good friends who returned year after year to stay in one of their cottages. The cottages were “families only” and children enjoyed playing in the large yard. Since there was no air- conditioning in those days, renters enjoyed the screened in porches, and lawn chairs and hammocks in the yard. Out back was a playground for the children with swings and a slide, and for the adults, a badminton net, basketball hoop, and horse-shoes. Many picnics were had in the back property under the oak tree.
John and Florence ran the cottages from 1942 until their deaths in 1969. Their daughter, Grace (Bunny) Payne and her husband Hugh, relocated to the village from Ashtabula in order to take over the cottage business. They also had many happy times running the cottages until 1999.
Prepared by Louise (Payne) Bergeman, February 2016. All photos are from the author’s collection.
More memorabilia & photos from Ford Cottages: