Flint, Michigan

Flint is an auto industrial city found along the Flint River (from which the city derived its name) in the state of Michigan. This beautiful city started as trading post in 1819, was incorporated in 1855, and is now one Michigan's largest cities. It is the county seat of the Genesee County.

Flint, which just about an hour's drive northwest of Detroit, has a long history rooted in making carriages and cars. During the latter half of the 19th century, it was the world's largest center of carriage-making; hence the nickname, The Vehicle City. Flint is where General Motors began producing cars in 1908. For this reason, Flint came to be known as Buick City. The city is also the birthplace of the United Auto Workers, an international labor union that was formed following the Flint Sit-Down Strike of 1937. But what really brought Flint to international prominence is the Michael Moore documentary “Roger & Me”. The 1989 film portrayed the devastating effects of the decline of Flint's auto industry on the city.

Flint initiated redevelopment efforts in the early 2000s, focusing on the higher learning and entertainment sector. Flint has also experience something of a renaissance in the form of boarded-up properties used as bars and restaurants.

Welcome to the city of Flint, where you will be able to make just about anything happen. The city also has a bustling nightlife, various places to eat, places to see and can also offer you a great shopping experience. It is also an area of history and culture.

Flint History

The founding of the city of Flint dates back to the day when Jacob Smith, a Detroit fur trader, and his wife, a Chippewa Indian, set up a permanent trading post in the area that was then known as Grand Traverse. The year was 1819. Smith formed close friendship with the Ojibwa Indians that continued for years. He and his children were even given tracts of land north the Saginaw Treaty of 1819, a land exchange negotiation between the Ojibwa Indians and the US government.

The first wave of settlers began arriving in 1829. However, the pioneer period did not last long. Once established, the settlers put up sawmills, taking advantage of the abundance of timber to build clapboard houses. As Flint was located midway between Detroit and Saginaw, it became a popular stopover for travelers. Establishments were opened to meet their needs as well as the needs of the settlers, many of whom became farmers. Over the years, the village underwent several name changes, including “Todd's Crossing” and “Sidney”, before the name “Flint River” was considered. The word Flint, “Pawanunking” in the native Indian language, refers to the river's rocky bed. In 1836, the name was shortened to Flint. In 1855, Flint was incorporated as city.

In the 1850s, Henry Howland Crapo arrived in Flint to invest in pinelands. Crapo helped transform Flint into a lumber center. Crapo was also instrumental in the construction of the Flint-Holly Railway line, which allowed lumber to be moved more efficiently to market. The lumber industry boom did not last long. By the 1880s, the area forests were already depleted, putting a halt to the lumber industry. With the money and skills earned from lumbering business, Flint businessmen turned to making road carts and horse-drawn carriages. By the end of the 19th century, Flint had already established itself as the largest center for carriage-making in the world, producing as much as 100,000 carriages a year. When the wooden carts were replaced by horseless carriages Flint was also in the forefront of the burgeoning auto industry.

In 1903, Buick Motor Company entered into negotiations with Flint Wagon Works. Needing more capital, director James Whiting sought Willy Durant, Flint”s most successful entrepreneur, for financing. Seeing that the Buick automobile was a superior vehicle, Durant turned to building automobiles. By introducing the concepts of industry consolidation and customer choice and Durant became a decisive factor in the success of Buick.

In 1908, Durant founded General Motors Corporation, which focused on manufacture and assembly of motor vehicles. It quickly grew into a huge industry. In 1909, he mass-produced Chevrolet after partnering with Louis Chevrolet. Durant would lose and regain control of GM twice before losing it permanently in 1925. His impact on the economy and history of Flint, however, cannot be underestimated. Flint”s auto industry experienced boom in the 1950s, but this did not last long. Manufacturing plants were shuttered down. Companies downsized employees in large scales. In 1970, GM employed 82,000 workers. Today, the number is around 14, 000 only.

The 21st century, however, has seen Flint reinventing itself once again. This time, universities and colleges are leading the way. The citizens have also renovated some areas of Flint, turning into bars, restaurants, or offices. It's a slow process, but Flint is already starting to recover.

About Flint, Michigan

The once-prosperous city of Flint, Michigan has experienced hardships over the past 30 years because of the decline of the American auto industry. Despite these hardships, the city boasts of strong history and tradition evident in the cultural and educational institutions of the city. While some people see Flint as a ghost city, there's more to it than the closed down factories and vacant houses. Visitors to Flint will be surprised by the variety of recreational, cultural, dining, and shopping opportunities it has to offer.

One must-see this city if he or she wants to experience the automobile history of Flint. The Alfred P. Sloan Museum also depicts the automobile past of this city in great detail. It houses hundreds of artifacts, exhibits, and photographs chronicling the beginning, peaks, and lows of the Flint auto industry. The Whaley Historical House and the Buick Research Gallery also provide visitors a glimpse at the life and times of Flint in the late 19th to early 20th century. Another spot where the city's history comes to life is the Crossroads Village. The village is a cluster of restored historic establishments and shops, including a barber shop, blacksmith shop, gristmill, and blacksmith shop. Visitors can also ride the Huckleberry Railroad, the only authentic steam-powered rail line in the state of Michigan, or cruise Mott Lake on Michigan's only paddlewheel riverboat.

East of downtown Flint is the Flint Cultural Center, the city's cultural, arts, and science center. The Flint Cultural Center is home to many institutions. The Whiting is a 2000-seat theater that hosts Broadway shows, dance, music, comedy, play, and many more. The Robert Longway Planetarium is Michigan's largest planetarium, which features a Sky Theater equipped with high-tech sky viewing technology. Other institutions found in the campus are the Flint Institute of Arts, the Flint Institute of Music, the Sloan Museum, the Buick Automotive Research Gallery, and the Flint Youth Theater.

Half a mile northeast of city downtown is the Flint Farmer's Market, one of Michigan's largest markets and one of top 10 must-see markets in America according to CNN. Here, locals and visitors will find an assortment of organic vegetables, fruits, local specialties, flowers, baked goods, and crafts.

Flint also hosts many sporting events. Three of the most popular spectator sports are hockey, football, and basketball. One can view these events at the Atwood Stadium, Genesee Valley Sports Center, or the Flint Skate Park. Flint supports several minor league and semi-pro sports team. The Flint Rampage, a semi-pro football team, plays in the United States Football Alliance. The Genesee Country Patriots and the Flint Fury are also semi-pro football teams playing for Flint. The Michigan Warriors, a junior hockey team, plays in the North American Hockey League.

About Genesee County, Michigan

Genesee County, the fourth largest county in Michigan, is nestled on the lower southeastern part of the state. The county is mostly flat land, covering an area of 650 square miles. It has 9 cities, 29 townships, and 5 villages within its borders. The count seat is Flint City.

Genesee County was settled in 1829, with Jacob Smith from Canada as the first resident. The next wave of settlers, such as Addison Stewart, Simon King, and Rubin McCory, came a few years later. The county was incorporated in 1836. It was named after Genesee County, New York in the hope to gain settlers from there. Genesee is a Seneca (Iroquoian) word that means “beautiful valley”, an apt description for the county.

The boom of the lumber industry of Flint in the latter half of the 19th century directly affected the economic growth of the county. Genesee County, MI continues to experience prosperity during the carriage-making era of the late 19th century and the automobile-manufacturing era of the 20th century.

Today, Genesee County is still a scene of industrial and commercial progress. Nonetheless, it continues to evoke country charm due in large part to the presence of many turn-of-the-century buildings, particularly in small towns like Fenton and Gaines. The National Register of Historic Places has listed 66 historic buildings and districts in the county of Genesee.

Historic Cities in Genesee County: Flushing is a city located along Flint River, about 7 miles west of Flint City. Settled in 1836 as a lumber town, the city features many 19th and early 20th century style buildings. Flint City, its county seat, has many museums and districts that showcase the city's long and rich history. Mount Morris, also a short drive from Flint, is home to many mid-sized manufacturing facilities. Mount Morris was one of the first areas in Genesee County to be settled. On the eastern side of the county is Fenton, a city founded by Clark Dibble in 1836. Many buildings there, including a shopping plaza and houses, date back to the early 20th century. In the southern part of Genesee County are the hills and lakes that are a part of the city of Linden. Visitors to Linden will find an old mill powered by water wheel and many Victorian style buildings.