Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Buick Assembly In St Louis.

A story from “The Accessory And Garage Journal” in 1919, which was explaining all of the 37 million dollar G.M. expansion’s scheduled for 1919. This is just the St Louis, Missouri part of the story.

This is the news about Buick assembly entirely returning to Flint, Michigan.

This photo (from the Buick Research Gallery in Flint, Michigan) shows the combined Buick and Chevrolet assembly plant in St Louis, Missouri in 1920. This was the first joint venture of this kind for General Motors. This first joint operation did not last very long, with all Buick production returning to Flint in 1921. The next such venture was in 1932 at the Linden, New Jersey plant and then in 1936 at the South gate plant in California. The Buick portion of this large plant was eventually taken over by the Fisher Body Co. that started them on their journey of placing their body plants in close proximity to the assembly plant. It would take until 1985 for this to happen with Buick in Flint. This first venture of Buick assembly outside of Flint (not counting the Canadian McLaughlin) came about because of a rail car shortage that had cars being shipped in pieces to Minneapolis, Minnesota and assembled in a warehouse for distribution out west. See Pence Automobile Co. . This idea of sending all parts to another location for assembly appealed to the top men at Buick but the warehouse in Minneapolis did not quite fit the bill. This was why the St Louis assembly idea came about. The St Louis plant was closed in 1987 and was producing trucks at that time.  Link for the Pence factory.  The St. Louis Buick service department here.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

W.F. Stewart Factory #4

This story is from the September 1908 issue of the trade journal "The Hub".

I have never posted these two photos before. This photo facing south-west from what appears to be the third floor of Buick factory #01 would be prior to 1907. Notice all the air drying lumber where factory #08 garage will shortly be built. That is Hamilton Avenue running east and west.

This photo facing north-west was taken from the roof of the Stewart plant in 1910.

The corner of Industrial and Hamilton Avenue. This was the plant that built the early Buick open body's. This view is facing south-east from in front of the Industrial Savings Bank. Notice the shadow falling across the west wall of the factory; that is the shadow from the #4 Oak Park fire station.

Industrial and Hamilton.
Factory #4 Postcard Showing Bank
Weston Mott & Industrial Bank
Industrial & Hamilton Avenue 1915.
Industrial and Hamilton Showing Oak Park Subdivision
The W.F. Stewart Factories In Flint.
W.F. Stewart Factory 4 & Buick Garage #08.
W.F. Stewart Factory #4.
W.F. Stewart Inside + Postcard
Factory #08
HellCat Tank Training & Engineering 1943.
Industrial & Hamilton Avenue 1913

Monday, August 13, 2012

First Iron Poured In Factory #20 Foundry.

November 1915 from Steam magazine.

This unique commemorative plaque from the first "Buick built" foundry #20 is owned by John Stork. I have never seen another of these before. I was excited when John sent me this photo. He does not know of any family connection to the Buick plants in Flint but did state that his Great Grandfather was one of the founders of the short lived Lion Motor Car Company of Adrian, Michigan. Either way we now know the exact date that the foundry went into operation. It is always a treat to have an exact date for when these historic old factories went into production because so much history gets lost and forgotten.

Link for the more common plaques and the Lion history:
Factory #70/#71a The Lion Motor Company Lion Factory Fire

Factory #20 was located at the crossroads of Buick which was Division Street and Leith Street. Division was not open to public traffic and was solely a Buick street. Leith was named Oakland at the time the #20 foundry was built. 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.

Click on this page to see and read this story.

The factory description for this factory never varied from start to finish.


Factory #20 The Buick Foundry Leith Street Revisited.

Factory #20

Buick 1932

Charles Nash Testing Vehicle

Factory #20 Foundry Inside

Factory #20 Foundry

Michigan Motor Casting Company Factory #70 Raw Casting

Factory #70 Before 1953

Factory #70 Core Room

Block Grinding In Factory #70

Factory #70 Engine Block Pouring

Factory #70 POTS

Factory #70

Leftovers From The 2011 Demolition.

Buick Powertrain North Site Demolition

Friday, August 10, 2012

Attack On Flint History Again

FLINT, MI -- The list of things that criminals in Flint will steal sometimes feels as if it is bounded only by their imagination, and now there’s one more thing we can add to that list: our history.
Durant Dort.JPGBroken glass litters the floor of the Genesee County Historical Society inside the Durant-Dort Building in Flint. While only $40-$50 were stolen, original glass windows were broken and the offices inside were left in shambles.
Thieves broke into the historic Durant-Dort Building on the corner of Water and Mason streets Wednesday night.
They were able to make off with about $40-$50 in loose change and petty cash from the building’s occupants, but a price can’t be put on the damage they did inside of the building.
David White, president of the Durant-Dort Carriage Co. Foundation, said the thieves destroyed the etched glass inside of the building, which was originally installed when the building was constructed in the late 1800s.
“It’s irreplaceable,” said White. “They just don’t make that kind of glass with that craftsmanship.”
The Durant-Dort office building, 316 Water St., was built in 1895-96 and was the home of the Durant-Dort Carriage Co. It served as a focal point for Billy Durant and J. Dallas Dort's promotional activities in the carriage and automobile business.
It was also the place where Durant came up with the idea of General Motors.
Now, the building is home to the Genesee County Historical Society and area attorneys.
Attorney Daniel Andoni, whose office has been at the building for the past four years, said the historical impact of the damage wasn’t lost on him.
“This is where Billy Durant founded General Motors,” Andoni said.
White said the building’s alarm company reported the break-in but officers did not arrive on the scene until this morning when a secretary refused to enter the building until it was checked out.
While White said he knows Flint’s police are forced to prioritize calls, he said it feels like regular, tax-paying citizens and businesses are left to fend for themselves.
“We pay a lot of money in taxes and the police don’t come because they’re out dealing with another shooting,” said White.
White said the building has also been repeatedly victimized because the area has been without streetlights for nearly eight years.
The streetlights are owned by the city and the city has not allowed private entities to pay to repair a damaged electrical line, said White.
durant dort 2.jpgGlass litters the floor of an upstairs office at the historic Durant-Dort Building.
Kay Muhammad, the city’s transportation administrator, said the problem isn’t that simple.
Typically, Consumers Energy owns the street lights in the city, but when the project to rehabilitate Water Street was undertaken decorative lights were installed. Muhammad said the street lights were placed on a mixture of public right of way and private property and no plans or funding were included for maintenance on the lights.
Muhammad said the city is aware of the problem and working to find who owns the lights and find a solution. However, she said getting the lights turned back on would require a “massive project” that won’t be completed overnight.
She also denied that the city would refuse private funding to help fix the situation.
“We need to assure there is appropriate lighting,” Muhammad said.
So far, according to White, the building has had metal stolen from its air conditioning units, irrigation systems and spot lights in front of the building. It has also replaced five air conditioning units that were stolen in the past three years.
“We pay our taxes and we can’t get any help down there,” said White. By Gary Ridley | Links:

Carriage Town Factories. Durant-Dort Factories East of Saginaw Street. State historic marker

Sit-Down Strike marker defacedLink

Friday, August 3, 2012

Buick Factory #06

This photo of Buick assembly about 1911 shows a Runabout at center with a Touring car shown at the right. I would love to know the back story on this photo. I wonder who the gentleman in the duster is at the left? What is in the bucket that the worker in the center is getting ready to pour?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. The site where I found this photo is erroneously showing it to be a 1909 Oakland (forerunner of Pontiac) being built in Pontiac, Michigan. Oakland link.
 Additional links:

Factory #06 Assembly Assembly factory #06 Buick factory #1 & #6 Buick Factories 1908