Tuesday, March 27, 2012

HellCat Tank Training & Engineering 1943.

Here you can see the major rebuilding of factory #08 in 1920. That is Hamilton Avenue running east and west between factory #08 and the main office which was building #07.

The engineering and training for the Hell-Cat tank was done here during World War II. This south-east view shows factory #08 during it's 1920 remodel. This shows the third floor addition being built. This photo is labeled wrong, as is the one shown below. This one is identified as the main office. The main office was actually directly north across Hamilton Avenue . I think maybe some interns did the cataloging of these archive prints and they really did not know much about the Buick buildings. 

This is a south facing view in 1920 of the remodeling of factory #08. This and the photo above are from the Buick Research Gallery in Flint, Michigan. This one is also wrongly identified as another building. So if you do any research there beware of the information attached to these archive prints. This shows the bridge area that will connect with factory #4 body shop. The third floor is being added at this time. That is the W.F. Stewart factory #3 in the left background.

Guarding factory #08 during World War II. I remember these Buick guards well. They commanded much more respect than the Pinkerton guards that replaced them when Buick City was created. These guards were great to work with. They did not wear a side-arm in my time. The Pinkerton guards were always "JERKS". I dealt with security on a daily basis while shipping and receiving parts. The Pinkerton guards always looked and acted like mall security.

The original T-70 wooden mock-up. Some working models were built and rejected by the military. This is factory #08.

Radial engine installed in this powertrain cutaway. This is factory #08.

Training on the turret of the M-18 in factory #08.

Powertrain section cutaway.  Hellcat name was going to be used for the 1947 DYNAFLOW transmission. Link here for news. 

Training in factory #08.

Training in factory #08.

Training in factory #08.

Training in factory #08.

Inserting the torsion bar suspension which is still used in our modern tanks today. This is factory #08. You can tell this is facing north towards Hamilton avenue because of the trees outside the windows.

Powertrain section training cutaway.

Ready for the "quick change" engine. The engine was on rollers and was slid in place from the rear. This is factory #08.

Transmission training in factory #08.

Engine in factory #08.

Power section in factory #08.

Drive section in factory #08.

Suspension and drive wheel training in factory #08. This would also be the north wall because of the tree branches visible outside the window.

This location is shown two photos below. That is the Oak Park fire station on Industrial Avenue in the background. Since we can see Oak Park #4 fire station in the background (in this 1943 photo) we know that factory #4 body shop has been removed. It was in fact demolished in 1936. M4A2E8 - Upgraded with wide-track Horizontal Volute Spring Suspension (HVSS), fitted with the 76mm M1 gun is shown on the left.

The location of this photo is shown at the bottom, with the south wall of factory #08 in the background. M4A2E8 - Upgraded with wide-track Horizontal Volute Spring Suspension (HVSS), fitted with the 76mm M1 gun shown in profile.

This 1930 aerial photo of the area south of Hamilton Avenue shows the location and direction of the posed M-18 Hell-Cat tanks. The building (#08) is located south of Hamilton and is where the M-18 training school was located during World War II. This building had many functions over it's life span, including: Early Buick Factory Showroom - New model build (pilot cars) - Book publishing (Buick Bulletin) - Training School (WWII) - Day Care Center (during G.M.'s 50th celebration) - Engineering (#78) - Body building (wooden bodies) - Tank Transmission Assembly & Shipping and was always used as the garage for management and their families vehicles. It had it's first major remodeling in 1920 and it's second between 1927-1930. The second addition is the area designated as #08 in the photo. My mother parked here (south of #08) sometimes when we picked my father up after work. Factory #08 was demolished during 1963 when so many other old Buick buildings were removed. As I reported for work (on my first day) at the Hamilton Avenue entrance to Division Street in 1972, I was a bit confused? Because I remembered how it looked when the old main office and Buick garage were still standing when I was a kid.

In this photo you can see the location of the M-18 Hell-Cat tanks posed in the picture. The area circled is the background in the 1943 (inset) photo. The engineering group at Buick was designated as #78 and was functioning in this building and building #84 starting in 1927  Link for news announcement. Building #84 was built on the footprint of the old Imperial Wheel plant on the north-side of Hamilton Avenue.


National Defense Day At Buick.

W.F. Stewart Factory 4 & Buick Garage #08.

Factory #08

Ruth Nash

Factory #08 1923

Buick 1920 Aerial View

Overview Buick 1938

Buick 1930

Buick Through The Years.

Buick Aerial View 1930

Aerial Buick.

Buick Aerial View 1936

Factory #62 Getting Ready For War

Buick Test Track During World War II.

The T-70 Tank Prototype

Genesee County Tanks

Factory #62 WWII

Factory #06 Assembly

Industrial & Hamilton Avenue 1913

My Family at General Motors

Building #84 Engineering

Engineering & Experimental 1923

Buick Engineering 1972

Imperial Wheel Company Had Many Faces

Factory #30 Beginning To End.

Here is the same view as shown below only on October 14, 1920 during construction of the new Buick Brass and Aluminum foundry. This photo is from the Buick Research Gallery.

This is August 25, 2003 looking west at what is (at that time) designated building #30 or factory #03. The Buick spring forge. You can see the original east wall since the demolition had started. This is a still shot from the Leonard Thygesen demolition documentary.

Factory #03/#30

Buick North-End 2008 - 2010

Factory #03/bldg #30

Factory #30 Interior

Factory #30/#03 2004

Factory #30 East Wall

Brass and Aluminum Foundry

Factory #30 Northwest Corner
This addition to the original #30 aluminum foundry was built following  World War II. This is the east side of  the #03 spring plant which which got that new designation after 1963. These three photos are 35mm photos from Leonard Thygesen.

Factory #03/#30 before demolition begins. This north facing view has factory #70/#81 in the foreground. From left to right in the background is #05 and #10. 

The spring plant #03 was the first to fall before the wrecking crew north of Leith Street which was not part of Buick City. The area north of Leith was called  Powertrain Flint North.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Buick Special Celebration.

This is the pin given out to workers on this June day.

Some 66 Buick Special models.

This is June 20,1966. This traveling music group was still traveling through Buick when I worked there. The worker driving the "Clarkat" truck worked with us in the materials group #88 on #16 rail dock. I can not remember his name and even sent this photo to another worker that was in our group. He recognized him also, but could not remember his name. He retired around 1978. I do remember that he ran the card game in the area (shown here during demolition at lower right) on the second shift in new factory #40 or building #16 on Division Street. This photos location appears to be along the west wall of factory #04. Excuse the Mylar reflection on the photo. These are archive prints that you handle with white gloves. This photo is from the Buick Research Gallery in Flint,Michigan. 

Buick 1948 - 1958

Factory #40/bldg 16

Gerry Godin 1980 Accident

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Unknown Buick Building.

This small building is #22. I have not been able to figure out it's purpose or location yet. I have found a small building with this designation up on Industrial Ave. at the north-end of factory #16. The billboard partially visible at the left mentions prosperity and is for a local bank. Those are 1920's automobiles shown at the right. The date at the lower right appears to be 1-15-36 when you enlarge. This photo is from the Buick Research Gallery in Flint, Michigan. You really need to enlarge these photos for detail.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Buick 599 Auction Cancelled.

No further word on this at this time. Update on TV 12 news says a private deal was made with someone. patsy lou Williamson buys Local 599 Link for news on cancellation:

Auctioneer 'shocked' that auction of UAW Local 599 building in Flint canceled at last minute

Published: Friday, March 16, 2012, 12:21 PM Updated: Friday, March 16, 2012, 1:07 PM

uaw-local-599-auction-2_2.JPGView full sizeThousands of items had been prepared for auction at UAW Local 599 hall in Flint. At the last minute, UAW officials called off the auction of the contents and building at 812 Leith Street.
FLINT, Michigan -- With just 24 hours to go before a major auction at Flint's UAW Local 599, Steven Cole said he was told the event had been canceled.

"I was completely shocked," said Cole, owner of Steven Cole and Associates, the auction company that had been hired to run the bidding on UAW Local 599 union hall and all its contents.

"There had been some rumors about someone thinking of canceling the auction a month ago, but the day before the auction? This is ridiculous," said Cole.

Cole said he was busy at the site making last minute preparations when he was told that the international union had called off the entire sale.

"They got a call here and they were told stop the auction, don't sell the building and don't sell the personal property," Cole said.

The owner of the Flint and Lapeer-based auction company says in his 20 years of business, this is the first time anyone has ever canceled an auction.

Cole says his business is based on commissions from sales, so he is currently working with the union to determine what will be done about compensation.

Cole reported more than 15-thousand page views for the UAW 599 auction on his website prior to the event being canceled. As a result, he had expected hundreds of people to turn out tomorrow.

Cole says he will post the cancelation on his website and will send an email blast to several thousand people, but expects there will be many people who will not receive the news in time.

"I guess I'll be there tomorrow morning meeting people who show up and spending a lot of time apologizing," said Cole.

UAW Local 599 president Bill Jordan confirmed the auction has been called off. He would not offer a reason, but said local 599 membership will be staying in the building.


Auction of UAW Local 599 in Flint halted because of new purchase agreement

Published: Friday, March 16, 2012, 5:00 PM

uaw-local-599-auction-2012--1.JPGView full sizeUAW Local 599 building at 812 Leith Street in Flint will not be auctioned Saturday. A purchase agreement reached today means Local 599 will stay in the building.
FLINT, Michigan -- The 26,000-square-foot union hall that sits at 812 Leith Street will remain the home of UAW Local 599. It will not be sold in an auction, says to Local 599 president Bill Jordan.

A purchase agreement for the building was signed today, less than 24 hours before the planned Saturday auction,Jordan said. The agreement involves Local 599 staying in the building as a tenant.

"The hall will be utilized as a union hall and as a facility for the community," said Jordan. "It will become a showcase facility, something that people are going to come to. It's going to be something for the betterment of the community, for people to come and see things."

As an example, Jordan said, people may come to see an antique Buick parked in the building one day. He denied, however, that the building would be turned into an automotive museum. He referred to it, instead, as a "community attraction."

Jordan identified the purchaser only as "a corporation with interest in the community." He said plans for the building and details on the corporation would be released in the next few weeks, after paperwork on the sale is processed.

He denied reports by the auctioneer that the auction was stopped by the international union. Jordan did say the deal was brokered with the assistance of the UAW regional office, "and there might have been an international representative at the regional office."

The building had been for sale for over a year before the union decided to move ahead with an auction to sell it. Jordan said he can only speculate why the corporation waited until the 11th hour to move ahead with a purchase offer.

"Over the last year, we had a number of people interested in purchasing the building, but those deals fell through," Jordan said. "I'm guessing when the deals didn't come through, they said, 'Let's step up to the plate and see what we can do to keep this building for the community.'"

Jordan says he believes the corporation may have some of its employees work out of the Leith Street building. Those details have yet to be worked out.

uaw-local-599-auction-2_2.JPGView full sizeThousands of items had been prepared for auction at UAW Local 599 hall in Flint. Friday morning, UAW officials called off the auction of the contents and building at 812 Leith Street.
As for what will happen with the thousands of items and memorabilia prepared for auction that are sitting in the building's auditorium -- some things will be tossed and most will be put back in place, according to Jordan.

"There are a number of things that are unsalvagable, so we'll have to sort things out and get rid of the trash," said Jordan. "The furniture will go back in place, we'll have to decide what to do with some of the computers. The historical memorabilia will still be there."

Jordan says he understand the confusion that might result from canceling the auction at the last minute. He plans to be outside of the building Saturday morning, apologizing and explaining the situation to those who might show up.

Additional links:

Local 599 Up For Auction.

Local #599 For Sale

The old 599 local union hall

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Aerial Buick.

This is most of Buick in 1952 and would be late 52 because of the large stacks being removed from the powerhouse and the new scrubbers in place.

Here is the same area as shown below in a print published by Buick in 1953 showing factory #36 finished (at least 1/2 of it’s future size) and #71-A done, with factory #05 completed.

This is the print from the Buick Research Gallery in Flint. The part circled in green is the future site of the foundry addition #71-a. The building north of factory #10 circled in red is unknown at this time. This is where factory #36 will be built beginning in 1952 and ending in 1953. I did contact the author of the book “A Place Called Buick” by Don Bent and he seemed to recall that a cannery may have existed on the future factory #36 site. My research turned up a foundry near here but a bit farther to the west on the west corner of Andrew and Stewart.

Leonard Thygesen sent along this fine photo from his private collection. I have found this photo in a Buick magazine dated December 1949, so it is at least that old.
The inset photo showing the Buick Service Parts building (I believe) was planned and never built, maybe a little more research is required. This could be the SPO on Dort highway in Flint? Things moved very fast after the war and many plans were changed on the fly. The view is north-east.   Links:

Leonard Thygesen Historic Documentary.

Buick Aerial View 1936

Last Remnant Of Factory #36

Buick North 1966 Overview

Buick 1953 Air View

Overview Buick 1938

Factory Designations

Flint Photos Supplied From The Weaver Family

Buick City Building Designations

Buick Factory Designations

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Buick Site March 13, 2012.

Looking directly west from The Stewart Avenue overpass. Cleaning up the remnants of building 55-A and factory #05. This is almost unbelievable. All photos from Leonard Thygesen.

Looking at the site of factory #05 from Industrial Avenue. Your looking east.

Stewart Avenue And Division Street. This south-west view taken from Selby Street. Not much left to see. This was the location of factory #05.