My History

My History

A Jacob of All Trades

A Jacob of All Trades

  The city of Flint as we know it today began in the early part of the 19th century as a single shanty in the wilds of Michigan. Jacob Smith, a Canadian of German descent, is commonly considered the founder of Flint. He established a trading post at the “Grand Traverse,” as the southernmost point…

March 2, 2015

My History

Willa the Warrior

Willa the Warrior

Willa Hawkins has been a warrior her whole life. She is the last living member of a 12-citizen committee that helped pass the Flint Fair Housing Ordinance. In February 1968, Flint became the first city in the nation to pass by popular vote an open housing referendum. It passed by a narrow margin, making national…

February 2, 2015

My History

A Drive Down History Lane

A Drive Down History Lane

Many street names in Flint originate from the settlers who platted the city’s land. Early pioneers named roads after themselves, their wives, families, histories and interests. A local man by the name of Cecil McKenna is said to have conducted years of research on the origins of Flint’s street names, but sadly, after his death,…

February 2, 2015

My History

Secret Stepping Stone Falls

Secret Stepping Stone Falls

Once a well-known and oft-visited site, Stepping Stone Falls and its history has dimmed in the public mind.   The water feature was part of a proposition made to the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation in 1964 to create the Genesee Recreation Area, which today includes the 650-acre C.S. Mott Lake, Crossroads Village, Huckleberry Railroad, Bluebell…

September 1, 2014

My History

Alfred Pritchard Sloan, Jr. was very wealthy. One of the nation’s first corporate executive success stories, Sloan became rich not through inventiveness, but through earning a salary and receiving stock options. His GM shares made him one of the world’s richest men. By the time he was 90, he’d given hundreds of millions of dollars to further medical research and technology through his eponymous philanthropic foundation while still retaining a personal fortune of a quarter-billion dollars.

Machine Man

Throughout MCM’s exploration of General Motors’ history, we’ve focused on the inchoate beginnings of what was later the model of efficiency and the power of precision. But who enacted this change? Who made the name of General Motors synonymous with industrial production? Answer: Alfred P. Sloan, Jr. Undoubtedly, Alfred Sloan is a mysterious figure. The…

June 1, 2014

My History

A Spark of Brilliance The Flamboyant Albert Champion

A Spark of Brilliance The Flamboyant Albert Champion

A lover of fast machines and fast women, Albert Champion lived one of the most dramatic lives of any of the automobile barons. Champion was born in Paris on April 2, 1878. In 1899, he lived up to his name when he won the fourth Paris-Roubaix, one of the earliest and most challenging bicycle road…

May 1, 2014

My History

The Shadow Men of Buick Part III: Lost in the Shadows

The Shadow Men of Buick Part III: Lost in the Shadows

The first two installments of this series focused on David Buick and other men who worked to get the Buick Motor Company off the ground at the dawn of the 20th century. Last month, we left off with Durant’s 1904 takeover of Buick. The explosive growth of the company after that takeover is well remembered…

April 1, 2014

My History

In this series, we seek to discover the men whose accomplishments and contributions to the auto industry were overshadowed by Buick Motor Co. Even David Dunbar Buick seems to be lost in the shadows; how much more so men like Walter Marr, Eugene Richard and others? In our last issue, we discussed David Buick’s halting entry into the automobile market and subsequent move to Flint, under the direction of James Whiting.

The Shadow Men of Buick Part II: Getting their Buicks in a Row

James H. Whiting was born in Torrington, CT in 1842. He served in the 23rd Connecticut Infantry during the Civil War and afterwards made his way to Flint. In 1882, he became manager of the Begole, Fox & Company lumber mills, whose anemic outputs resulted from the severe depletion of timber surrounding the town. Whiting…

March 1, 2014

My History

A Stained-Glass Mystery

A Stained-Glass Mystery

Recessed within the main sanctuary of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church is an alcove called The Five Sisters Chapel. Light shines through a large stained-glass window depicting five women preparing to enter a door to Christ, who stands waiting. A plaque on the wall dedicates the Chapel to the memory of Margaret McFarlan, Eliza Henderson, Almira…

March 1, 2014