Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The First Buick Workers


The Flint Journal article on Thomas Clint when he retired.
Below are the first three employee's of the new Buick factory in Flint.  Click for original link.
The first Buick factory in Flint in 1903 was originally a single story building with the top two floors added around 1907, (according to the History Of Michigan vol. #4). A 100 ft extension at the west end was done soon after construction. If you have better dates as to the additions, please comment. After Buick moved it's engine operations to the new factory #11 on Flints north side this building was used by the Randolph Truck Co. beginning February 22,1911. Then the Sterling Motor Co. in 1912. The Mason Motor Co. moved in later building engines for Chevrolet, and finally it just became part of the Chevrolet Co. who used it as their axle division.  

This photo inside the Kearsley st. plant shows William Beacraft at the right, next to the improved engine (pushrods on top). This was 1904. The worker behind him with the old style engine is known only as Randall. The first man at the left is only known as Morse. The worker behind him is known only as Hiles. The next in line is W.H. Wascher. Beyond him is a worker known only as Daikin. The man at the center (3rd from right) was known as Mr. Green.
This photo shows Miss Ethel Lobbdell who ran a boardinghouse in Flint where many of the first Buick employee's took up residence. In the center is Miss Lobbdell and behind her to the left is William Beacraft who was in charge of engine assembly. On her right in the back row is Thomas D. Clint the shop foreman and Arthur C. Mason the shop superintendent. These three men were the first recorded employees at the new factory in Flint on west Kearsley st. links:

First Flint Buick

Buick Motor Co.Engine Works

Dr. Hills The Man Who Bought The First Flint Buick

Original factory on east Kearsley st.

1920 Chevy in the hole

Original Buick Factory In Flint Michigan

Buick Truck

The rare 1940 Buick truck shown in the video below was fashioned in the same way as the 1942 Ragsdale Buick shown above. For the whole story look in my links for Ragsdale Buick. Cathy "an alert reader" made me aware of this rare Buick. Thanks

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Flint 1880.

Two Era's Meeting Face To Face

This postcard shows the Paterson block from Harrison and Third st facing west.

This is Paterson's factory which produced automobiles from 1908 to 1923. Paterson automobile speeding ticket 1904.
This is the intersection of Saginaw and Third street facing east. Saint Paul's episcopal Church is in the center. I wired the P.A. system inside this church once to play the Moody Blues. This was also the location of Charles Stewart Mott's funeral service in 1973. On the left is part of the Paterson block of buildings which included his factory.William Paterson forged the cross on the steeple of the church.The enlarged section below shows the past meeting the present at that time. "That is a Buick".

the enlarged photo can be found at KLR Rider

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Flint Michigan Before The Automobile.

This south-east view of Flint in 1890 shows what the city looked like when it was the leader in the carriage industry.

 extra large view here KLR RIDER

Monday, March 22, 2010

Flint 1909

This is the same location as below only facing south.
 extra large view here KLR RIDER
A Buick at the intersection of Saginaw and Detroit Street. Facing north.
 extra large view here KLR RIDER  
The same view as shown above about 100  years later.

North Division Street

Looking south on Division Street from Stewart Avenue. Factory #05 on right. The holding tanks on the left were erected around 1956. The factory beyond was constructed for war work. It was known as building #20 and then factory #10. It was later used for transmission work. My sister worked here in the mid 70's. Production will be ending at the end of 2010. It can become a bit confusing as to what any factory was designated in any given year at Buick. Every factory at Buick has had number changes at one time or another, going back to the original factory on west Kearsley st. I know Don Bent mentions this in his book "A Place Called Buick". If anyone has information on this subject 'Please comment'. photo from onesmallproject 

Factory #10

Factory #05 Construction

Industrial Avenue

Factory #05. photo from onesmallproject

Factory #03 skeleton. photo from onesmallproject

Industrial Avenue gate at the north end of factory #31 with the old plant #03 skeleton in the distance. photo from -AX-'s

Looking north at the Industrial Avenue gate of factory #31. photo from kthschsslr's

Buick Christmas.

This lucky kid is getting a new Buick for Christmas. This photo is from the Shorpy site.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

1904 Buick

At top is Walter Marr and Eugene Richard the engineers. At bottom is David Buick and Billy Durant the planners. Kevin Johnson is the owner of this fine automobile.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Imperial Wheel Company

A close up before I colorized this postcard.

Imperial Wheel Company showing new Buick's being test run on Hamilton Avenue. The cars appear to be 1909 models.

Memories Before Buick City

This view looking north up Division street during the running of the Olympic torch in 1984 through the Buick complex shows old factory #40 in the distance (at right) just getting it's new dock constructed. The  familiar entrance that survived from 1920 was now gone. 

Shown below in factory #04 (in the background) is the old stairwell and elevator at the north-end. This view is facing south-east. These structures were removed for Buick City.

Buick City "The Beginning"

A welcome back from the local union. I had a lot of fun in the Buick city training program. "It sure beat working for a livin' and takin' what their givin' ".   December 1984 first look at the new Buick.

Here we see the Mayor of Buick City Herb Stone. Factory #04 and #44 and building #16 or new #40 is shown.

This was how the powerhouse (building #7) looked prior to Buick City. The name would change to Buick Oldsmobile Cadillac Group and eventually Buick City.

Going over the layout table for the planned construction of Buick City.

This photo taken from the roof of the Administration building (aka.) World headquarters or as we liked to call it: "The Ivory Tower" shows factory #04 in the distance with the Warren street parking lot being graded after the old original Oak Park neighborhood has been razed. When you enlarge this photo you will notice the third floor windows (at right) have an odd bricked in area. This was where a large steam pipe exploded in the late 70's and sent shrapnel falling on the workers cars parked along Industrial ave.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Factory #04 Second Floor Pit

This is the pit I worked in for 6 months in 1976 before going into the materials group #88. My feelings about this job were a little different than this worker. He states that this was the best job he has had. Which tells you his previous jobs were pretty bad. This job consisted of inserting and tightening the lower front fender bolts, hooking up the emergency brake cable, placing a dial gauge on the cable then bringing the tension up to spec. Cockroaches and mice were your constant companion in the pit. I had one woman that had a legal prescription for marijuana fall into the pit one day. She fell on the fan and required 37 stitches. After that she had to be relieved to smoke her joints. The thing that made it good for the rest of us was the fact that we could smoke ours over behind the escalator and not be detected by the smell. Our supervisor Rich Richardson was not amused by her sitting at the break table smoking. Rich was not a fan of long-hairs either. For the first couple of weeks I took hearing every morning "Heh hippy" until I snapped and jumped out of the pit and grabbed him by his collar. I explained that my name was Gerry! We were Ok after that. A friend of mine Fred Valley was not as lucky. He actually hung Rich by his ankles out of the second floor windows. He was immediately discharged and never returned. I seen Fred wrestle "Victor" the wrestling bear once out at the county fair. Fred was pretty strong. Once at his house he held my wife against the ceiling with one hand. "By the way, the bear won". I still have my cassette recorder that was used in this pit back in 1976 out in my barn. I even have the special mix tapes I used back then. I guess I'm what is called a "Hoarder".

Factory #40 1983  

This almost looks like me doing my job only this is 17 years earlier.

Factory #40 1920

Here is the heat treat facility #41 for factory #40. This south-west view shows just a small part of factory #40 above the roof at right. A small piece of factory #06 can be seen in the distance at right. In my time bridge #23 was just making it’s decent to Division Street here and blocking this whole view. There was a door and ladder leading from the bridge to old #41′s roof. We used to smoke pot there. Link for 1920 construction plans.

A ground level view of the same area shown below. That is Division Street running south along factory #40.

Here you can see the heat treat facility at the north-end of #40 plus the truck dock. They had a much larger enclosed truck dock built later that extended all the way to the north wall of the heat treat, and that burnt in a fire in the early 90′s.

This north facing view of factory #40 shows great detail of the east wall. The covered rail platform shown in the photo below is the peaked roof structure shown here just south of the heat treat facility. Factory #02 can be seen in the far distance.

This is the rail loading dock for factory #40 when the covered dock is just being constructed. It was located towards the north-east wall adjacent to the Pere Marquette main line.

These two photos were taken just months apart, with the large one showing the power plant with just one smoke stack completed.  
This advertisement is from the trade journal Factory and Industrial Management, Volume 63, Issue 5 in May 1922.  I walked down these very steps (shown below) many times during my early years at Buick. These stairs were removed during the remodel before buick City was created in 1985.  Here is the link showing this in 1984: 

Memories Before Buick City

This is factory #40 which was Buick’s new transmission plant in 1920. This photo shows some of the final details being completed. The insert shows interior construction. The Buick power-house in the distance is also under construction. I spent many hours in this factory. This was always my favorite because it was like a trip back in time. I especially liked exploring it in the late 70′s when it was abandoned and condemned. One thing I did not like seeing was the rain that leaked in and was getting onto the old laminated die makers patterns. These were beautiful works of art that represented many years of Buick automobiles. Below are shown the same stairs I walked many times only this is 1934.  


Factory #40′s End

Factory #40 1997

Factory #40 1920′s

Factory #40 machining 1950′s

Factory #40 1984

Inside Bridge #23

Inside Bridge #23

Bridge #23 1940