Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Henry Ford Visits Eloise

The Knickerbocker News, February 23, 1942
Somewhere there's a photograph of Henry Ford at Eloise visiting two of the eight children of then Ford Motor Company worker Walter Bardell. As the story relays, Bardell was living in a flooded basement (it was later called a "dugout cave") with the children when the state apparently stepped in and removed some or all of them to Eloise. Henry Ford read about it in the newspaper and made an unexpected visit to the hospital. There he promised that the children would be taken care and a house was provided for the family at $20 a month rent. 

Except that Bardell claimed the company raised the rent to $80 a month a few years later and he couldn't afford it and stopped making payments. Ford Motor Co. filed eviction papers after the death of Mr. Ford and won a judgement against Bardell claiming that there was no record of the agreement. A fairly shameful act let alone a publicity nightmare. Needless to say Bardell was the party relegated to obscurity.

The Pittsburgh Press, January 9, 1948

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