Wilcox Lake is one of four impoundments built along the middle branch of the Rouge River by settlers in the 1800â€™s to power a mill. The old Hardenberg Gristmill built around 1850, powered from the dam on Wilcox Lake and fostered the growth of a settlement that became the City of Plymouth. The historic mill was purchased by Henry Ford, the Auto Pioneer, in 1922 and converted into a Village Industry Plant that produced taps.
This cottage industry plant became a important manufacturer of small parts for the Pratt and Whitney airplane engine during World War II. The mill was given to the Wayne County Park Trustees by Ford Motor Company for incorporation into Hines Park in 1949.