Friday, February 20, 2015

Flint's Early Automobiles.

Wisner's 2nd  horseless carriage.

Wisner's 3rd horseless carriage.

The judge built three horseless carriages. You can find their photos in Lawrence Gustin's book "The Flint Journal Centennial Picture History of Flint. These and the photos below are from that book.  The story about them can be found in the book.

The very first automobile built in Flint was built by Judge Charles H. Wisner,  possibly as early as 1898. The carriage house which was his workshop was written about in The Detroit Journal of October 10, 1901 as being one of the best appointed machine shops in the state. I just so happened to be there the day they were moving it to it's new home in Crossroads village near Flint, where it can still be seen today. I was skipping school that day. It was located at the southwest corner of east Court and Lapeer Street. I looked in the windows with the glass now removed and it was already elevated for moving. It was bright red with white trim as I recall. It was being moved to make way for the new business loop through Flint called the Buick & U.A.W. expressway or I-475 as we know it today. Wisner's first car was known as Wisner's "Buzz Wagon". Wisner built a total of three cars and two of them are said to have had their final assembly done at the Armstrong plant on St. John Street. Robert (Bert) Armstrong supposedly helped Wisner with those two. One side note is that James Parkhill erected the first gasoline station in Flint during 1905. A recreation of this station was for a time set up at the Sloan museum in Flint.   James Parkhill Flint Garage 1906.  James Parkhill's book: To My Friends: by James Parkhill 

As best I recall this is where the Wisner home and carriage house were located.


February 1, 1901.
December 19, 1900.     January 9, 1901.        Links:   Arthur W. Hough    March 25, 1928 story of early Flint & Buick.