Bridge #20

This view of bridge #20 was taken in march 1934 from in front of factory #11. Looking across Leith st we see to the right in foreground factory #29 and beyond that factory #05 (enamel plant). You can also see the bridge is going overhead of the forge shop #03.

Here’s a view inside the bridge ( #20 ) which brought the engines from the north end of factory #11 all the way south to factory #62 final assembly in 1926.


St. Johns Industrial Park Urban Renewal near Buick

Closeup of factory #10, #05 and #36.
Closeup of freeway construction.
An aerial view from the east towards Buick looking over the old Buick Heights. The I-475 freeway business loop through Flint is just being constructed.
A typical neighborhood before Urban Renewal. This is the old intersection of St John Street and Oakland Street (now Leith St.) looking east towards the Flint river. James P. Cole blvd. was rerouted as shown below. That is the Fairview school shown at the upper left. The future Buick #07 powerhouse would be built at the north-west intersection shown here.

The address for Fairview school shows 1300 Leith Street but in 1915 this street was still known as Oakland.

Buick Research Gallery

Here is the model of factory #31-#11-and #66 at the Buick Research Gallery in Flint, Michigan.
When I was at the Buick Research Gallery one thing really disappointed me. A lot of the cars I was looking forward to seeing were not on display. The Sloan Museum used to display the Buick’s more prominently before the research gallery was opened. They still do special Buick showings, in fact one is coming up may of 2008. Myself and others I’ve encountered on the internet have this idea of using the original Buick factory #31/11 which is still in existence only abandoned by General Motors. The combined buildings at this location include old factory #66 the crankshaft factory. Now this structure still has the original roof trusses in place from when factory #01 (the first Buick factory built for the Oak Park Industries) was a single story building, plus the roof trusses are there from when Buick’s first sheet metal plant (#12) was a single story building. Now here’s the fun part. You could use these buildings as an on sight museum for all automotive history in Flint. This would open up the Cultural Center for other activities. Right now they’re removing historic houses and always complaining they need more parking. Could you imagine this museum located in the actual buildings where the history was made? Now I know most of the machines and equipment are usually abandoned and left in place in these old G.M. factories but thats a plus. All you would need to do is sweep up the floors and patch the roof leaks and start setting up the displays. Picture in your mind actually seeing and being able to touch this part of Flint and General Motors history. The parking places are already in place which is another plus. So here we are on opening day, walking into the south entrance of old factory #11 on Leith Street going through the very entrance that thousands of Buick workers have walked through over the past 100 years. Maybe the first thing you notice is the same thing the original worker’s noticed, “this place is huge”. As you walk through this living time capsule you will see mixed among the machinery actual artifacts from Buick and Flint’s past. Now the city of Flint tried this idea of bringing in tourism with Auto World, but this is on a whole other level. I went to Auto World and believe me it was pretty cheesy and by that I mean it seemed like it was designed as an amusement park by people who only read a book about Flint. This living museum could be used for 100 more years and beyond. If you wanted to draw in the tourist dollar, you need something unique that nobody else has and these buildings would definitely qualify as unique. I can only imagine the people from all over the world who would come to Flint to see this “LIVING MUSEUM”. If people could see the cars and displays that are hidden away for lack of space I would venture to guess they would find it very similar to the “Henry Ford Museum”. Maybe this is a foolish dream but our ancestors that made Flint the auto capital of the world back in the day were also dreamers. Once these buildings are gone, they are gone forever and so is the dream.

Here I am in a 1917 Buick and if I was any fatter I wouldn’t fit.
This is the M-18 Tank I seen at Buick’s 100th birthday running around at Bishop airport.
Here is a large dealer neon sign.
Here is an original wood and clay mock up for the 1939 Buick. It is rather large. My daughter’s reflection in the case gives an idea of size.

This is one of the workshops at the Buick Gallery in Flint. When I was there on April 15, 2008 they were still working on the body of the 1953 Skylark. You can see the Buick Bug with it’s hood removed and also a Whiting automobile.

Buick City

Here is a worker getting ready to work on a hood die in the body shop.
Heres a Buick City robot at the Sloan in Flint.
This is factory #12 the body shop along the west wall facing northeast.
This is a mockup at Buick City for the windshield robot in 1985.

This robot used for unloading the seat trucks from Lear Seigler in Fenton Mi. was always cutting into my Drinking time. People are fond of saying that robots don’t get sick or need vacations but anyone who has been around them know this to be untrue. When the robots don’t work a human steps in to take the job. This view from factory #04/86 is facing north. The location is the east wall about midway in the factory.

Buick Town

September 22, 2008. This is the old Buick sign at the U.S.23 and I-75 interchange south of Bristol rd in Flint. In the old day’s, driving north you would see it lit up with huge red neon letters at the top saying “BUICK TOWN”

This is the matching “BUICK TOWN” billboard on (southbound) I-75 north of Flint. I took this photo April 15, 2008 while on my way to the Buick Research Gallery. These billboard’s were built in the early 60’s just after the freeway went through Genesee county. They let you know, with big letters what town you were entering. The only sign of Buick now is my hood ornament.