This is the fascinating story of Henry Ford's effort, beginning in 1929, to break the rubber monopoly in Brazil by creating an Detroit-type community attached to a giant rubber plantation. Things didn't work out, but an American town was virtually transplanted to South America. (Photo above from the website).
Deep ruts cleaved the road and I bounced high in the passenger seat of the pickup, fingers of sweat running down my back. But I drew a delighted breath when we turned onto a long, cool lane lined with magnificent old mango trees. White wicker chairs rested on the porches of clapboard houses where dark green shutters blocked the baking sun. Tidy lawns exploded with flowers; a handful of pines lent aromatic shade. Fire hydrants stamped by a Michigan manufacturer poked up at intervals from the concrete sidewalks.
The bucolic setting harkened to northern Michigan of the 1930s, but this was Brazil’s Amazon rainforest in the 1990s. I had reached Belterra, the spot once described as “Dearborn in the Jungle.” A former rubber-workers’ town now owned by the Brazilian government, Belterra is the vestige of a battle between Yankee ingenuity and Mother Nature—the remains of Henry Ford’s bid to become a rubber baron.
Thanks to BoingBoing