Friday, December 21, 2012

Buick Assembly 1907.

The same year as shown below only colored.
Here is the layout of the Buick buildings shown below in 1907. The suspension bridge crossing the Flint river is not yet in existence at this time. The first will be built in the spring of 1909 and the second in May of 1910, after which the first vehicle bridge will be started and finished by the end of 1910. The Buick power house #26 is only showing it's one smoke stack below.   

This appears to be late in the year 1907.  You will notice that the dock on the factory #01 paint and transmission factory has only an awning type covering to protect the workers from the elements at this time. The new assembly plant #06 has just been completed and is shown trailing off to the north along Division Street.  The #03 forge plant is still one year away from construction at the north-end of factory #06. The small structure in the left foreground was for the railroads use and was called a "FLAG SHANTY". All the new Buick's visible are most likely a days worth of production while the new assembly plant is ramped-up for full production.  

                                                                           1907                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 March 1907.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Far Away Friends.

Hi Gerry, Here s another Buick. Spotted it on a camping trip last weekend. Pretty much original, was a CA car according to the owner. Cheers, Chris
Dear Gerry, Thank you for the all your work on the website. I throughly enjoyed the Flint/Buick history. I stumbled across it while goggling around the Packard plant on Grand Ave. There s 13 Buick s in my collection. Alas, all but the 1969 Skylark are scale models! Cheers from Australia, 

Friday, December 14, 2012

Attack on Flint history yet again.

Flint -

(12/13/2012) Vandals have painted a historic site marker in Flint that pays tribute to the city's deep roots in the union movement.

Green paint now covers the gold lettering on both sides of the sign.

The sign stands proud along Chevrolet Avenue on the campus of Kettering University.

It's across from the old Chevy in the Hole site.

The words on the plaque tell the story of the Sit-Down Strikers back in the 1930's.

It was the union movement's most famous victory in the fight for labor rights.

The strike led to the recognition of the U-A-W by General Motors.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Buick Rail and Truck Dock 1910.

A nice view up Division street from Hamilton Avenue about 1910. More details are shown below. This view is facing north. This is where I first worked at Buick in 1972. I would work here until 1997. It was a vastly different place in my time. The rail lines were still basically in the same place when I worked here.
The blue arrow shows the factory #01 body paint plant and eventual transmission machining plant. The green arrow shows factory #06 assembly. The yellow arrows show different sections of the #03 forge plant. The red arrow is the ramp leading to the rail dock of factory #01.
A closeup showing the rail dock of factory #01. I'm not sure what is in place next to the boxcar but it may be a horse drawn wagon. This ramp seems rather steep to us today but back then an automobile had a real low gear ratio and plenty of ground clearance. There would have been no problem with this incline. Likewise a horse and wagon.
I'm only showing this Randolph truck because it was the third truck company combined with the two truck brands shown below that became G.M.C. Truck company. Also the Randolph was the truck built in the original Buick factory on west Kearsley Street in Flint, Michigan. The Randolph is said not to have had any influence on the G.M. truck line. Randolph was originally built in Chicago.  
The red arrow shows the 1907 stake truck whose parent company was the Reliance Motor Car Co. in Detroit. The Reliance truck  factory was located in Owosso, Michigan. The yellow arrow "I believe" shows the driver of the 1906 Rapid truck (shown farther below) that is waiting it's turn to enter the dock. When I was a clerk on the different truck docks around Buick you would normally not have them arriving at the same time. But it was not unheard of. As a side note the green arrow shows the "Keep Off The Lawn" sign.
Here is an advertisement of the 1907 Reliance truck that is backed into the factory #01 truck dock.
Here is a 1906 Rapid truck waiting it's turn at being either loaded or unloaded on Division Street at Buick. This view is facing north. The yellow arrow shows where the driver would be seated until the first total redesign by the newly consolidated G.M.C. truck company in 1914. The driver then had a more traditional (to us) seating location. Rapid was the first truck company purchased by General Motors in 1909 followed the same year by the Reliance truck company. 

Here is an advertisement for the 1906 Rapid truck shown above. The first General Motors truck plant was located in Pontiac, Michigan at the original location of the Rapid truck factory.  Link: G.M.C. Truck Catalog 

In this photo we see a fully decked out 1906 Rapid truck that has just climbed Pikes Peak. The red arrow shows the bulb horn installed, just as it is in the photo on Division street in front of the shipping dock. The yellow arrow shows the radiator fill spout that is also visible on the truck at Buick in 1910.  Link: Interesting Buick trucks.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

David Dunbar Buick Honored.

Photo courtesy Kevin Kirbitz.
More than a century has elapsed since David Dunbar Buick was exiled from the car company he founded and from Flint, Michigan, the city that became synonymous with his automobiles. Since his death while nearly penniless in 1929, Buick’s personal legacy has been a tale of how hard one could fall in the fiscal free-for-all that met its death the same year he did.
In this space, we recently told you about two parallel efforts to memorialize Buick, one in Flint and the other in his birthplace of Arbroath, Angus, Scotland. Amazingly, neither group seeking to erect a memorial to Buick was aware of the other’s efforts until just months ago. The stateside effort is complete, as a life-size bronze statue of Buick was unveiled in downtown Flint on December 1. This image of the ceremony shows (from left) Doug Boes of Los Angeles, the great-grandson of David Buick; Kevin Kirbitz, a Buick biographical researcher, sculpture creator Joe Rundell of Clio, Michigan; and veteran Buick publicist/historian Lawrence R. Gustin, author of the first, and still definitive, biography entitled David Buick’s Marvelous Motor Car: The men and the automobile that launched General Motors. Look on the base of the statue: The small brass cannon is a Buick family heirloom, which Doug donated to the Sloan Museum in Flint. David Buick used to fire the cannon as a starting signal for regattas in the late 19th century, when he was vice commodore of the Detroit Yacht Club.  David Buick story.

 The bronze statue of David Dunbar Buick has been finished at the Fine Arts Sculpture Center in Clarkston, Michigan and will be
returning to Flint tomorrow, Tuesday, November 27, 2012. The statue will be set in place by crane between 11:30 and 12:00
Tuesday morning. The unveiling of the statue will be held on Saturday, December 1, 2012 at 11:30 AM at the Statue park in the flat lot on the corner of Saginaw and Kearsley Streets. Speakers will include members of the Tom Brown family from Attentive Industries, who sponsored the statue, and Douglas Boes, great-grandson of David Buick. Mr. Boes will also be presenting personal items of David Buick's to the Sloan Museum.   Statue unveiled  

David Dunbar Buick. 

David Dunbar Buick The early years.  1961 news story.

David Buick's proposed Cadillac statue.   
Click on the link above for the whole story.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Buick Unified Assembly Line 1926.

This north facing view is showing the steam cleaning of the chassis before it receives it's body.

This is the description of the photo shown above. Many publications lump Detroit and Flint together,which can sometimes be confusing for historians. The following link shows this area at the end of film. Click here for a short film.  

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Chevy In The Hole Before Chevrolet.

A postcard of the photo below that is actually labeled correctly.

Here is the Fox and Begole mill with the photographer facing south across the Flint river. This location is just west of the Wilcox Street bridge (Chevrolet Avenue now). At the time of this photo I believe it had already become the F. R. Lewis straw board factory (shown Below). The location of this mill is shown two photos below. This is most often said to be the future location of the Flint Wagon Works, but that factory was actually built a city block east of this dam, where the Busenbark and Stones saw mill was located. 'I probably need to do a bit more research'. I'm thinking that Begole probably bought the Busenbark property. I have found that the Crapo mills purchased the Busenbark mill in 1860. The Crapo mills were owned by William Durant's grandfather. Besides the buildings shown here, there were also more buildings directly east, which were also part of the Fox and Begole mill. This is in fact the future location of Chevrolet factory #5.

You can super enlarge just about any photo on this blog for viewing small details. The way this is done is a little different depending on which browser is used.

This is the Lewis straw board mill viewed from the south. Here you can see the dam (at left) with the Wilcox Street bridge (Paper Mill Bridge) at right. This is part of the old Fox and Begole mill. This will be the future site of Chevrolet factory #5. 1890 map of Flint link

The red arrow shows the location of what is left of the original Buick plant shortly after 1922. The yellow outline shows the location of the Fox and Begole sawmill. The two yellow X's show where the main buildings were once located. The yellow X in the foreground is where the F. R. Lewis straw board factory was located. At the time of this photo I believe the street had already been changed to Chevrolet Avenue. The area outlined in green shows the remnants of the old dam. The blue X shows where the photographer (in the photo showing the dam) would have been standing when that photo was taken. The area at left, outlined in purple is where the Bernhard Hassellbring greenhouse and gardens were located. This is now the south campus of Kettering University. The 1907 map spells it Hassellbrink, the 1907 maps contain many of these errors. The pink X towards the top is where the Busenbark and Stone's mill was located. The area outlined in black is the Flint Wagon Works. At this time in the '20s it is part of Chevrolet.

About 1900.

Here is an 1870 view of Flint. You can see the location of the dams and mills at that time. The Stone's Woolen Mill is shown below after it became Flint Woolen. This is 1894 from the book, Tours Through Michigan, Rail & Water. This is the building where Billy Durant made his start building carts in Flint. This is looking north up what is now Grand Traverse Street.

This is the 1907 view of the Chevy In The Hole site. You can see that the dam is still in place just west of the First Wilcox Street bridge. As of 2012 three different bridges have been constructed here. This street would also be re-named Chevrolet Avenue in the '20s. I think since Third Avenue (to the north) has now been changed to University Drive, that Chevrolet Avenue will soon become Kettering Avenue.

Original map.

This is the 4th ward of Flint's west side (also called the "Pinery") in 1880. The yellow arrow shows the Busenbark and Stones mill. The Michigan State Gazetteer and Business Directory shows this mill still in operation on west Kearsley in 1877. The red arrow shows the future site of The Flint Wagon Works. The purple arrow shows the future site of the first Buick factory in Flint. The blue arrow shows The Fox and Begole sawmill which is listed in the Flint City directory of 1882 as being at the foot of Kearsley Street. The foot of Kearsley would have ended at Garden Street at that time. Today there is only a small portion of Garden Street left. The orange arrow shows the location of the future F. R. Lewis straw board mill, which before the large trees were all gone and shipping costs ate into the profit margin, was part of The Fox and Begole mill. The black arrow shows the location of the last (or lower) dam located on the river in Flint. The green arrow shows the location of the Bernhard Hasselbring greenhouse and gardens. This is also the location of the Riverside Evaporator and Jelly Works which was run by the Wilcox family. The gardens are where Garden Street got it's name. The Wilcox family supplied their name for that street. This is now the location of the Kettering Archives. The Hassellbring florist shops were still listed in two locations on Saginaw Street in the 1919-1920 Flint City Directory (shown in my links), you could also buy directly from this location. Originally no bridge existed here early on and only the dam was in place at that time.

This view is facing south and shows the greenhouses mentioned above at the left. The Flint river is in the distance with west 3rd ave. running parallel with it in the foreground. Garden Street is going south here with a horse drawn wagon.

This is from the 1882 flint City Directory and shows Joshua L. Wilcox in the 1st ward and on the west side of Garden between 3rd and the Flint river. This ward would later be joined with the 4th ward.

September 1909.

Flint Wagon Works from a 1910 publication. George L. Walker

Flint Wagon Works in 1885 facing north-west towards the Flint river. Link here for a view when Buick was first built. Links:
Happy 100th Birthday Chevrolet.
The 1904 Model B & Flint Wagon Works.
1920 Chevy in the hole
Flint Photos Supplied From The Weaver Family Buick Aerial Views Over 100 Years.

Click this page for further reading about the Flint lumber industry in the 1800's

Another interesting blog.