Hamilton and Industrial

A panorama of the two photos below. This is sometime during the 20’s.
The axle plant is on the left,then factory #01 with the main office at right.
The Industrial bank is on the left,with Buick axle plant on the right.


1935 Drive away

This photo shows Buick dealers and salesman from Ohio gathering for a Buick Drive away in 1935. This view is looking west from the roof of the main kitchen, building #43, built around 1920. They are standing under the overhead bridge #20 that brought engines to final assembly from factory #11/24 engine test. These are the new Buick Special’s which put Buick back on the map. The factory in the background is #29 Toolmakers.

James Arthur Procunier

Mike stated,
I really enjoyed going through your Buick blog. It looks like you’ve put in a lot of work on it. I haven’t spent much time in Flint, but my father was born there and grandfather raised there. I’ve attached a picture that I just came upon in my late grandfather’s things. The hand written inscription on the back reads “Buick Motor Car Co. 1908 – Flint, Michigan”. Can you identify where the picture was taken? My great-grandfather James Arthur Procunier is in 3rd row, 4th from right. “GERRY REPLY’S” You can see the sawtooth windows in the roof when you look through the window panes. Also the pillars and window configuration would make this the west wall of factory #11. History tells us this building was built in 1909 so I tend to believe that the inscription on the back was added at a latter date. Either that or the date of construction of #11 is off which I doubt. More research is required if Mikes photo is correctly dated. Thanks for this lost piece of history Mike. “MIKES REPLY“..Wow… you should work for CSI. You’re right, I didn’t notice sawtooth windows until I really looked. The really telling thing is that the bench from my picture perfectly matches the bench in yours. It would make sense that the inscription might be off. They didn’t move to Flint until at least 1908 and he was listed as a painter in the 1910 Census & assembler in the 1920 Census. I doubt if he would have been a painter at the engine plant.

Dr. Hills The Man Who Bought The First Flint Buick

The first Buick sold to a customer.
Description on the above photograph.

Dr. Herbert H. Hills, was the first owner of a production Buick. The story goes that he was not the first on a list of persons waiting for a new Buick. He was placed ahead of others because he agreed to let this vehicle be used as a demonstrator model. Some believe this car was built using the chassis and engine used on the Flint to Detroit test run. An article in the Flint Daily Journal July 29th stated the test car had been shipped to Chicago. We will probably never know for certain which is true. It is also believed to be the car that Billy Durant drove around Genesee county during the summer of 1904. Years later Walter Marr stated that the engine from the test Buick was seen by him being used to pump water in Chicago. This could help substantiate the story that the original test car was sent to Chicago. The large lamp was needed for night time driving.

First Flint Buick

The Wolverine Citizen reports on the first Buick being built. Original paper with this story. Announcing the first Flint Buick in a race.

July 2, 1904 Wolverine Citizen.

This is the first completed Flint built Buick in front of the Buick factory on west Kearsley st. Flint,Michigan. Marr is behind the wheel seated next to Tom Buick. In the rear is Charles Begole in the Bowler and James Whiting in the straw boater hat. It would be nice to speculate that the man with arms folded in the window of the factory is David Buick. Looking pleased at the scene before him.


James H. Whiting.

Saginaw and east First street after the return trip. A 1914 interview with Walter Marr. ” This was the first real road test this car had been given and established a record at that time which is considered good even today by cars that have three times as much horsepower. We covered 115 miles in 217 minutes or a little better than 30 miles per hour. We came through Pontiac, Oxford and Lapeer, and the roads were deep in mud every mile of the way. I did the driving and Buick was kept busy wiping the mud off my goggles. “At one place, going down a hill, I saw a bump at a bridge too late to slow up. when I hit it, I threw on all the power and landed over it safely in the road. Buick was just taking a chew of tobacco, and a lump of mud as large as a baseball hit him square in the face, filling his mouth completely. We were plastered with mud from head to foot when we reached Flint, but the little car ran the distance without a skip. The last I heard of this Buick was in 1913, when I was in Chicago, and it was still running.” ………I have read one report that stated the Buick needed an axle bearing replaced near Lapeer. So many different versions are presented in numerous books that I feel safer using the newspaper stories.

Original map link.

The Flint Daily Journal’s account of the first test run of a new Buick. July 13, 1904. Bespattered with flying real estate from every county they had touched, but with the knowledge that they had made a “record”, Tom Buick and W. L. Marr, of the Buick Motor Works, who left for Detroit on Saturday to give the first automobile turned out by that concern a trial on the road, returned to the city late yesterday afternoon. The test of the machine was eminently satisfactory, and, in fact, exceeded expectations. In spite of the muddy conditions of the roads the trip home was made in remarkable time of 3 hours and 37 minutes, or at the rate of a trifle less than a mile in 2 minutes, on the basis of the distance traversed as figured by the gentlemen in charge of the machine. Through a mistake they failed to take a right turn when near Lapeer and it was necessary for them to make an extra 15 miles. This increased the total distance of the run to nearly 115 miles as they passed through Pontiac, Orion, Oxford, Lapeer and Davison, not following the direct route. “The machine made the run without a skip.” said Mr. Marr today, “and reached here in the best of condition. We took hills handily with our high speed gear and the machine sounded like a locomotive. It simply climbed. In one place we raced with an electric car and showed them the way. We went so fast at another time that we could not see the village ‘six-mile-an-hour’ sign.” The machine used in making the trip is the $950 tonneau put out by the Buick company, and is equipped with a 12-horse power engine that can develop from 18 to 21 horse power on a pinch. It was provided with a “testing” body and was stripped of anything that would add unnecessary weight. Its long rakish looking body, covered with mud, gave it the appearance of a speeder and attracted much attention along the route of the run. Upon its return to the city the machine and its occupants, mud and all, were photographed by C. R. Quay.

Walter Marr And Tom Buick the day they returned from the Flint to Detroit test run, beside the Buick factory. They left Flint July 9th 1904 on a Saturday and returned Tuesday the 12th. The total miles covered was 115. Total driving time was 3 hours 37 minutes. Wolverine Citizen announcement for the first Buick. Story about early accessories including the rubber cover for engine shown above.