Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Buick Water Towers

These are the water towers north of factory #02. The photo below shows their beginning. This photo was taken from the roof of the power house #14. This view is also facing south-east as shown below. These towers were removed I believe in 1963. The old single water tower which was adjacent to the old original powerhouse #26 built in 1906 was torn down along with the powerhouse during the 1923 -1924 remodeling for the Unified Assembly plant #62This photo is from Don Bents book “A Place Called Buick”.

This photo taken on October 14, 1920 obviously shows the Buick warehouse and train shed. The crane and donkey engine in this photo are getting ready to start construction on the two matching Buick water towers. You can see the footing for the west tower in the lower left corner. The steel beams are the parts to be erected. That is Division street in the lower right corner heading south. That is the new factory #40transmission plant in the distance. The cooling pond for the power plant (being built at the same time) will occupy this whole area along Division st. very shortly. This photo is from the Buick Research Gallery.  

Leith Street Then And Now.

The same view as shown below only fifty years earlier. The photo above this one is from before 1920. It is hard to believe now that this (St. Johns neighborhood) was once a thriving community. That is the Buick power plant #14 belching out coal smoke. The women in this large community always complained about the coal smoke getting on the clean wash hung on their clothes lines. The small parking lot on the right was where I parked the day I hired in at Buick 1972. Personnel at that time was in building #85 just under the overpass and up the hill on the right. photo courtesy of the Buick Research Gallery in Flint, Michigan. Excuse my thumb in this photo. You have to wear gloves when researching the archives.   Leith Street subway.

Leith Street looking west at the rail bridge on July 22, 2011. Using Google Chrome you can enlarge by left clicking ,then right clicking and choosing open image in new tab and left click once more. All browsers are different but most photos on this blog can be enlarged.
links: St. Johns Industrial Park Urban Renewal near Buick

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Buick Powertrain North Site Demolition

Factory #05 transmission support factory (gears and such) is still in tact. But the Demolition Man is approaching. This was originally building #43 constructed for the Korean war effort. This view is facing south-east from Industrial Avenue and Stewart Street on August 29, 2011. It was built in 1951.

The small Building #38 built in 1985 is still standing. I can not see any sign of the old factory #03 spring plant. Or before that; factory #30 aluminum plant. It stood as a skeleton for many years. I think they left it standing as a warning to the others. "How sad".

Factory #70/#81. The old Buick foundry which became the torque converter factory in 1981. It was the first factory at the Buick site that done away with time clocks.

Factory #70/#81 in the background.

This is factory #70/#81 in the background. Demolition has also started on old factory #10 at the north-end on Stewart Street. Factory #10 was the arsenal of defense during World War II making many components for the Liberator engine. My batteries went dead before I reached Stewart Street.

Factory #70/#81 the old Buick foundry is in the background.

They say "DEMOLITION MEANS PROGRESS" but I don't see it. My ancestors and I worked there many years and I still don't quite understand. "And yes"-- sometimes when I worked there I felt like knocking walls down.

Factory #70/#81 built torque converters from 1981 until last year.

Just piles of rubble now. Factory #70/#81 is still standing in the distance.

This is the same spot July 15, 2011 (shown below) one month ago. The old crankshaft factory #66 at the north-end of #31 is now gone also. It was still standing a month ago.

Industrial Avenue facing north. Boy it sure looks empty now.

Factory #31 used to fill this view facing north-east on Industrial Avenue. Before that factory #16 built in 1910 filled this view until 1941.

Leith street gate looking east.
 Links: Factory #66 Demolition Leith Street Revisited. Factory #03 Forge Buick WWII First Metal July 17,1942 Buick Northend Industrial and Leith Over 100 Years Factory #31 2/28/04 Factory #31 Axle Line Factory #31 Exhaust Pipe Bending Factory #10 Factory #05 Machine Work

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Hellcat Loading & Shipping During World War II

This ad appeared for publication after it had already destroyed many German tanks and was no longer a secret.

Notice the cables under tension behind the turret at the front of this tank. The tanks were shipped with the barrel facing the rear. This is factory #01.

Loading the M-18 in factory #01.


The M-18 uncovered on a New York Central flat-car.

Described below.

See description below.

The same as described below.

Hellcat tank destroyers heading for the main line. In this south-west view you can see part of factory #70 and #71 at the left, Building #71a would be built on the west side of #71 along Division st. after the war. Factory #11 is in the distance and would be re-numbered after the war, becoming factory #31. The barn like structure in the right background is the sand shed #76.
 Links: Factory #62 Getting Ready For War Division Street Revisited. Genesee County Tanks Buick At It's Battle Stations M18 Hellcats ready for shipping. Factory #62 WWII Buick 1911

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The T-70 Tank Prototype

That is the Buick main office along Hamilton avenue in the background. In this photo you can see where the old bridge to factory #01 used to be connected before the remodeling of #01 done in 1934This open area was the location of the original south section old factory #01. "This area would be rebuilt after WW II". The army ordered two test models of this design. They were needed at that time (in 1942) for the British army in Libya. This first model with a 57mm cannon was completed in July of 1942. the second revised model with a 75mm cannon was completed in October 1942. This cannon would eventually become 76mm in size which required a complete rework of the tank. The army also requested that a machine gun be added. This first model had a Buick engine installed. Due to the increased weight factor they eventually used a radial air craft engine to power it. A line worker at Buick dubbed the tank "HELLCAT" and the name just stuck. The first of the tanks now known as the M-18 were completed on April 15, 1943. And the rest is history.

The T-70 under power. This is the same location as shown below.

This view of the T-70 prototype shows factory #01 at the right with factory #01's original west section in the background. This open area was created during the 1934 remodel of this factory.

Trying out the T-70 at the north Buick site.

The T-70 tank in front of the not yet finished aluminum factory #20. This factory would become factory #10 transmission plant after the war. This view is facing west near the Pere Marquette rail line and Stewart street.

Testing the T-70 tank at Buick in Flint, Michigan. The T-70 was still a far cry from the finished product. Notice the coil spring suspension. Torsion bar suspension was one of the main attributes of the M-18 and is still in use today on our modern tanks.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Army Air Force Training School

The classroom layout for the Liberator engine training at Buick. This building was the original factory service center at Buick and later (in my time) it was truck repair.  Link:  for school story.

Where the training took place for the Liberator engine at Buick in Flint, Michigan. This view is facing north-east.

Showing the students how magnesium burns.

Accessories class in factory #17-b.

Carburetor class.

Carburetor class.

In factory #17.

In #17-b.

In #17-b.

In factory #17.


In factory #17.

In factory #17-b.

Electrical class.

Electrical classroom.

Inspection area.

Inspection area.

Nose section area.

Nose section area.

Nose section area.

Nose section area.

Nose section area.

Nose section area.

Nose section area.

Power section area.

Power section area.

Power section area.

Same as below, only a full photo.

Power section area.

Power section classroom.

Supercharger class in factory #17.

Supercharger class.

Supercharger class.

Supercharger class. You are facing east.

Engine adjustment area. You are facing north inside factory #17.

Engine adjustment area.

Engine adjustment area.

Engine adjustment area.

Final adjustment.

Final adjustment.

A completed engine used in the classroom.

Engines ready for testing.

Heading for the engine test shed.

Engine test layout.

Engine test shed facing east. St. Johns st. is just beyond this. This buildings location is shown in the map farther below.

A group of graduates.

Mail call.

You had to look good for graduation.

The military band rehearsal.

The Army Air Force band.


The same buildings as described below.

Factory #94 in the background.

The south wall of factory #94. Bridge #23 is visible at the left. This bridge exited on Division street.

Location for the final graduation ceremonies.

This shows the factory layout during the war. The graduation ceremonies took place between factory #17 and #94. Also the final ceremony took place at the I.M.A. auditorium in downtown Flint. Original (unmodified) map from "A Place Called Buick" by: Don Bent.

Left to right we see factory #17-b, #28, #40, #41 heat treat, #03, #02, bridge #23 and #94.

This photo of graduation day shows factory #94 at the right with a part of factory #28 at the left. Factory #40 and #02 are in the background. The photographer must have been standing on the roof of the engine test shed.

Army air Force brass outside of factory #17-b at the north-end during graduation ceremony's.

Graduation ceremony's at the north-end of factory #17 and #17-b. Engine assembly and adjustment took place on the first floor north-end just inside the doors in factory #17.

W. F. Hufstader (dark suit) at graduation ceremony. This east facing view shows factory #94 at the left with the engine test shed in the background right. Saint Johns street (later James P. Cole blvd.) would be just beyond the test shed.

W. F. Hufstader with army air Force officers. Hufstader was the General sales manager for Buick but since there were no cars built during the war he took over the job of running the school.

William F. Hufstader was the dean of the school.
 Links: Factory #35 And #94 Factory #17 A View From The Past And Present Army Air Force Technical Training Liberator Engine work at Buick. Factory #28 #17 & #94 Demolition 2000Factory #17 Truck And Customer Service Inside Factory #17 War Work Factory #17-b and #17 Training School WWII Buick At It's Battle Stations Factory #28 #17 & #94 Demolition 2000 THE FACTORY BEHIND THE CAR