Sunday, January 13, 2008

Oak Park Industries

Flint Axle works.

Article from Michigan Manufacturers in January 1911. 

This photo shows the Flint Varnish Works (built in 1901 and incorporated as the Flint Varnish & Color Works on December 14, 1909) viewed from the Flint Axle Works. This view is facing southwest across St John street. W.F. Stewart is in the background.
Flint Axle Works viewed from the Flint Varnish Works facing northeast. This is the intersection of St John & Hamilton. Looking across the Flint river you can see the east side of Flint is a clean slate as was most of Flint after the logging era. The Flint Axle Works was created in 1900 as a subsidiary of the Durant-Dort Carriage Company known as department #5. By manufacturing axles needed for the carriage production, the company secured its sources of materials and parts. The company changed names from the Flint Axle Works to Walker-Weiss Axle Co in September 1912 and finally to the Flint Motor Axle Company in 1914. Flint Axle Works was the first industry to locate in the Oak Park development and reached a wartime payroll of 600 workers in 1918. After World War I, motor plants started creating their own foundries, forges and stamping plants which forced the Flint Motor Axle company to cease operations in 1924. In 1933 Buick Motor Company bought this property, razed the old buildings and it became a parking lot. Steve Weiss contacted me and stated that "My grandfather, Fred J. Weiss originally went to Flint, MI in 1900 to establish the Flint Axle Works and later bought it from Dort-Durant and later still sold the property to GM.".

This view is looking across the Buick site in 1911 is facing north west across the Flint river. The bridge at lower left never existed. In one old print from this era the river looks as wide as the Mississippi so I'm not sure what they were trying to convey with the bridges but the buildings are all correct. The intersection at the bottom is Hamilton Avenue coming in from the east and St.John St. (later changed to James P.Cole blvd.) entering from the north. They meet right in front of the Flint Axle Works later renamed the Walker-Weiss Axle Co.

Hamilton Avenue and the Dupont plant.

Suspension bridge at Hamilton Avenue

Interior of Flint Varnish and Color Works February 1920.  Original link.
A 1916 view across the intersection of St Johns Street and Hamilton Avenue. This is facing south-west.  Dupont bought the Varnish Works in 1918.  

Buick 1911


Anonymous said...

I'm H. Anthony Weiss, grandson to
Frederick J. Weiss partner (owner) of Walker-Weiss Axle Co.

From things I was told growing up,
my grandfather owned property along the West bank of the Flint river,from just south of Hamilton St. North to Pierson Rd.

That the Dupont plant building used to be the Walker-Weiss Axle Co.

That my grandfather had facilities for his workers to have picnics and parties at and merged them with what is now the IMA

Lola1 said...

I am Caroline Wilson, daughter of Patricia Weiss & C Wilson, grand-daughter of Roy Weiss and great-grand-daughter of Frederick Weiss. Roy was general manager of Flint Motors for a while there before he moved on to Detroit and was an attorney. Looks like I have cousins out here. I loved Flint as a child and fight to keep those positive thoughts about Flint and its wonderful people!