Sunday, February 15, 2009

100,000 mile Buick

This 1909 Buick model 10 made a stop in Flint in front of the old Weston Mott factory in 1923, on it's way to California. The driver was E.L. Sapp.


Loading New Buicks

This is the north end of factory #06 facing west, loading cars 
sometime in the '20s.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

A Film: Working Inside Buick City 1995

video I made this film with my rather large VHS camera covertly hidden in a box with just the lens protruding. "Secret Agent Man". You were not allowed to bring cameras on company property. Maybe that's why I was always in trouble? The first person you see at the beginning in the blue ball cap is Greg Lamay. He is quite a character. Most of his story's are being put down in my memoirs which I've been working on for years, because I don't think they would go over well in this format. I'll never forget his (II Duce) "Benito Mussolini" imitation that he always used when we had a rather stern boss. The man with long black hair and cowboy hat is Doug Cocke (pronounced COX). He passed away in 1999 . I have films of him and I playing guitar's together. The gentleman with white hair and beard is James (Jim) Doepker a farmer from near Owosso. He came to Buick from Fisher #1 when it closed. The worker saying hello to my wife while unloading fan racks is Levon Flickenger one of my drinking buddy's. Most all of this film was shot on the second floor of factory #40, building #16, departments 44, 45 & 53. At certain points in this film I inserted still shots showing the location at the time. "Get some popcorn and enjoy the film".

Friday, February 13, 2009

Buick Y-JOB

Many Faces Of Durant

Durant's last enterprise, The North Flint Recreation Center.

Looking like a true leader.

Adolescent William.

Young Durant with a hair style that you would see today.

Billy's son Russell "Clifford" in the first Chevrolet.

Billy in the light colored cap during the 1906 Glidden tour.

Durant sitting at his desk in the office at Durant Dort on Water street in Flint. Dallas Dort is on the left and Fred Aldrich is on the extreme right.

Durant and old friend Dort having beans and ham in New York.

Billy demonstrating the Samson tractor.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Willam C. Durant

At top with Wife Catherine and daughter Margery. Michele, who's Great Uncle is Russel Clifford Durant wrote: On the pic listed as Billy with wife Catherine, and Gr. Daughter, Marjory, Marjory was Billy's daughter from his 1st wife Clara Pitt, they also had a son Russell Clifford, he's my great uncle. Gerry wrote: Thanks for the help on this photo Michele, I was having problems with that one. This is how we can keep history alive and accurate. Clara Pitt lived at 513 1/2 Roosevelt Avenue in 1915.
Durant with Sloan in Detroit.
Durant with his personnel secretary Aristo Scrobogan. 

William Durant Young & Old


Billy Durant Boyhood Home.

This is the Flint High school facing north-west with Durant's boyhood home in the lower left corner. Shown enlarged below. This is from my personal collection.

That is the Durant home shown directly across the street from the Flint High school.

This is the same view of the south-west corner of Second and Church where Billy Durant's home (shown below) was located. The site is now occupied by the Federal building in Flint. Click on Google map for a movable view. Google map
The house circled in red was the Durant home.

This map from 1890 shows the downtown area of Flint.

Durant's boyhood home in Flint, Michigan. This photo and the two above are from "The Picture History Of Flint" by: Lawrence Gustin.

The Flint City Directory for 1881-1882 shows Durant still living at home with his mother.


William Crapo Durant: born December 8th,1861 & died March 18th, 1947 at age 85.   Link:  A 1900 story on Durant.

William Crapo Durant

Billy turning the first shovel full of earth August 30,1922 at the site on south Saginaw st. in Flint. This would later be Fisher #1. After losing control of his General Motors company for the second time, this would be his next to last venture at automobile production. He lost all his money in the stock market crash of 1929. He did try starting another car company but it never got past the prototype stage. His last venture was running a bowling establishment on Flint's north side.   1936 bankruptcy.

Durant posing with his new car being built at Durant Motors in Flint Michigan called "The FLINT Six".

The Crapo family showing Billy's mother Rebecca second from right back row.

Billy at work.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Original Aldrich Buick



This is the 1904 Buick recreation that used parts from the Aldrich car.

Officials of Durant Dort. From left,front row are W.C.Durant, A.B.C. Hardy, W.C. Orrell and Fred A. Aldrich. Back row, from left, are James A. Slocum, Charles D. Wesson and Charles Webster. In the center is J. Dallas Dort.

This is the original 1905 Buick once owned by Fred Aldrich which was cannibalized by the Sloan Museum in Flint to recreate the first Flint built Buick for Flints Bicentennial project. There is talk of trying to reverse this mistake and recreate the original Buick. (update: the Aldrich Buick was restored as a Centennial project). Aldrich was an original employee of the Durant Dort Carriage Company and was employed as a secretary. He started with Durant in 1889. Durant called Fred for help when he had a massive stroke at the hotel named in his honor in Flint, this was in 1942. Durant always used the same room in the hotel, #544. He later died in New York March 18th,1947. The Fred and Annie Aldrich residence in Flint was 831 Garland.

Buick 1920

This view is looking south east over the Buick site. You can see factory #11-t is just being built and also the powerhouse which makes this 1920. Industrial Avenue is running through the center showing the Oak Park subdivision at the right.


Monday, February 9, 2009

I-475 (Buick U.A.W. Freeway)

This view is looking west across the overpass of the new I-475 business loop for Flint off of the I-75 freeway. It was originally named the "Buick U.A.W. freeway" only later changed. "probably for political reasons" Showing in the distance is Buick factories #04 & #44 , located at the corner of Industrial ave. & Hamilton ave. The water tower is for the Dupont plant which supplied the paint for G.M. in Flint. It is located on the site of the old "Flint Varnish Works". The Varnish works was a Durant-Dort subsidiary. They made the products for finishes on wagons & buggies during the early "Flint Vehicle City" era. photo from Jar with most's

Flow Through Terminal

This is where most small parts were sorted and sent to the Buick plants. This structure is located east of Saint John street. This view is from the I-475 freeway. photo from Ace Coplands

Billy & Catherine Durant June 2, 1928

This photo by chance was taken on the same day my mother was born.