The Territorial Road (present-day 10 1/2 Mile Road) east of the Rouge River was Southfield Township's economic hub during the mid-nineteenth century. In 1831 Archibald Green, one of the township's earliest settlers, opened a blacksmith shop. In 1837 Ezekiel Sabin, built a gristmill along the river, inspiring entrepreneurs to establish businesses in Southfield Centre. Cornelius Lawrence opened a tavern, which became the Southfield Hotel, and Crawford's Corners Postmaster John Trowbridge moved his store and the post office here. In 1918 Henry Ford purchased the Sabin Mill site. The automobile magnate planned to join the factory and the farm by building hydropowered plants that would employ farmers during the winter. Southfield Centre's forty residents hoped that the plant would lead to economic growth. Ford never built the plant.