FAQFAQ   SearchSearch  MemberlistMemberlistRegisterRegister  ProfileProfile   Log in[ Log in ]  Flint Talk RSSFlint Talk RSS

Home Open Chat Political Talk  Flint Journal Political Jokes The Bob Leonard Show  

Flint Michigan online news magazine. We have lively web forums


FlintTalk.com Forum Index > Open chat

Topic: The One-Fifty A to Z 1 - 33

  Author    Post Post new topic Reply to topic
Steve Myers
Site Admin
Site Admin

1. Jim Abbott - He quarterbacked Central High School to the state semifinals in 1984. He helped pitch the University of Michigan Wolverines to a Big Ten championship and the 1988 U.S. Olympic team to a gold medal. Drafted by the California Angels in 1989, Abbott spent 10 seasons in the big leagues. His highlight was a no-hitter for the New York Yankees in 1993. Abbott also pitched for the Chicago White Sox and Milwaukee Brewers. He retired in 1999 and now lives in California. And in case you didn't know, he's a southpaw. He was born without a right hand.

By the way ... 1961 Southwestern High School graduate Merv Rettenmund played 13 years in the Major Leagues, including World Series with the Baltimore Orioles and the Cincinnati Reds. Southwestern's Rick Leach (see entry No. 82 on this list) played 10 seasons.

2. AC Spark Plug - The longtime General Motors division (now part of Delphi Corp.) must have, uh, sparked the familiar Flint tourism slogan "Our Spark Will Surprise You!" Albert Champion founded AC in Flint in 1909. Besides firing up car engines (and even rocket engines, for the Apollo moon missions), AC in the 1920s and '30s turned out decorative ceramic tiles that still grace many Flint homes. Delphi Flint East, AC's former home, still cranks out plugs today.

3. The Rev. Avery Aldridge - He calmed racial tensions in Flint during the 1967 Detroit riots. He led the fight to rename Detroit Street for the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. He turned his church into a neighborhood force. "He was the conscience for this community - he was right, and we listened," said Genesee Probate Judge Robert Weiss, a former county prosecutor, at Aldridge's funeral in 2003. Aldridge moved to Flint after World War II. He grew Foss Avenue Baptist Church from four families to 2,000 as the church started a Christian school, ran an ice cream shop to employ youths, built an activity center - even organized a credit union. Aldridge was a founder of Concerned Pastors for Social Action. He served on the Flint Housing Commission and numerous boards. The public housing project Aldridge Place was named for him.

4. Angelo's - Maybe there's nothing all that unique about local landmark Angelo's, but it doesn't seem to matter - mystique clings to the longtime establishment like gravy to fries. Around here, the name Angelo's is short-order shorthand for the 86-year local institution of the coney island (begun in 1919 with Flint Coney Island, which later added "Original" to its name, on S. Saginaw Street downtown). Flint and its neighbors are home to some 30-plus coney restaurants. What's a coney, you ask? Well, stranger, served Flint style, it's a Koegel hot dog (No. 79) topped with a seasoned ground meat topping, chopped onions and mustard. Mmmm. The original Angelo's is at Davison and Franklin roads, although there are franchises now.

5. Applewood - The 18-acre estate and three-story, six-bedroom brick Tudor home of the late Charles Stewart and Ruth Rawlings Mott - Flint's greatest-ever benefactors (No. 102) - Applewood was bequeathed to the public after Ruth Mott's death in 1999. It's known for its fantastic gardens and grounds. When C.S. Mott bought it in 1916, the estate was a working 64-acre farm with cows, pigs, chickens, ducks, pigeons and horses. A gatehouse that once housed a hired farmer (and which has a Flint story all its own; No. 41), a brick chicken coop, a barn and an orchard still bear witness to this slice of rural life. It's located in the heart of the Cultural Center (No. 49) near downtown, yet it's uncannily invisible unless you're looking for it.

6. Arches - Decorative steel arches spanned Saginaw Street from 1899-1919, and made a heck of an impression in those 20 years. A favorite subject for old-time postcards and snapshots, the arches - especially the one declaring "Flint Vehicle City" in honor of the local carriage business - just seemed to stick in people's heads. When AutoWorld (No. 9) opened in 1984, its mock downtown featured, yup, arches. Recreated arches on Saginaw Street were lit and dedicated with a downtown parade of carriages, cars and pedestrians Nov. 29, 2003. They're one of two signature features of Saginaw Street downtown, the other being the red brick pavement on which the Crim 10-mile road race (No. 30) so memorably starts and ends.

7. "Arsenal of Democracy" - During World War I in 1917-18, Buick in Flint built aircraft engines, mortar shells and ambulances. It was an itty-bitty preview of the 1940s, when all of America's industrial might (including the good share of it that was right here in town) roared into life against the Axis powers. The auto industry eventually produced about 20 percent of all American war goods, and General Motors led the way with Flint as its largest manufacturing center. An M-18 "Hellcat" tank destroyer (which looks like a tank) built by Buick during the war was recently restored for the Sloan Museum's collection.

8. Atwood Stadium - Now primarily the home for Flint's high school football teams, the stadium dedicated in 1929 has hosted minor league baseball, a world championship boxing match (Jock Leslie vs. Willie Pep, 1947) and a 1960 presidential campaign stop by John F. Kennedy. British rockers the Who played there (see No. 85) with Herman's Hermits in 1967, and "march king" John Philip Sousa conducted local bands there in 1930. Attendance for the annual Northern-Central Thanksgiving Day football matchup - a beloved tradition that ended in 1976 - peaked in 1950 at 20,600. Atwood closed in 1992, its artificial turf ruled unsafe. It reopened in 1995, but fundraising for needed improvements has been slow going.

9. AutoWorld - Few will admit it now, but it must have seemed like a good idea at the time. Flint's infamous $80-million indoor theme park opened in 1984, combining a huge new dome and the stately original IMA (No. 76) Auditorium. Features included a gigantic model of a car engine, a river running through a recreated old-time downtown Flint (sound like fun yet?) and entertainers, food, rides and displays. Hopes for tourism dollars and downtown's survival rested with the project. It flopped - rapidly, spectacularly and publicly (seen in "Roger & Me," the film by Michael Moore, No. 100). It closed for the first time in 1986, took a few dying gasps, shut down permanently in 1991 and was demolished in '97. The University of Michigan-Flint (No. 26) erected the White building on the site.

10. Balkan

Bakery - Peter Stareff, originally from Macedonia, took over the bakery on St. John Street (No. 128) in 1932 and built it into a Flint institution. Now at 1325 W. Dayton St., it continues to turn out its famous Mother's Bread - a hearty white variety, unsliced - in its waxed-paper wrapper with the 1920s-looking label. Stareff died in 1973.

11. 1953 Beecher tornado - The twister hit June 8, killing 116 people and destroying hundreds of buildings as it scoured a path just north of the city across most of Genesee and Lapeer counties. It didn't strike Flint, but reaction here helped define the community's can-do spirit in the 1950s. As hundreds pitched in, even Charles Stewart Mott (No. 102), then in his late 70s, was assigned as a carpenter's helper. Praise and awards for the lightning-speed rebuilding effort came from Look magazine and the Freedoms Foundation and included the National Civic League naming Flint its "All-American City" in 1954.

12. Berston Field House - Opened in 1923 and still operating, Berston is historically known as the first activity center to cater to blacks in Flint and as an informal training ground for the city's pro basketball players. It's also been synonymous with amateur boxing. The late boxing trainer Floyd Fielder said more eventual Golden Gloves champs trained at Berston than anyplace else in the state. It housed the Greater Flint Afro-American Hall of Fame (now at the Flint Public Library) and was designated a Michigan historic site in 2001.

13. Big John Steak & Onion - John Klobucar's Croatian immigrant family moved to Flint in 1929 during the Great Depression. Living on Flint's east side, Klobucar graduated from Central High School in the 1940s. In 1955, he opened Johnny's Cross Road Pizza and Barbecue. A trip to Florida gave him the idea to market his own brand of the Philly cheese steak hoagies that he had enjoyed there. So in 1972, Big John Steak & Onion was born. That's Klobucar on the logo at the chain's 10 locations.

Trivia time ... Big John himself is 5-foot-10.

14. Bishop Airport - Arthur Giles Bishop was a banker and General Motors vice president. The airport he founded with S.S. Stewart, formally opened in 1934, has grown from 220 acres to 1,580. Revamped and expanded in the 1990s, Bishop in 2004 carried more than 1 million customers for the first time in its history and was one of the fastest-growing airports in the country.

15. Buick - It would be hard to overstate the legacy of the Scottish plumber whose first claim to fame was a process for adhering enamel to cast iron - as in bathtubs and sinks. David Dunbar Buick sold his plumbing business in 1899 and started making engines. One thing led to another and he wound up in Flint, where James H. Whiting, head of Flint Wagon Works, wanted to get into the automobile biz but didn't have an engine. Buick did. The first Buick car - a chassis with no body - proved itself with a round-trip to Detroit in July 1904. Once commercial production began, Buick, the man, worked on engine development with collaborator Walter Marr in Flint, but left in 1908 and drifted to various jobs. He died in Detroit in 1929. Buick, the company, stayed in Flint - "the Buick City," where nearly half of all 20th-century Buicks were made - until 1999, when GM consolidated its divisions in Detroit. The last Flint-made Buick was a 1999 LeSabre signed by workers and donated to the Sloan Museum and Buick Gallery.

Extras ... For more of the story, check out "The Buick: A Complete History," by Lawrence R. Gustin and Terry B. Dunham, or the just-published "A Place Called Buick," by Don Bent, available at the Sloan Museum.

16. Chris Byrd - He hails from a family of boxers headed by his father and trainer, Joe. Four brothers and a sister have fought professionally. But Chris - IBF world heavyweight champion since 2002 - is the most successful. At 11, he won a national Silver Gloves championship. He earned a spot on the 1992 Olympic team, which was coached by his father, and captured the silver medal in the middleweight division at Barcelona that summer. He turned pro in '93 and moved up to the more popular heavyweight division. He won his first 26 pro fights. Known as one of boxing's "good guys," Byrd was active in New Trinity Baptist Church in Mt. Morris Township before he moved to Las Vegas with wife Tracy and children Jordan, Justin and Sydney in 2002.


17. CANUSA Games - When President Eisenhower prodded the country's youth to get in shape, the Flint Olympian Games arose as a national model. The program's 80-mile torch relay run to Flint from the border-spanning Blue Water Bridge served as a challenge for a Canadian city to take on Flint in Olympic-style competition. Hamilton, Ontario, answered the call. The CANUSA Games were born in 1958 and continue today, alternating locations each year. Hamilton won the first matchup but hasn't led in wins since. Flint won in several of the sports including basketball last month in Hamilton but did not capture the CANUSA Cup - Hamilton won nine sports to Flint's six. Meanwhile, the 49th annual Flint Olympian Games took place in July.

18. Capitol Theatre - One ceiling was designed after the outer vestibule of St. Peter's cathedral in Rome, and the sides of the auditorium recreate views of buildings - with niches, doors, arches and balconies - evoking old Italy. Stars and clouds deck the main ceiling. Leaves you wondering how the movies could have measured up. The Capitol - opened just before "talkies" in 1928 and also home to live theater and stage shows over the years - has been unused since 1996, when punk, rap and heavy metal concerts there ended. Experts have advised that the Capitol become a performing arts center, and say only a handful of such so-called "atmospheric" theaters remain across the country. A grant paid for repairs and neon sign restoration this year.

19. Carriages - They're the reason Flint was "Vehicle City" by the turn of the 20th century. Carriage building here started around the 1870s, when lumber (No. 86) was on the wane. The Randall Carriage Factory on N. Saginaw Street was likely the first, but others included W.A. Paterson and industry leaders Flint Wagon Works and Durant-Dort (yes, that Durant and that Dort). Randall's factory set the tone for a successful handoff from carriages to cars when A.B.C. Hardy used it in 1902 to build his Flint Roadster (No. 57), the first car manufactured in Flint. The era ended in 1917 with the last big "drive away" of carriages to market.

20. Celebrities - Entertainers known far and wide? We can claim a few, including:


Sandra Bernhard: The New York Times called her acclaimed 1998 one-woman Broadway hit, "I'm Still Here ... Damn It!" an "angst-driven, foul-mouthed, poison-laced joy ride that banks and careens frenetically through the worlds of fashion, celebrity, rock, and religion." Whew! The full-lipped, firebrand comic's latest partly musical show, "Hero Worship," was called a post-9/11 declaration that irony survived the 2001 attacks. Bernhard has also done movies, TV (including the role of Nancy on ABC's "Roseanne") and books. Of Flint, where she was raised in a posh west-side tri-level, she told The Flint Journal in 1991: "I would be nostalgic for the Flint that I left when I was 10 years old. I don't think that place exists anywhere anymore. It was free of the fear (and) paranoia that parents have about their children in this era."


Billie Blair: One of People magazine's 25 most intriguing people of 1974, she attained supermodel status and the admiration of top fashion designers. Two decades ago, she got noticed for shaving her head as an act of personal freedom. Blair interrupted nursing studies in Flint in 1972 for a whirlwind trip to New York City as a free-lance model to be featured in a Detroit Free Press fashion section. By her third day there, she knew she was staying. And after that career? She returned to Flint in 1996 to work as a minister with Abundant Life Ministries International in Flint Township. She's now a nurse (at last) and lives in the Midland area, a relative told The Flint Journal.


Dee Dee Bridgewater: She was 3-year-old Denise when her family moved from Memphis, Tenn., to Flint. Her jazz-loving father used to take her to local clubs to sing when she was still underage. After graduating from Southwestern High School in 1968 and going to college, she moved to New York and by the early '70s was working with the likes of Dizzy Gillespie and other jazz titans. She cut pop albums, which never really took off, and tried theater, which did: A Tony Award-winning turn as Glinda the Good Witch in "The Wiz" launched a career that took her to England and France in the '80s. Moving to France in 1985, Bridgewater returned to jazz. She won a Grammy in 1998 for Best Jazz Vocal Performance and in 1999 became an ambassador to the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization. She hosts National Public Radio's "JazzSet With Dee Dee Bridgewater" and has a new CD, fittingly titled "This Is New."


Bob Eubanks: Born in Flint, the "Newlywed Game" host moved to California at age 2. He started his career as a radio disc jockey and concert promoter before hosting the game show starting in 1966. An off-color joke he told Michael Moore (No. 100) in Moore's film "Roger & Me" brought him less flattering attention in 1989. He now promotes himself as a motivational and humorous keynote speaker and banquet emcee and can be seen daily on Sony's Game Show Network.


Nancy (Kovack) Mehta: Miss Flint 1955 grew up on Flint's west side. She had a University of Michigan scholarship offer by age 14, but studied at Flint Junior College (now Mott Community College, see No. 26) for two years because her mom wouldn't let her leave home. At 18, she graduated from UM and planned to be a biology researcher - when a chance visit to New York City landed her a part on the "Jackie Gleason Show." She starred in 14 films in the 1960s, including "Frankie and Johnny" with Elvis Presley and "The Outlaws Is Coming!" with the Three Stooges. She gave up her career in 1969 when she married world-renowned symphony conductor Zubin Mehta. By 1999 (when she gave the commencement address at MCC) she had eight homes - seven in California and one in Italy - as part of her business of renting furnished homes to visitors.


Michael Moore: Keep reading. He has his own entry (No. 100).

21. Chevrolet - The GM division's story in Flint played out in a fast-developing industrial complex - now demolished (see River Town, No. 117) - along the Flint River on the city's west side. Chevy helped attract Fisher Body here in the 1920s and led to the construction of the Van Slyke/Bristol Road factories and the Chevrolet parts warehouse (now GM's Service Parts Operations) in Swartz Creek. The division got its start when Billy Durant (No. 39) - frustrated at being bumped from the top of GM leadership in 1910 - went to a Buick race driver named Louis Chevrolet who had expressed an interest in building his own car. The two created the Chevrolet Motor Co., giving Durant a platform to take back control of GM. In less than a decade, Chevy passed Buick in sales. The last Flint-built Chevy car was a Caprice assembled at Buick City in 1983. The Flint Truck Plant continues to turn out Chevy trucks.

22. Chippewas - At a council with Michigan's territorial governor in 1819, the Chippewa tribe of American Indians sold the lands of the Flint, Shiawassee, Saginaw, Tittabawassee and Cass rivers, the only concession being that they could stay on the land until settlers displaced them. This was land the Chippewas had won in warfare with the Sauks, who had been driven into Wisconsin. Chippewa legends told of battles against the Sauks along the Flint River, the dead being buried in mounds from Flint to Flushing, and local folklore (recalled in the 1960s in Edmund Love's "The Situation In Flushing") held that the woods were haunted by the dead Sauks. With American Indians a small local minority now, the Genesee Valley Indian Association provides programs including aid, genealogy research, cultural awareness and an annual pow-wow.

23. Cigars - Forget carriages and cars. Flint had a booming cigar manufacturing industry from the late 1800s until the early '20s - with cigar-makers among top wage-earners, making up to $20 a week (trust us, that was a lot) at the turn of the 20th century. In 1899, eight Flint companies hand-rolled some 4.6 million cigars. Local suppliers included tobacco brokers and a cigar box factory.

24. Citizens Bank - Home of the light-up Weather Ball (No. 144) atop its downtown headquarters, Citizens formed in 1871, during Flint's lumber era (No. 86). The bank's founders included the owners of four local mills - J.B. Atwood, J.W. Begole, William Hamilton and Alexander McFarlan - whose names now are affixed to local streets, parks and a stadium. And while we're name dropping, the bank's first president was William M. Fenton (No. 45), a Flintite for whom Fenton was named; James H. Whiting (as in The Whiting) became a director in 1880; founder Begole went on to be Michigan's governor from 1883-84; and Arthur Sarvis (Sarvis Center) became a board member in 1927. Back in 1886, the bank launched the industrial career of Billy Durant (No. 39) with a $2,000 business loan (approved by Robert J. Whaley) for a new Flint firm started by Durant and J. Dallas Dort. It become the industry-leading Durant-Dort Carriage Co. These days, the bank is worth $7.83 billion and has 181 branches corporation-wide in Michigan and Wisconsin.

25. Civic Park - On 400 empty acres in west Flint, what some call the nation's first planned subdivision arose in 1919: 1,000 slate-roofed two-story houses put up in one year by ... General Motors? Yup. Flint in the early decades of auto industry growth couldn't supply houses for workers fast enough, so GM stepped in big time, building five sawmills on-site, laying rail spurs through alleyways to supply materials and putting up bunkhouses and barbershops for up to 4,600 workers. Today, the neighborhood is protected as a local historic district and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

26. Colleges - Some may think it's overreaching to call Flint a college town, but the numbers are there: more than 20,000 students. Here's a look at Flint's four major higher-learning institutions:


Baker College: Motivated by the booming auto industry in Flint, Eldon E. Baker in 1911 founded Baker Business University. It would become part of a group of similar schools around the state. In 1986, Baker Junior College became Baker College of Flint, and in 1994 it offered its first graduate degree, a master's of business administration with a concentration in leadership studies. There are now Baker campuses or programs in more than a dozen Michigan communities, plus online offerings. Fall 2005-06 enrollment in Flint is 6,034 students, with about 500 living in recently built campus housing.


Kettering University: Charles F. "Boss" Kettering - the innovator behind Delco labs and the electric starter - was dissatisfied with the engineering schools of his day that focused more on theory and less on experience. So the industrial night school he founded in Flint in 1919 took a different approach: alternating classroom time with on-the-job experience. GM named it General Motors Institute in 1926, and so it was until 1982, when - as GM reduced its Flint operations - the company and the university became separate entities. In 1998, the school changed its name to Kettering University. The university's industrial and manufacturing engineering program remains No. 1 in the annual U.S. News & World Report ranking of colleges and universities nationwide. Fall 2006-06 enrollment is 2,391.


Mott Community College: In 1923, the Flint school board established Flint Junior College for the benefit of local residents. In 1950, Charles Stewart Mott (No. 102) gave $1 million to develop it into a four-year institution. William Ballenger Sr. left a trust of several million dollars that paid for top-quality instructors, and Mott then donated land and money for a campus. In 1969, county voters converted Flint Junior College into Genesee Community College. When Mott died in 1973, the college was renamed for him. In 1991, MCC helped establish Mott Middle College, a nationally recognized program for at-risk but talented area high school students. In 2003, MCC opened the Regional Technology Center on the site of the old St. Joseph Hospital (No. 129). Extension centers operate in Howell and Clio, and other community technology centers in Flint help bridge the "digital divide." Fall 2005-06 enrollment is 10,034.

University of Michigan-Flint: It all began in 1944, when the Flint school board requested that a UM Extension Office open in Flint. Key area citizens, already planning a cultural center (No. 49), were interested in higher education in the community. Three years later, UM regents explored the possibilities in a study that called for a four-year liberal arts college in Flint. A two-year senior college (located on what's now Mott Community College's campus) opened in 1956 and in 1964 became the first four-year UM program outside of Ann Arbor. The university acquired its present downtown site along the Flint River in 1971. It dramatically expanded across the river in 2002 with the William S. White classroom and office building. With enrollment slumping in recent years (but up this year), long-sought student housing appears to be on track - likely a private development off campus. Fall 2005-06 enrollment is 6,422.

27. Community

education - It is said that nearly every community education program now in place across the nation can trace its roots to the Flint program started by Frank Manley. Phys-ed supervisor for Flint schools, Manley in the summer of 1934 put teachers to work supervising summer recreation programs at Flint parks and school playgrounds - and found the number of accidents involving children plunged, at a time when drownings in the Flint River and traffic accidents involving kids had been high. To Manley, it proved that if school facilities stayed open to the community - not just during the school year, but after classes and through summers - everyone would benefit. In the fall of 1935, Charles Stewart Mott (No. 102) put up $6,000, and suddenly thousands of adults and kids could play volleyball and basketball, skate, learn to dance or play cards, participate in music ensembles or hobby clubs, take art classes and more. The country took notice. "They have done a remarkable job of coordinating in Flint," first lady Eleanor Roosevelt wrote about the program that fall. Frank Manley died in 1972.

28. Corvette - We have dibs on the first ones made. Three hundred early units of "America's sports car" - each polo white with a red interior - were almost completely hand-built here in 1953, at a small building (demolished in 2003) north of what is now the Flint Truck Plant. Regular production moved to General Motors' St. Louis, Mo., assembly plant in 1954. One Flint-built 'Vette is on display at the Sloan Museum.

29. Henry Howland Crapo - First, it's pronounced CRAY-po - not, you know, the other way. He was a lumber guy who strategically chose Flint instead of booming Saginaw when he set up shop in 1855. Success led to him being mayor, a state senator and then governor from 1864-66. There are Crapo Streets in Flint, Swartz Creek and Highland Township in Oakland County, to the frustration of those who live on them and are forever correcting the pronunciation.

Trivia time ... The "C" in William C. "Billy" Durant comes from Durant's grandpa - you guessed it - Henry Crapo. Also, Winchester Village subdivision in Swartz Creek was built in 1955 on the site of the Crapo family farm.

30. The Crim - Bobby Crim, a Davison Democrat who was then speaker of the state House, started the 10-mile run through Flint in 1977 (when 700 runners participated) to raise money for the Michigan Special Olympics. In its first 11 years, Crim's 10-mile race generated more than $1 million for mentally and physically impaired athletes. Now, it's the Crim Fitness Foundation, a nonprofit organization that draws thousands of participants including world-class athletes to runs and walks centered on downtown every August. This year's 10-miler attracted more than 7,000 runners, and a successful race training program just morphed into a year-round drive for healthy lifestyles called CrimFit. Get set: Crim No. 30 is just 11 months

away.

31. Crooks Studio - If Arthur F. Crooks hadn't started his commercial photography business in Flint in 1914, looking back at Flint history might be a lot harder today. As Flint's leading commercial photographer, the studio captured history in countless pictures of area buildings, events and groups through the 1960s (Crooks died in 1933 and his nephew Kenneth Wallace Sr. took over). More than 8,000 Crooks photographs and negatives documenting local business, industry, institutions, and private citizens are now collected in Kettering University's Scharchburg Archives.

32. Harlow H. Curtice - He yanked Buick from the brink of financial disaster during the 1930s and remained a Flint resident when he was president of General Motors from 1954-58. By twice making the cover of Time magazine - including as Man of the Year in 1956 - he added to Flint's stature in the "fabulous '50s."
Curtis - He worked at Fisher Body in Flint for 13 years after graduating from Southwestern High School in 1972. Not until later did he start writing. Curtis got good reviews in 1996 for his book "The Watsons Go to Birmingham - 1963," the tale of a black family's journey from Flint to Alabama during the civil rights movement. But it was his second novel, "Bud, Not Buddy," that brought widespread recognition. The book chronicled a 10-year-old Flint boy's search for his father during the Depression. Another book, "Bucking the Sarge," is set in contemporary Flint. Curtis lives in Windsor, Ontario. "I never imagined I'd be back here in Flint talking about books I'd written," he said on a visit in 2002. "If you have a dream, you've got to follow it."

By the way ... Plenty of Flintites have followed the dream of successful authorship. Among them:


Flint-born Jon Scieszka, author of "The True Story of the Three Little Pigs" and "Stinky Cheeseman and Other Fairly Stupid Tales."


Flint-born E. Lynn Harris, author of seven bestsellers including "Invisible Life" and "A Love of My Own" and memoir "What Becomes of the Broken Hearted."


The late Dr. Elliot Marshall Goldberg, for 20 years director of medical education at Hurley Medical Center, author of 18 medical novels including bestseller "The Karmanov Equations."


Children's author Ruth White, who lived in Flint for only a year when she was 13, before homesickness led her back to Virginia. But the time here inspired her 2000 novel "Memories of Summer." Her 1997 book "Belle Prater's Boy" won a Newbery Medal.


Then there was Flint native David D. Smyers, convicted criminal and author of "The Hustler's Handbook." He came to Flint in 2003 ostensibly to scout locations and hold auditions for a planned film of his life story - then left town after selling books, CDs and videos to local people who dreamed of being on the big screen. His $2,000 check to cover the cost of renting space in City Hall bounced.
Post Mon Sep 19, 2005 9:59 am 
 View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website Yahoo Messenger  Reply with quote  
Steve Myers
Site Admin
Site Admin

34. Dayton Family - Not really a family, but Flint's original hardcore rappers, named for Dayton Street. Members have included Ira "Bootleg" Dorsey, Eric "Ghetto E" Dorsey, Raheen "Shoestring" Peterson and Matt Hinkel. Legal troubles have dogged some - maybe not too surprising for a group that established a following 15 years ago with a five-song tape about selling crack cocaine and killing police officers. Its second release, "What's On Your Mind," sold more than 140,000 copies and reached No. 42 on the national charts. A 2005 release, "Family Feud," was recorded in Flint at Bernard Terry's Silversun Studios and in New York.

By the way ... First to bust out of Flint's underground rap scene was MC Breed, scoring a gold single in 1991 with "Ain't No Future in Yo' Frontin' "

35. Alexis De Tocqueville - The French intellectual came to the United States in 1831 to study the country's prisons but ended up writing the much broader and still-famous treatise, "Democracy in America." He and friend Gustave de Beaumont passed through Flint when it was nothing more than two or three cabins on the wilderness riverbank. The pair were traveling north on the Saginaw Trail, hoping to find Indians. They arrived here after dark and were surprised to find a black bear chained outside John and Polly Todd's tavern. "What a devil of a country this is, where one has bears for watchdogs," de Tocqueville remarked.

36. Andre Dirrell - The then-20-year-old middleweight traveled halfway around the world to put Flint in the world spotlight in 2004. Dirrell kept area sports fans glued to their television sets during the Summer Olympics in Athens and returned home to a hero's welcome after capturing a bronze medal. Dirrell has four technical knockouts in a 5-0 record since turning professional in January along with his brother, Anthony.

37. Mildred Doran - In 1927, the young Flint aviator was one of 10 to die during a California-to-Honolulu airplane race - a trek that would have made her the first woman to cross the Pacific in a plane. Doran was lost at sea along with pilot Augie Pedlar, who taught flying in Flint, and their navigator. An extensive Navy search for them and another crew turned up no trace of the planes. Only two planes of the original field of 15 landed in Hawaii. Some never got off the ground. Doran's doomed adventure originated at a small airfield at Saginaw and Maple roads in Grand Blanc Township, where an unusual, windmill-shaped building called Doran Tower went up in her memory. It was razed in 1973.

38. The Rev. Norman A. DuKette - In 1929, he founded Flint's only predominantly black Catholic parish - Christ the King - and was for decades the only black priest in the 10-county

Diocese of

Lansing. The Washington, D.C., native had been transferred from Detroit where he founded a parish in 1927. In Flint, he held his first Mass with four people in a parishioner's home. Christ the King dedicated a new building with a 325-person sanctuary in 2002. A Catholic school in Flint also bears DuKette's name. He died in 1980 at age 88.

39. William C. "Billy" Durant - He was "Flint's wizard," a promoter, salesman, risk-taker and visionary (though maybe not too astute a bottom-line businessman) who beat the odds and turned a successful carriage business into what would become the world's largest automaker, General Motors (No. 65). When Buick (No. 15) was in its infancy, and in debt, Durant - then treasurer of his Durant-Dort Carriage Co. - was persuaded in 1904 that Buick's product would be a "self-seller" like the road cart that he had promoted into a multimillion-dollar business over two decades. He set up operations in Flint and Jackson, was placed in control of the company and, fatefully, convinced local banks to finance a huge complex on the old Hamilton farm just north of the city. It would be Buick's home for nearly the entire 20th century. In 1905, he went to the New York Auto Show and took orders for 1,500 Buicks - before the firm had built 40. Walter P. Chrysler (yes, that Chrysler) once said of Durant, "He could charm a bird right down out of a tree." By 1908, Durant had switched from being the largest-volume producer of horse-drawn vehicles to being the largest manufacturer of automobiles. He negotiated with other major automakers and incorporated GM, which bought up Buick and Oldsmobile. In 1909-10, he corraled more than 30 companies into GM, including Cadillac, Oakland (later Pontiac), AC Spark Plug (No. 2) and the forerunners of GMC. The bankers behind him got nervous, though, and cut off his funds, throwing his automotive operations into limbo until he agreed to cede control of GM while remaining a board member. In that capacity, he courted Louis Chevrolet on the side to form the Chevrolet Motor Co. in Detroit and teamed with other associates to create the Little and Mason car companies in Flint. He moved Chevy to Flint two years later, in 1913. With Chevy as his financial base, he gained enough GM stock to resume partial control of the corporation in 1915 and became its president a year later. GM prospered, but Durant shocked observers when he abruptly resigned, having gone into debt trying to keep up the price of GM stock. He later said he lost his personal fortune of $90 million. His last stab at automotive success came just weeks later as he formed Durant Motors, building a factory on S. Saginaw Street in 1923 to build an auto called the Flint. But the firm soon ran into money problems, and the plant was sold to GM in 1925 and became Fisher Body No. 1. Durant ended his working years running a bowling alley, North Flint Recreation, on N. Saginaw Street near the Buick complex. He had big plans (naturally) to take the operation nationwide, but his time and health ran out. After a stroke in 1942, he moved to New York City, where he died in 1947 at age 85.

By the way ... In addition to those who get their due elsewhere on the list, here are some of the biggest Flint names in the early automotive industry:
William S. Ballenger: The co-founder of General Motors was the first treasurer of Buick and Chevrolet.


Walter P. Chrysler: A president of Buick, he resigned in 1919 and created Chrysler Corp.


J. Dallas Dort: Durant's carriage company partner and a director and vice president of Chevrolet in 1912, he and Durant cut business ties in 1915. His Dort automobile ended production in 1924. He was also a driving force behind the Flint parks system. (The "J" was for Josiah.)


Charles Nash: Co-founder of Buick Motor Co. with David Buick and Durant, he later created Nash Motors.


William A. Paterson: The carriage builder who created the Paterson automobile, built until 1923, also served as Flint mayor.


Alfred P. Sloan Jr.: Sloan Museum is named for the longtime president and, later, chairman of General Motors (1923-56).


James H. Whiting: His Flint Wagon Works bought Buick in 1903 and brought it to Flint to make engines.

40. Durant Hotel - When it was built 85 years ago, it was the city's biggest and grandest hotel, named for Billy Durant (No. 39), founder of General Motors. Coincidentally, it's where Durant himself in 1942 suffered the stroke from which he never fully recovered. The hotel closed in 1973. Now, you could say it's a fitting symbol of both the hopes and frustrations centered on downtown. Yet another plan - the latest of many - was announced this year to convert the Durant into housing, with shops on the first floor, as the hotel had when it opened in 1920. Meanwhile, the eight-story brick building sits as it has for years: with its first floor boarded up and its upper-level windows open to the elements.

41. Margarette F. Eby - For years the city's most shocking murder mystery was the gruesome slaying of Eby, 55, a former University of Michigan-Flint provost found Nov. 9, 1986, with her throat slashed in her second-floor gatehouse bedroom of Applewood (No. 5), the estate owned by the richest family in Flint, the Motts (No. 102). A socialite worth an estimated half-million dollars, Eby was among the city's upper crust and leader of the successful Basically Bach Festival in Flint. Not until 2002 would the crime be solved, when police arrested sprinkler maintenance man Jeffrey W. Gorton of Vienna Township, based on a single smeared fingerprint from the meticulously cleaned crime scene. Gorton now is serving life sentences for Eby's murder and the 1991 slaying of an airline flight attendant in Romulus.

42. Sarah Emma Edmonds - She fought in the Civil War - a soldier, field nurse, mail carrier and Union spy with the 2nd Michigan Volunteer Infantry Regiment, Company F, in four campaigns - as "Pvt. Franklin Thompson." Yup, you read that right. In spy mode, she'd "disguise" herself as ... a woman
By the way ... Flint was also home to William B. McCreery, a lawyer and Civil War soldier (and future mayor) who won fame for his part in the daring 1864 escape of 109 soldiers by tunnel from a Confederate prison. Both he and Edmonds wrote books about their experiences.

43. Factory whistle - From the early factory days, the Buick factory whistle loudly punctuated each day in Flint with blasts that prompted people to push up their shirt sleeves and confirm the hour - the town ran on Buick time. By 1960, when Jerry Rideout started a radio show on WKMF-AM (1610), beamed to Buick employees on their way to work, it was only natural to call it the Buick Factory Whistle. The radio program proved so popular that an afternoon segment was added. Bill Lamb hosted it, and it ran for 20 years, carrying music, local news and factory worker interviews. The actual factory whistle was silenced when the original Buick powerhouse was torn down in 1972. It's now on display at the Sloan Museum.

44. Farmers' Market - The depot-style building put up by the Depression-era Works Progress Administration on East Boulevard Drive is the only year-round, open-air, multiple-vendor farm market in Genesee County and holds a place in many area residents' hearts. Its fading fortunes began to turn around in 2002, when the city turned over operations to the nonprofit Uptown Reinvestment Corp. Renovations and new programs have boosted the market's appeal and success since then.

45. William M. Fenton - The guy Fenton was named for also made a name for himself in Flint. Col. Fenton (he served in the Civil War) came to town as a businessman but went on to be much more: Flint mayor, state senator, lieutenant governor and unsuccessful candidate for governor - against Henry Crapo (No. 29). In 1867, when he was chief engineer for the fire department, Flint's first steam fire engine was named for him. When answering a fire call one night in 1871, Fenton slammed into a hitching post and died of his injuries the next day.

46. Fire! - Of course there have been innumerable blazes in Flint, especially in the city's early years, but a few conflagrations stand out:


Michigan School for the Deaf (No. 97): Staff safely evacuated all 290 students from the huge main building as flames devoured it in a spectacular 1912 fire kindled by a lightning strike. The ruins smoldered for days.


Dresden Hotel: The aged brick building, by then renamed the Adams, burned in 1963. Journal photographer Barry Edmonds captured a memorable shot of the downtown inferno as a wall tumbled into the flames. Two people died in the fire.


Civic Park Elementary School: Fire destroyed all but the shell of it in March 1972, but it was rebuilt and reopened by December.


Devil's Night: On Oct. 30, 1989, 194 emergency calls flooded the city's 911 center as houses, cars and piles of leaves went up in an arson spree that threatened to become an annual plague. The city responded with more firefighters and cops, and received lots of extra eyes and ears from community volunteers. The efforts appear to have paid off in recent years, which have seen no spike in fires on the night before Halloween.


Truck explosion: A propane tanker truck plunged three stories off an I-69 exit ramp shortly before midnight on Jan. 29, 2003, after its driver suffered a heart attack. The tanker erupted in a fireball so hot it warped the expressway overpass. A WJRT (Channel 12) remote camera happened to capture the explosion, which rocketed the tank more than 200 feet down railroad tracks, where it narrowly missed four above-ground tanks holding 60,000 gallons of diesel fuel.
Truck explosion: A propane tanker truck plunged three stories off an I-69 exit ramp shortly before midnight on Jan. 29, 2003, after its driver suffered a heart attack. The tanker erupted in a fireball so hot it warped the expressway overpass. A WJRT (Channel 12) remote camera happened to capture the explosion, which rocketed the tank more than 200 feet down railroad tracks, where it narrowly missed four above-ground tanks holding 60,000 gallons of diesel fuel.

47. "Firsts" - Every community has its racial pioneers. Here, listed chronologically, are some of Flint's:


John Carter: First black man named in local census (1840).


Dr. John W. Moore: First black male doctor (1919).


Archie Parks: First black police officer (1931).


Lois E. VanZandt and Marion L. Williams: First black schoolteachers (1942-43).


Floyd J. McCree (No. 91): First black on City Commission (1958); also first black mayor (1966).


Dr. Vivian Lewis: First black female doctor (1959).


T. Wendell Williams: First black member of school board (1963).


Ollie B. Bivins: First black municipal judge (1968).

Helen R. Harris: First black woman on school board (1971).


James A. Sharp Jr.: First popularly elected black mayor (1983).


Nathel Burtley: First black superintendent of schools (1988).


Clinton B. Jones: First black chancellor of University of Michigan-Flint (1984).

48. Flint brews - Care for a local beer with that local cigar? There was a time when both were an option. Local breweries early in the 20th century included Flint Bottling, Flint Brewing Co., Flint City Bottling Works, Putnam Brewery, Flint Hill Brewing and others, making beer, cider, ginger ale, root beer and soda water. Labels included Michigan Club, D.R. Premier, White Seal, Dailey, Kling's, Schuper, Kings Tavern Ale and Viking.

49. Flint Cultural Center - Influential Flint Journal Editor Michael

Gorman (No. 52) was tight with philanthropist, politician and GM vice president Charles Stewart Mott (No. 102) and a group of community leaders. They met often in Gorman's home on Calumet Street, in a basement dubbed "Club Calumet," dreaming big dreams about their city. Their vision led to the creation of what is now the University of Michigan-Flint, Mott Community College and the Flint Cultural Center. By 1957, their fundraising on behalf of the College and Cultural Center development brought in $16 million from the community, including $3 million from GM and $25,000 from Gorman himself. The "Center of it All" now includes Bower Theater, the Buick Gallery, DeWaters Art Center, Dort Music Center, the Flint Public Library, Longway Planetarium, Sarvis Center, the Sloan Museum, the White Center and The Whiting.

50. Flint Film Festival - It began last year and returned this summer a little bit bigger, bringing 25 hours of independent cinema from around the world to the Regional Technology Center at Mott Community College. Collectively, the Greater Flint Arts Council and MCC are behind it, but it's really a labor of love for area filmmakers and others in the arts community. Celebrating the movies may not be a stretch for an area that's sparked several film careers (see Nos. 20, 73, 100).

51. Flint Generals - They joined the International Hockey League for the 1969-70 season, skating into the new IMA (No. 76) Sports Arena (now Perani Arena). And despite a slow start and a dreadful record early on, owner Frank Gallagher's team averaged 3,428 in attendance its first year. Minor league hockey hit a rough patch in the late '80s but has missed just one season since its start here. The Generals won the 1996 Colonial Cup.

Trivia time ... Robbie Nichols, who just stepped down, is the team's winningest coach, with a 261-150-40 (.623) record.

53. Flint Junior Golf Association - Journal sports writer Willis J. "Speed" Oldfield started the FJGA in 1939, and it now puts nearly 2,200 boys and girls on area golf courses during the summer - the oldest and largest program of its kind in the nation. Sports writer Dean Howe calls the association the best youth sports program in Flint history "by a landslide."

54. Flint Local 432 - Take a small group of devoted volunteers, stir in word of mouth, fliers and a Web site to promote shows, keep the admission price low, pay the band from the door and get the kids out before midnight. Big-time Flint booster Joel Rash has used this recipe for the booze-free, smoke-free Local 432 teen concert club for 10 years - an outgrowth of shows he promoted as a teenager in the late 1980s at the Capitol Theatre (No. 1Cool. The Local has incubated young talent (mostly punk, metal and alternative) including Kid Brother Collective, May/June, Chiodos and South Bay Bessie, and national acts including Detroit's Suicide Machines have played there. The club got unwelcome notice last year when a visiting guitarist got naked on stage - understandable, perhaps, since he had just set his thong underwear on fire. Management ordered the band out. The Local is currently moving into its own building at 124 W. First St.

55. Flint Park - The city's most expansive amusement facility - let's not bring up AutoWorld (No. 9) - entertained guests with a roller coaster, skating rink, dance hall, bumper cars and more from 1913-61 on 36 acres along Flint Park Lake (Devil's Lake to some). Among entertainers who performed there was jazz vocal legend Ella Fitzgerald.

By the way ... Across town was Lakeside Park, nine acres on Thread Lake (No. 133) with a half-mile roller coaster, hot-air balloon rides and a mini-auto racetrack. It closed in the late '30s. Both parks have long since been dismantled.

56. Flint River - Local Indian tribes fished it for sturgeon and salmon, built their homes along its shores and easily navigated its usually slow- to moderate-paced waters. The Chippewa (No. 22) named it Pewonigowink, or "river of the flint" (as in stones). It twists and turns for 45 miles through Genesee County, with Flint established at its "grand traverse" - a wide point where the river was easy to cross. In the lumber era (No. 86) starting in the 1850s, the river was used to transport logs - the beginnings of the river's use and misuse for industry. Polluted and largely ignored for decades in the 20th century - except during the occasional catastrophic flood (No. 61), the river has enjoyed a recent renaissance, with regular volunteer cleanups, more frequent canoers and kayakers, and new events such as the annual Flushing Walleye Festival. And at Riverbank Park, pedal-powered boats will ply the waters during next weekend's sesquicentennial Homecoming - surely some of the first downtown boating in a long time.

57. Flint Roadster - It was the first car manufactured in the city. Its maker, Alexander Brownell Cullen Hardy (but you can call him A.B.C.) was interim president of the Durant-Dort Carriage Co. until he became convinced in 1901 that automobiles were the next big thing. He formed his Flint Automotive Co. in 1902, but was able to build only 52 cars before getting into financial trouble. One of only two or three known surviving Flint Roadsters is at the Sloan Museum.

58. Flint Symphony Orchestra - A starched-collar institution for a blue-collar town? Well, sort of. The 76-piece FSO, established in 1917, owes part of its enduring appeal to innovative programming including Family Concerts hosted by local TV personalities at high school auditoriums, Music in the Parks summer concerts and Christmastime performances in the Holiday Pops and Nutcracker ballet shows. A program called The PIT brings more than 150 students to every concert. The FSO is headed by music director and conductor Maestro Enrique Diemecke.

59. Flint Technical High School - For 20 fondly remembered years, 1939-59, Flint Tech turned out graduates prepared for futures in business, industry and skilled trades - and fiercely true to their no-frills school. Alumni say Tech was the original specialized "magnet school," preparing a relatively small, select number of high school students through hands-on classes as well as academic courses. Judging by Flint Journal articles and letters to the editor over the years, there's hardly a Tech graduate around who doesn't lament the school's closing in 1959.

60. Flintstones - Four Flint men playing hoops for Michigan State University gave their city a moment in the sun. Mateen Cleaves, Morris Peterson, Antonio Smith and Charlie Bell became unofficial ambassadors for Flint, talking up their hometown and displaying their "Flint'' tattoos for news cameras. Cleaves, Peterson and Bell led the Spartans to the 2000 NCAA championship. Smith left MSU after the 1998-99 season.

By the way ... When it comes to basketball in Flint, the lists go on and on. A few to note:

Trent Tucker from Northwestern High School, a longtime NBA player who won a title with the 1992-93 Chicago Bulls.


Eric Turner, star guard on Central High School's 1981 state championship team and one of the best players ever to come out of Central. Played at Michigan and briefly in the NBA.


Tonya Edwards, who led Northwestern to state championships in 1983 and 1984, won a national championship at the University of Tennessee and played in the WNBA. She coached Northwestern to the state championship in 1993.


Elsewhere on this list are twins Paula and Pamela McGee (No. 93) and Glen Rice (No. 115).

61. Flood of '47 - Flint River floods were not unusual, but folks today still talk about this one: the worst flood in recorded city history. Water submerged cars and filled buildings, flooding about 400 homes - 225 of them to their second floors. It swamped bridges, dividing the city for days, and caused an estimated $10 million in damages. It also gave impetus to a push by the city water department director to build new dams and reservoirs for flood control. His name might ring a bell: Earl L. Holloway. The $2-million dam and reservoir built in Richfield Township in the early 1950s was named for him.

62. Friendly Frog - Famed sculptor Marshall Fredericks created the oh-so-climbable green terrazzo frog for the Genesee Valley shopping center, opened in 1970. And yes, we know Genesee Valley is in Flint Township, not Flint proper. So sue us. The frog makes the list. Besides, the beloved three-ton amphibian now resides at the ultimate Flint address: Applewood (No. 5).

By the way ... Also climbable is the orange tubular sculpture outside the Flint Institute of Arts. It's called "Center of Mass," by Sydney Atkinson.

63. Fuel Cell Center - The goal is grand: to create a fuel cell industry in Flint, bringing bright college students and high-paying jobs and helping Michigan become a global touchpoint for fuel cell work. The new center opened this year at Kettering University (No. 26) to train future engineers, foster R&D and incubate new businesses on 18 acres of vacant industrial land adjoining the campus that was donated by General Motors.

By the way ... In a similar high-tech vein, Mott Community College opened its Regional Technology Center in 2002.

64. Ray "Big Cheese"

Furlow - From his "Cheesy Videos" hip-hop show on local TV to parties at the Copa nightclub - and to Christmas Eves spent delivering packages to the poor - Furlow has been living large as a symbol of good times, good music and good deeds in Flint ("Big Cheese" is a high-school nickname bestowed after an eating binge we don't want to know about). He's brought to town rap and R&B acts such as Run-DMC and Luther Campbell, and Flint's Ready for the World (No. 113), MC Breed and the Dayton Family (No. 34). He also was a reading paraprofessional at Flint's now-closed King Elementary School in the neighborhood where he grew up, hosted annual family picnics for the community and created his "Claus thing" Christmas toy giveaway to poor children on the city's north side.
Post Mon Sep 19, 2005 10:03 am 
 View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website Yahoo Messenger  Reply with quote  
Steve Myers
Site Admin
Site Admin

65. General Motors - One of America's car companies.

OK, seriously, Billy Durant (No. 39) created it in 1908 with Buick as its first brand. It quickly defined Flint's economy and outlook and pushed the city into national prominence. By mid-century - 1954, to be exact - GM was selling half of all new cars in America, to Flint's tremendous advantage. GM employment locally - at AC, Buick, Chevrolet, Fisher Body and more - hit record highs of 77,000 in 1955 and again in 1978. It's about 15,000 now, but that still leaves GM as the area's largest single employer.

Trivia time ... GM was incorporated not in Flint, or even Detroit, but in New Jersey.

66. Genesee Towers - At 19 stories, the mystifyingly named Genesee Towers (why plural?) opened in 1968 as Flint's tallest building, home of Genesee Merchants Bank & Trust Co. (long since swallowed up and now part of Bank One). About half of its height is parking ramp, with office space on upper floors. At the top, the city's high and mighty mingled at the University Club. Sigh. Those were the days. Tenants including the bank fled in the 1990s. Real estate investor V. Kumar Vemulapalli bought the dilapidated building at auction in 1997 for $500,000. Sporadic repair work continues in the nearly empty structure, but although it's still Flint's tallest building, it's seldom looked up to anymore.

67. Grand Funk

Railroad - They're coming to your town, they'll help you party down, they're an American band. And they - guitarist Mark Farner, drummer Don Brewer and bassist Mel Schacher - are from Flint (anyone not know that?). In addition to "We're an American Band," the trio's early '70s hits included "The Loco-Motion," "I'm Your Captain/Closer to Home" and "Some Kind of Wonderful" - which Brewer said the group first heard sung on a black Flint radio station. At their apex, Grand Funk famously sold out New York's Shea Stadium faster than the Beatles had a few years earlier. A Grand Trunk Railroad overpass at Fenton Road still pays hand-painted homage to the hometown rockers, now disbanded (guess they're not really coming to your town after all).

68. Halo Burger - A small wooden stand called the Kewpee Hamburger Hotel opened on Harrison Street downtown in 1923. William V. Thomas bought it in 1944, added another location in 1951 and later changed the name to Bill Thomas' Halo Burger. In the years since, the company has grown into a local chain of 10 restaurants. What sets it apart from other burger joints (other than the olives) is a symbiotic relationship with Vernors ginger ale. Boston coolers and cream ales are Halo Burger staples, and the vintage downtown location is a former Vernors restaurant in the shadow of the soft drink company's famous gnome mural (No. 142). Some still order "kewpee" burgers, but now that's spelled "QP," as in quarter pound. And seven days without one? All together now: "makes one weak!"

69. "Hamady sack" - It's like one of those Jeff Foxworthy lists: You know you're from Flint if you refer to paper grocery bags as Hamady sacks. Thank the late Michael Hamady and his cousin Kamol Hamady. They opened their first market on E. Dayton Street at Industrial Avenue in 1911. Savvy about changing culture in the corner-store era, Hamady Bros. thrived with larger supermarkets and big parking lots for "automobile shoppers." And they put the company name on those brown paper bags. The family sold the chain in 1974 to Alex Dandy, who later served time for income tax evasion and fraud connected with company finances. Hamady's filed for bankruptcy in 1987. The last store closed in 1991.

70. Owen Hammerberg - The U.S. Navy diver died Feb. 17, 1945, in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, at age 23 after he was crushed by underwater wreckage while saving two other divers. He posthumously received the Medal of Honor. When state lawmakers recently named a portion of I-69 from Perry to I-75 the Pearl Harbor Memorial Highway, they realized the very next exit to the east was named for him, and so extended the dedicated stretch to the Hammerberg Road exit.

71. Ben Hamper - Ex-autoworker (see "Shoprat," No. 121), radio jock, columnist, author and the basket-shooting mental patient in "Roger & Me" (who so hauntingly heard The Beach Boys' "Wouldn't It Be Nice" as a lament for deferred dreams), Hamper is the rivethead who published "Rivethead: Tales from the Assembly Line" in 1991. The bestseller was Hamper's irreverent first-person account of life on the line at the Flint Truck Plant in the 1970s and '80s. Mostly, it's a story about unsung people in an unexamined place: the American auto factory, rife with drink and drugs, camaraderie and mismanagement, golden paychecks and gray monotony. As Hamper wrote of once watching his dad work installing auto glass at Fisher Body, "Car, windshield. Car, windshield. Drudgery piled atop drudgery. Cigarette to cigarette. Decades rolling through the rafters, bones turning to dust, stubborn clocks gagging down flesh," - in Hamper's view, it was all about time. Hamper first wrote music reviews for Michael Moore's (No. 100) Flint Voice newspaper, then took to the airwaves on the WFBE-FM (95.1) punk rock radio show "Take No Prisoners." He's been out of the plants for 17 years now and lives in Suttons Bay in northern Michigan, where he says he's "currently not working on any other projects other than getting my baseball teams into the playoffs and fixing the tire rim on my tractor."

72. Helmac lint rollers - Ah, there's nothing like that magical fat spool of sticky-side-out tape to get the cat hair off your pantleg or the dandruff off your shoulder. Hard to believe humankind did without the lint roller until 1956, when Helen and Nicholas McKay Sr. invented it and founded Helmac (a contraction of their names). And don't laugh - this was big business. Helmac Products Corp. occupied a 40,000-square-foot location on Flint's east side by 1971 and employed more than 100 people. Alas, no more. A local standoff over tax breaks sent the company rolling out of town to Waynesboro, Ga., in 2001. Although Helmac pioneered the lint roller, several competitors now have similar products.

73. Hollywood stars of '04 - Many seek movie fame (whether in Hollywood proper or elsewhere in the film world), but few attain it. For a few from the area, 2004 was a good year:


Ex-Flintite and first-time screenwriter/director Kerry Conran debuted with his imaginative and mostly digitized "Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow."


Ex-Flint Township (OK, not Flint, but we'll let it slide) resident David Magee was a Golden Globe nominee for his "Finding Neverland" script.


Flint filmmaker Omar McGee's basketball movie "Flintown Kids" was accepted to the New York International Film and Video Festival. McGee is a cousin of twin hoops stars Pamela and Paula McGee (No. 93).


Michael Moore and "Fahrenheit 9/11"? Keep reading. Moore has his own entry (No. 100).

74. Guy Houston - His Northern High School state championship football team of 1950 was one of the greatest in the history of Flint, and he himself was a legendary coach there from 1928-51. We'll use him as a springboard to mention other great Flint coaches:


Norb Badar coached track and cross country at Northern and won six state championships - four in boys track, one in boys cross country and one in girls cross country. The Badar Classic all-star track meet is named for him.


Jim Barclay won boys basketball state champion-ships in 1933, 1936, 1939 and 1940 as coach at Northern.


Stan Gooch coached Central High School to three straight state basketball championships from 1981-83.

Stan Gooch coached Central High School to three straight state basketball championships from 1981-83.


Leteia Hughley played on three of Northern's four straight championship teams from 1978-81. Since taking over coaching Northern's varsity basketball program in 1993, Hughley has a record of 227-46, a winning percentage of .832. Her Vikings took state titles in 1994 and '95.


Dorothy Kukulka coached Northern to those four straight girls basketball state championships from 1978-81.


Kathy McGee, girls basketball coach at Powers Catholic High School, has won more games than any girls basketball coach in state history. She coached Powers to state championships in 1991, 1996, 2000 and 2001.


Jack Pratt has coached at Powers, St. Matthew, Grand Blanc, Goodrich and Kearsley, winning more football games than any coach in area history. He coached St. Matthew to state basketball championships in 1962, 1967 and 1968.


Earl Roberts coached Michigan School for the Deaf to state boys track championships in 1945, 1946, 1949, 1961, 1962 and 1963.

75. Hurley Medical

Center - The city hospital is named for James J. Hurley, a native of England who made his fortune in the junk business, real estate and soapmaking. Go figure. Anyway, he not only bequeathed $55,000 to establish the hospital in 1908. He also left money to every church in Flint, regardless of denomination. Hurley today is a towering, 463-bed hospital with clinics and other facilities around the area. It has struggled in recent years to stay out of the red, in part because of its expensive mission to care for the poor and uninsured.

76. IMA - J. Dallas Dort spurred formation of the Flint Vehicle Factories Mutual Benefit Association to provide insurance for employees of FIint's vehicle factories at the start of the 20th century. Separately, in 1915, General Motors' Charles Stewart Mott (No. 102) appointed a committee, the Industrial Fellowship League, that offered recreation and education to workers. The Industrial Mutual Association of Flint was established in 1922 when Dort's and Mott's efforts merged. The IMA made its money managing cafeterias and vending operations in the plants, and spent its money on programs and projects for community recreation and betterment. In 1929, it built the 6,000-seat IMA Auditorium. An athletic field was built next door. In 1969, it opened the IMA Sports Arena (donated to the city in 1979; now the privately owned Perani Arena). The IMA's miniature town, Safetyville, (No. 120) taught traffic rules to children. A self-supporting not-for-profit corporation, the IMA today operates several businesses including Brookwood, banquet and catering facilities and vending operations. The IMA Children's Recreation Fund was created in 1998 to fund programs for kids.

77. Clarence "Kelly" Johnson - After Lindbergh's trans-Atlantic flight in 1927, the Flint Kiwanis Club sponsored a model airplane contest for kids. Kelly Johnson took second place and $25 with a plane of his own design. It was the first of many such awards in a long aviation career, including the National Medal of Science presented to him by President Lyndon Johnson in 1964. In fact, Kelly Johnson, who died in 1991, may be the most important Flintite you've never heard of - and there's a reason for that. When President Eisenhower and the CIA wanted a spy plane that would fly at incredible altitudes, they turned to Johnson at the supersecret Lockheed "Skunk Works" lab in California. Johnson and the Skunk Works also developed the SR-71 Blackbird spy plane. When he retired in 1974, Lockheed said Johnson had worked on more than 40 aircraft, more than half of which were his original designs.

78. Tyrone Kirkland Originals - At age 21 in 1988, the Northwestern High School graduate and budding fashion designer was hired to produce gowns for the annual Ebony Fashion Fair. His designs appeared on the runway alongside creations by Bill Blass, Christian Dior and Gianni Versace. Since then, Kirkland's dresses, suits and costumes for men and women have continued to bring a bit of haute couture to Flint. He opened a shop in downtown Flint in 1995. It is now in the Capitol Theatre building. Being the kind of guy who likes to work outside the box, Kirkland recently came up with a "color of love" line of wedding gowns in hues other than white and ivory.

79. Koegel Meats - German immigrant Albert Koegel founded the company downtown in 1916 (it's now in Flint Township). Although one of its mainstay products is often hidden beneath onions, meat sauce and mustard, Koegel is one of the best-known local manufacturing businesses, selling throughout Michigan. Its natural-casings Vienna frank is the heart of most Flint coney islands (see Angelo's, No. 4).

By the way ... Abbott's meat market, established in 1907, provides main ingredients for the famous coney meat sauce. Flint's Salay Meats also began in 1916 but closed in 2003.

80. Paul Krause - National Football League hall-of-famer Paul Krause's dream was not football. "Baseball was my game," said the Bendle High School graduate (this was 1959, when Bendle was not in Burton because Burton did not yet exist; we're making him an honorary Flintite). "I definitely wanted to be a major leaguer." A shoulder injury in college ruined a promising career as a center fielder. But Krause could still catch a ball ... in this case a football. He played on four Minnesota Vikings Super Bowl teams and landed in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, as one of the best safeties ever. Now in his 60s, he's still an athlete. Last year, he won a celebrity golf tournament in Florida.

By the way ... Lynn Chandnois was a standout at Central High School and an All-America halfback at Michigan State University. He was NFL Player of the Year in 1952, when he was with the Pittsburgh Steelers, and twice led the league in kick returns. Lloyd Brazil was Flint's first all-American football player, an all-American halfback from 1926-28.

Here are Flint alumni who have played in Super Bowls:


Ricky Patton of Southwestern High School, playing for the San Francisco 49ers in 1981.


Reggie Williams, Southwestern, Cincinnati Bengals, 1981 and '88.


Brian Carpenter, Southwestern, Washington Redskins, 1983.


Jim Morrissey, Powers Catholic High School, Chicago Bears, 1985.

Jim Morrissey, Powers Catholic High School, Chicago Bears, 1985.


Mark Ingram, Northwestern High School, New York Giants, 1990.


Todd Lyght, Powers, St. Louis Rams, 1999.


Andre Weathers, Central High School, Giants, 2000 (injured; did not play).


Andre Rison (No. 116), Northwestern, Green Bay Packers, 1996.

81. Sophie Kurys - She holds the stolen bases record for all of pro baseball: 201 steals out of 203 tries (1946). And she did her sliding in a skirt. In 1943, 18-year-old Sophie signed with the Racine Belles of the All-American Girls Baseball League (famously depicted in the 1992 film "A League of Their Own"). The "Flint Flash" played left field and, later, second base. In '46, she was the league's Player of the Year, with 112 hits in 113 games, a league-leading 117 runs and a phenomenal .973 fielding record at second base. The Racine franchise folded after the 1950 season and Kurys played professional softball for four more years before retiring.

82. Rick Leach - A star at Southwestern High School in the 1970s, and later a football and baseball All-American at the University of Michigan, Leach played 10 seasons in the major leagues, including a stint with the Detroit Tigers. In 799 games with Detroit, Toronto, Texas and San Francisco, Leach batted .268 with 18 home runs and 183 RBI. Leach left his mark on UM record books. Three times he was named All-Big Ten quarterback. In 1978, he earned All-American honors and was named UM's and the Big Ten's Most Valuable Player. During his four years, the Wolverines shared three Big Ten championships.

83. Wilburn LeGree - He joined the police force in 1934 as a secretary, taking down suspects' confessions in shorthand. But when the chief heard Legree sing, the officer's career took a turn in a different direction - one that would make him nationally known and a legend to Michigan schoolchildren as "Flint's singing cop." His wife, Charlotte, wrote the music and lyrics for most of the dozens of safety-related songs Legree sang, compiled in a songbook distributed to hundreds of teachers. Legree kept singing in public until he turned 90. He died in 2004 at age 97.

84. Alice Lethbridge - She got her start writing news at The Flint Journal as a college student in 1945, when many male reporters were still off at war. But by the next year, the boys were back and Lethbridge found herself covering society news - not her choice. "I didn't care about teas and what the centerpieces looked like or what was served," she said. Still, the lives of Flint's prominent families proved more intriguing than Lethbridge imagined, and she came to enjoy her job, working several stints in the features department before retiring in 1984. She has written several books on local history, including "Well Do I Remember" and "Halfway to Yesterday," a collection of her articles.

85. Limo in the pool - Did it happen or not? That's the lingering question behind the famous story of drunken Who drummer Keith Moon driving a limousine into a swimming pool in 1967 while celebrating his birthday at the Flint Holiday Inn (now Days Inn) on Bristol Road. The rockers from England were in town to open for Herman's Hermits at Atwood Stadium (No. Cool. It's a fixture in rock's canon of excess and debauchery, but the Who's bass player, the late John Entwistle, said it didn't happen - that the legend was transplanted from Moon once driving a limo into a pond on his estate. What apparently is not in dispute is that the party that night was wild, police were called, and Moon needed late-night emergency dental work after he tripped (half-naked) and broke a tooth. But fact or fiction, the limo tale survives, maybe just because it seems like it ought to be true.

87. M&S - Red pop started in Flint, said Charles Weinstein, son of a co-founder of the now-defunct M&S Beverage Co., the family-owned business that pitched its pop as "the better refresher." Morris Weinstein, an immigrant from Poland who got his start in Detroit with the Feigenson brothers (of Faygo fame) around the turn of the 20th century, teamed up in 1918 with Samuel Buckler to bottle soft drinks in Flint. You might think M&S stood for Morris and Sam, but its shifting meanings included moon and stars (a label design) and Michigan Supreme. Flavors came and went, but longtime favorites like red pop, which so many companies later copied, stood fast. In 1969, the family sold the company. The M&S brand faded in the late 1970s.

88. The Machine Shop - To many, it's a made-in-Flint success story, a lightning rod for the local hard rock scene that's put Flint on the map nationally since it opened in 2002. Kid Rock loves the place. So does Vince Neil. So do dozens of other nationally known and local bands that have played the 500-person venue on S. Dort Highway. Operators Kevin and Craig Zink, brothers in their 30s, came up with the idea for the blue-collar concert club. They predict an expansion in The Shop's future.

89. Wade Mainer - In the 1930s, he toured North Carolina as part of Mainer's Mountaineers, a quartet playing the "mountain" or "hillbilly" music that would soon become known as bluegrass. Mainer himself perfected a style of thumb-and-finger banjo strumming that changed the music. In the early '50s, he began playing gospel, accompanied a preacher to Flint for a revival in 1953 and never looked back. He worked at Chevrolet for 18 years before retiring in 1972 and, with his musician wife, Julia, accepting invitations to music festivals recognizing him as a bluegrass pioneer. Among many honors, a hat and shirt of his are on display at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville, Tenn. He celebrated his 98th birthday this year.

90. Olivia P. "Libby"

Maynard - She was the first woman nominated for lieutenant governor of Michigan - in 1978 (with William Fitzgerald) and 1990 (with James Blanchard) - and the first woman to chair the Michigan Democratic Party, from 1979-83. Maynard, an heir to the Procter & Gamble Co. fortune (the "P." is for Procter), is a former Mott Community College instructor and was elected to the University of Michigan Board of Regents in 1996. She is president of The Michigan Prospect, a Flint-based nonprofit group dedicated to finding ways for residents and government to work together. She also sits on the boards of the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, the Council of Michigan Foundations and Planned Parenthood of Michigan. The longtime Flint resident now lives with her husband in Goodrich.

91. Floyd J. McCree - He became the first black leader of any major American city when the Flint City Commission chose him from its ranks to serve as mayor in 1966. And in the tense late summer of 1967, all eyes were on him as he threatened to resign in protest of the same City Commission refusing to open the housing market to people of all colors. Public demonstrations followed, the rattled City Commission adopted open housing, and city voters upheld the decision in a February 1968 referendum (by 38 votes out of more than 40,000 cast). "It was a very exciting time, when he had to stand up for what he believed in," said McCree's son, Genesee County Register of Deeds Melvin McCree. Floyd McCree died in 1988.

By the way ... James A. Sharp Jr. was Flint's first popularly elected black mayor, in 1983.

92. McCree Theater - It was a beacon for arts in the black community in the 1970s and '80s. Extraordinary talents such as renowned painter Lavarne Ross (No. 119), film director Anderson Johnson and the late actor and director Charles Michael Moore spent time there. The theater flourished for two decades before faltering in the '90s and going dormant. Then, the plot turned: Plans for a reunion became talk of reviving the theater. Backed by a two-year funding commitment from the Ruth Mott Foundation (No. 102), McCree presented a three-show comeback season this year and has four productions slated for 2005-06 at Christ Enrichment Center on E. Hamilton Avenue.

By the way ... Other Flint theater troupes:


Buckham Alley Theatre, downtown.

Buckham Alley Theatre, downtown.


Flint Central Theatre Magnet, Central High School.


Flint City Theatre, most shows at Good Beans Cafe on N. Grand Traverse.


Flint Community Players, most performances at Bower Theater.


Flint Youth Theatre, series at Bower Theater and Elgood Theater.


University of Michigan-Flint Department of Theatre and Dance.


Vertigo Productions, shows at Flint Masonic Temple downtown.

93. McGee twins - They won a pair of state basketball championships at Northern High School together. They won national championships at Southern Cal together. They even celebrated an Olympic gold medal together in 1984 - Pamela as a player, Paula as her biggest supporter in the stands. Pam is an assistant coach for the WNBA's Detroit Shock. Paula is an ordained minister and president of Paula McGee Ministries, a nonprofit organization that describes its mission as helping others to discover their calling and find personal peace and self-fulfillment.

94. Mayor

McKeighan - Public corruption incarnate or defender of the little guy? In and around the "Roaring '20s," William H.

McKeighan was acquitted during that period of stealing votes and conspiracy to violate liquor prohibition laws. There was every indication that the mayor laughed at Prohibition - one of his enemies referred to him as William "Bootlegger" McKeighan in a letter to The Flint Journal. In the '20s, though, McKeighan bragged that his administration "completed more public improvements than any other administration," and even his enemies probably had to admit it was true. In 1918, he was convicted of assault and robbery but served only a week in prison. McKeighan's alleged abuse of power led voters to approve the "weak mayor" form of government that lasted from 1929-75. McKeighan died in 1957 in Miami.

95. Margaret McLaren - Dr. Lucy M. Elliot and nurse Lillian Girard opened Flint's 10-bed Women's Hospital downtown in 1919, specializing in maternity care. Margaret McLaren, a nurse, became administrator in 1924. She held the place together during World War II and helped lead a $1-million fund drive for a larger facility. Once the war ended and another $1.5 million was raised, the new, 203-bed hospital arose at Ballenger Highway and Beecher Road in 1951. Since it now accepted male patients, Women's Hospital became McLaren General Hospital. McLaren Health Care Corp. is now a four-

hospital health system with more than 90 satellite facilities in 12 Michigan counties.

96. Carter McWright - His shop, Music Planet, is Flint's top black music store. He's promoted blues and gospel concerts, drawing as many as 4,000 people to the IMA Sports Arena (now Perani Arena). And until a couple of years ago, he hosted a three-hour show of Southern gospel quartet music on radio station WFLT-AM (1470). McWright has also helped promote local artists. "If Mr. Carter can't break you, you can't break," said former Shepherds lead singer Joe Washington, now a minister and solo artist in Jackson, Miss.

97. Michigan School for the Deaf - Cityhood for Flint was a year away when this state school opened in 1854. Over the next 150 years, MSD would survive a major fire (No. 46) and similarly inflammatory changes in how public schools treated deaf and hearing-impaired youths. In the 1960s, MSD had 400 students, but numbers dwindled as deaf and hearing-impaired youth joined mainstream programs in local districts - splintering deaf culture, many say. Fighting the trend, the school now has a growing enrollment of 135 and appears to have quashed talk of being closed. Meanwhile, Flint has an active deaf association, a deaf seniors group, a deaf athletic organization, an MSD alumni association and deaf-community dances, softball games, bowling tournaments, churches, fundraisers and more.

98. Doug Mintline - No offense to our current scribes, but Doug Mintline was probably the most popular sports writer in Flint Journal history, over a 44-year career (1941-84) that included 20 years as sports editor. He was Michigan sports writer of the year in 1966 and '69. His column, the Mint Line, also had that memorable logo, with its nerdy-cool caricature of Mintline's balding, bespectacled head behind a typewriter. In addition to covering practically every sports assignment imaginable, from junior varsity basketball to the World Series, Mintline was a great teller of stories. His son, Skip, compiled 373 of them into a 1999 book, "The Mintline: A Story Teller's Best." Doug Mintline died in 1996 at age 70.

By the way ... Len Hoyes wrote for The Journal for 52 years until his death in February. He was particularly known for reporting on hockey, telling great stories and covering the 1953 Beecher tornado (No. 11).

99. Sherm Mitchell - Six decades after he and some junior high school classmates played for a Flint radio broadcast in 1944, area jazz great Mitchell is still playing regularly (it was oboe then and trombone now). He performed this summer at the Flint Jazz Festival and plays at other events locally and in the Southwest, where he spends winters. Mitchell has toured in Europe, played around the country and appeared with Mel Torme, John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters and more. Meanwhile, his day job was at "Chevy in the Hole" Plant No. 4 from 1948-68.

By the way ... The late Joe Freyre of Flint was a drummer, percussionist and singer who spent years teaching and conducting youth jazz ensembles. The Saginaw native is credited with single-handedly getting the Flint Jazz Festival started more than two decades ago. Freyre died in 2004 at age 70.

100. Michael Moore - For the steady stream of first-time "Roger & Me" viewers who contact Michael Moore, it's always "December 1989 all over again," the local filmmaker said not long ago. The date is when Moore first burst onto the national scene with his cinematic skewering of General Motors, downsizing and clueless-looking people and institutions. The film continues to define Flint for many. Moore, originally of Davison, made his mark locally years earlier as a maverick teenage member of the Davison Board of Education and then as publisher of the Flint Voice newspaper, later the Michigan Voice. Soon after being quickly fired as editor of Mother Jones magazine in 1986, he began filming what became "Roger & Me," framed as a quest to show then-GM President Roger Smith what plant closings were doing to Flint. Since then, Moore has become an internationally known liberal commentator, award-winning filmmaker and television producer ("TV Nation") and author ("Stupid White Men," "Dude, Where's My Country?") whose targets have included the gun lobby (Oscar-winning "Bowling for Columbine") and President Bush and the war in Iraq ("Fahrenheit 9/11"). He now has his sights on the health care industry, with a film tentatively titled "Sicko" expected in the first half of 2006.
Post Mon Sep 19, 2005 10:07 am 
 View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website Yahoo Messenger  Reply with quote  
Steve Myers
Site Admin
Site Admin

101. Mike Mosher - Way, way back in 1992, a handful of local high school teachers began asking colleges about this Internet thing they'd heard about and whether they and their students could get access. Mosher, a senior programmer/analyst at then-GMI Engineering & Management Institute (now Kettering University, No. 26) urged GMI officials to give teachers guest accounts on the school's computer network. It was Mosher's first step toward bringing the Internet and digital information within reach of everyone in the area, rich and poor. Mosher led the establishment of the Greater Flint Educational Consortium to bring the Internet to area schools. He was key in developing FALCON, an automated catalog of local public and college libraries. With Dave Cheslow, a University of Michigan-Flint prof, he launched the Genesee Free-Net in 1994 to offer inexpensive online access to the public. The nonprofit Free-Net still offers Internet service to Flint and Genesee County residents. Mosher left Flint in 1995 for a new job in Ann Arbor working with MichNet, the Internet backbone for Michigan universities and most schools and libraries.

102. Charles Stewart and Ruth

Rawlings Mott - It started with a bicycle wheel manufacturing company, The Weston-Mott Co. Moving into the axle business, Charles Stewart Mott transplanted the operation from New York to Flint in 1906 at the request of Billy Durant and joined forces with Buick in 1913. Mott was mayor of Flint in 1912-13 and 1918 and became vice-president of General Motors in 1916. In 1953, in his late 70s, he helped rebuild homes after the deadly Beecher tornado (No. 11). First wife Ethel died in 1924, and Mott later married Ruth Rawlings, his sixth cousin. C.S. Mott's riches began working for the public good in 1926, when he set up the Mott Foundation to promote "a just, equitable and sustainable society." It still operates in Flint today, as does the smaller Ruth Mott Foundation. "Mr. Mott," as he was known, died in 1973; Mrs. Mott died in 1999. Both were 97 years old.

103. Muscatawingh - Or maybe "Muscadawin." Either way, to American Indians here before white settlers, it meant "the burned plain" and referred to a swath of land around where Carriage Town is today - and so predates "Flint" as a name for this place. Or, we could have been called "Pewaunaukee," "Pewanagawink" or "Pewaukee" - variations on the name of the main Indian village (meaning "a flinty place" or "place of fire stones") along the Flint River here. Settlers in the 1830s decided "Flint" would suffice.

Trivia time ... Flint is the largest U.S. city with a one-

syllable name.

104. Sue Novara-Reber - Flint's two-time world and eight-time national cycling champion was also coach of the U.S. women's cycling team for the Olympics in Seoul, South Korea, in 1988.

105. Open housing - Houses that blacks could buy in Flint were labeled for "colored." Other houses, they could presume, were off-limits. There was nothing subtle about housing segregation even as late as the 1960s. But that changed in 1967 and '68, when the city tackled open housing. First, the City Commission turned down an open housing ordinance, outraging commission-appointed Mayor Floyd J. McCree (No. 91), who threatened resignation and sparked public protests including a sleep-in on the City Hall lawn. Chastened, the commission passed the ordinance, 5-4, two months later - but a referendum for a public vote followed. On Feb. 29, 1968, by a margin of 38 votes out of 40,000 cast, Flint became the first large city in the United States to uphold open housing in a citywide vote. More than 35 years later, though, Flint and Genesee County remain highly segregated, and studies still find evidence of housing discrimination.

106. Parades - A golden '55 Chevy was the pride of the city in November 1954 when General Motors celebrated its 50-millionth car. As soon as the car came off the assembly line, factory whistles around the city blared and the car was loaded onto a float for a parade so huge that Flint's schools closed so children could be part of the estimated 100,000-strong crowd lining Saginaw Street. The next year, the city went all out all over again - only bigger - for its centennial parade on Sept. 7. Vice President Richard Nixon came, Miss Flint, actress-to-be Nancy Kovack (see No. 20), was there, and so was singer Dinah Shore (of "See the USA in your Chevrolet" fame). All told, the crowd was estimated at 200,000.

107. Paramount Potato Chip Co. - "It's Slim Chiply, Slim Chiply, yes he's the one," - c'mon, you remember the jingle - "and it's Paramount Potato Chips making life more fun!" The longtime local brand and its gunslinging chip mascot started riding off into the sunset when the Flint company closed in 1992. A Bay City company kept making Paramount chips for a while, but its Made-Rite brand eventually won out.

108. Paul's Pipe Shop - Inside Paul Spaniola's world-renowned, 75-year-old tobacconist business at 647 S. Saginaw St. is anything a pipe smoker might need, plus a private museum of world champion smokers' pipes and other memorabilia, plus - on a good day - Spaniola himself, who in his 90s still comes to work when he can (his son and daughter run the shop now). Spaniola, chairman and founding member of the International Pipe Smokers Association and participant in 50 world pipe-smoking competitions, won his last of his six championships in 1992.

109. Police gunfight - It was Christmastime 1975 when Flint police Officers Walter Kalberer and Madeline Fletcher started arguing about who would drive their squad car. The fight escalated to nightsticks and then bullets when Fletcher unholstered her pistol and shot Kalberer in the leg. By the time it was over, 13 shots had been fired by Fletcher, Kalberer and other police in the parking lot. Fletcher was shot in the gut, lost her job, was acquitted of a crime and eventually got her job back only to be fired again. Some saw it as a race issue - Fletcher was black and Kalberer was white - others as a battle of the sexes. Whatever the reasons, vacationing Flint cops for awhile had to endure questions like "Flint? Isn't that where you had the shootout?" Kalberer died this year at age 63.

110. Pulitzer Prize - The picture seems to say something about the buttoned-down '50s, when a worn-through shoe sole could take on such meaning: There's Adlai Stevenson leaning back in his chair, exposing a hole in the sole of his right shoe during a 1952 political rally at Flint Park. It went so far in making the aristocratic Stevenson seem down to earth that his later presidential campaign used the image, as if to say - as William F. Buckley put it in a 2004 essay - "Vote for this man who ... walks on day after day, wearing out life's shoe leather, in the cause of America." Anyway, Flint Journal photographer Bill Gallagher took the shot, extending the camera at arm's length so Stevenson wouldn't notice and uncross his legs. The photograph won the Pulitzer Prize for Gallagher and The Flint Journal in 1953, the only time (so far) the newspaper has claimed the prize.


111. "The Rabbit Lady" - She stands out so memorably, and so enigmatically, in Michael Moore's "Roger & Me" that Rhonda Britton deserves this, her own place on the list. On a DVD commentary, Moore says Britton's infamous clubbing and skinning of one of the rabbits she raised took him by surprise. He debated whether to include the scene in the finished film - "I took it in and out and in and out" - before deciding to leave it in as a symbol of Flint's treatment by General Motors in the '80s. The "pets or meat" sign advertising Britton's rabbits became the title for a follow-up film to "Roger & Me" several years later. Her Amy Street home burned in 1995.

112. Radio - The local airwaves have carried their share of characters, creativity and controversy. A few examples:


Dave Barber: Starting as an on-air talk host in 1976, Barber is a self-described liberal and ally of Flint Democratic politicos. Talker Magazine has named him to its annual "100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America" lists. His morning show is on WWCK-AM (1570).


Peter Cavanaugh: He was "Peter C" in the '60s and '70s, the pioneering disc jockey who brought artists like the Who and Jimi Hendrix to local airwaves as program director of WTAC-AM (600).


Les Root: An AM radio newsman here since 1958, he spent most of that with WFDF-AM (910) but now does newscasts for other stations owned by Cumulus Media Inc.


Sam Williams: The longtime Flint radio personality and former owner of WDZZ-FM (92.7) champions soul and gospel music.


WFBE: In 1997, the public radio station operated for 44 years from Central High School gave up 95.1 on the FM dial to a commercial country music station. Supporters had fought hard to keep the station, home to classical and jazz programs but also edgier fare such as the local "Take No Prisoners" punk music show. In the end, school district budget pressures were insurmountable.
WFBE: In 1997, the public radio station operated for 44 years from Central High School gave up 95.1 on the FM dial to a commercial country music station. Supporters had fought hard to keep the station, home to classical and jazz programs but also edgier fare such as the local "Take No Prisoners" punk music show. In the end, school district budget pressures were insurmountable.


WFDF: Flint's first radio station, begun in 1922, lost its longtime news/talk format in 2002 when it became the local outlet for ABC's kid-centered Radio Disney.

113. Ready for the World - The group topped the charts in 1985 when its third single, "Oh Sheila," bumped Dire Straits' "Money for Nothing" from the No. 1 spot. RFTW formed in 1982 when singer Melvin Riley and guitarist Gordon Strozier recruited some of the better young players on the local R&B scene: Greg Potts (keyboards), Willie Triplett (keyboards, percussion), bassist John Eaton and drummer Gerald Valentine. The group never matched the success of "Oh Sheila," but continued to record into the early '90s. Riley left in 1992 to go solo.


114. Lloyd Reuss - Buick production here ended in 1999, but it could have stopped 15 years before. Flint got a reprieve because of a bold plan by a group of General Motors execs led by Buick General Manager Lloyd Reuss. The "Buick City" proposal called for a $300-million modernization of the Buick complex and the demise of Fisher Body No. 1. Reuss sold the concept to skeptical bosses in Detroit. Reuss retired in 1992 at age 56, after 35 years with GM.

115. Glen Rice - The Northwestern High School basketball star led the University of Michigan to a 1989 national championship, and he's the Wolverines' all-time leading scorer (2,442). His long pro career included winning an NBA title with the Los Angeles Lakers.

116. Andre Rison - The three-sport Northwestern High School star played football at Michigan State University and in the NFL. One of Flint's all-time greatest athletes, he was on the Green Bay Packers' 1997 Super Bowl team and spent 12 seasons with Indianapolis, Atlanta, Cleveland, Jacksonville, Green Bay, Kansas City and Oakland. Amid bad press and legal entanglements - including jail time - over failing to pay child support, Rison revived his career last season, playing five games with the Canadian Football League's Toronto Argonauts, after a four-year layoff from the NFL. The Argonauts released him last month, but a spokesman for Rison said the wide receiver still wants to play.

117. River Town - The only item on the list that doesn't yet exist, River Town is just a gleam in city planners' eyes right now - a drawing-board plan for the former "Chevy in the Hole" industrial site and the Third Avenue and Flint River corridors between Kettering University and the University of Michigan-Flint. If proponents succeed, the area could sprout new neighborhoods, research parks and retail areas covering vast acreage. If not, some say River Town might be remembered as a missed opportunity of gigantic proportions.

118. The Rock - It's just a concrete pump house for storm water removal, but for more than 30 years, innumerable painters have made it a canvas for messages about everything from 9/11 to the Iran hostage crisis to the state of rock radio in Flint. Birthdays and memorials are mainstays, profanity is rare. A recent city crackdown against painting the rock (also known as the block) drew public outrage and was eventually rescinded. Painting has resumed in earnest.

119. Lavarne Ross - Visit practically any ethnic art store in the United States or abroad and you'll find the work of Flint's Ross, one of the country's foremost creators of African-American art. In many of his paintings of local subjects, a factory appears as backdrop. "Buick is in the background because it's always there," he said. "It's why people migrated here to Flint, in order to get a job." Ross himself worked 32 years at AC Delco and Delphi Corp. until his retirement in 1998.

By the way ... Among the many other local artists and organizations of note are:

D.A.S. Print Co.: Carole Brender of Flushing Township, William Stolpin of Holly, Stefan Davidek of Flint and the late James Anthony. Their best-known series is of Flint landmarks.


William Orling: An amateur artist who worked as a truck driver for Flint schools, he recorded scenes of the St. John Street area (No. 128). Several of his paintings are in a current Sloan Museum exhibit on Flint neighborhoods.


Flint arts organizations include the Flint Institute of Arts, the Greater Flint Arts Council, Buckham Gallery, Left Bank Gallery and the Flint Art Fair.

The FIA reopens to the public Saturday after 18 months of renovations and expansion. Among the new features are a glass-canopied main entrance, 3,000-square-foot Great Hall, redesigned auditorium and cafe (more in Today, page F1).

120. Safetyville - Powered mini-cars taught children about traffic and pedestrian safety in this child-sized village in Kearsley Park. A fondly remembered project of the Industrial Mutual Association (No. 76) and the parks and recreation board, it operated from 1963-80.

121. Schiappacasse's Candy Kitchen - The embodiment of Flint's good-old-days nostalgia, Schiappacasse's was a roasted-peanut-scented Flint institution from 1886-1971 at two different downtown locations. Longing for the past can run so strong here that Journal columnist Andrew Heller calls the condition "Schiappacasse's syndrome" and advises, "Time to move on, my friends."

122. "The shooter" - The infamous shooting death of Beecher first-grader Kayla Rolland at the hands of a Buell Elementary School classmate Feb. 29, 2000, did not happen within the city of Flint, but it did in fact have a tragic Flint connection:

The 6-year-old boy who

shot Kayla used a .32-caliber handgun he found in a drug house on W. Juliah Avenue in Flint, where he was staying with an uncle after his mother lost her home. Three men from the home served time in prison and/or on probation on manslaughter and weapons charges in the case.
Post Mon Sep 19, 2005 10:12 am 
 View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website Yahoo Messenger  Reply with quote  
Steve Myers
Site Admin
Site Admin

123. "The Shoprat" - In a nutshell, an auto plant clock-puncher. For more, we turned to an outside expert, the (former) rivethead himself, author Ben Hamper (No. 71). Asked by e-mail how important the shoprat is to General Motors' success, Hamper replied, "Absolutely critical. And this will never change. It's like asking, how important are raisins to Raisin Bran?' " Here are more of his thoughts on the shoprat experience:

The authoritarian dullness of many of the supervisors pretty much mimicked most of my (high school) teachers. The urge to cut class' was frequently resolved by doubling up' on jobs. There was the similar yen to liven things up with outside substances. Most people belonged to cliques. There was always the department snitch who assumed the role of teacher's pet. The tedium was identical, though being financially compensated for it was far preferable ... . There didn't seem to be any great need to mature. Flip the calendar, it's 13th grade. Now & forever, amen."

The diversions ... doubling up, sneaking out, plus many other time-tested routines, were simple survival techniques employed by shoprats who were at war with the clock. Any real shoprat will tell you that GM was infrequently the nemesis. ... It was the clocks that hovered above us that were the real adversary. The way I saw it, you had to kill time before it killed you."

Anyone who's not a part of management would be a shoprat. Shoprat is just an informal term for a blue-collar automotive assembly worker. Some workers felt uncomfortable with the term, sensing that it inferred something demeaning, something that hinted at a particular lack of sophistication - like dolt, rube or dullard. I don't think most workers felt that way. I always felt right at home with it. In fact, I took a tremendous pride in the term. ... (But) I haven't worked in a factory in 17 years & have a great hesitation for representing myself as anything other than a former shoprat."

124. Sit-Down Strike - In Flint, it began Dec. 30, 1936, and ended 44 days later, on Feb. 11, 1937. Widespread violence erupted only once, in the so-called Battle of the Running Bulls, sparked when police charged Fisher No. 2 with tear gas and were driven back in a hail of bricks and door hinges. The strike - a key moment in U.S. labor history - ended with GM agreeing to recognize the UAW as the workers' bargaining agent. Today, the UAW celebrates the strike anniversary as White Shirt Day (symbolizing equality with management) and honors the few living sit-downers.

125. Jacob Smith - Flint's first settler in the early 1800s, Quebec-born fur trader Smith remains a tantalyzing mystery in many respects - for one, no portrait of him is known to exist - but Journal feature writer Kim Crawford was able to piece together from various accounts that Smith was a cutthroat entrepreneur who risked his life for his country in a militia company protecting Detroit. He was likely a husband and father of two families - one white, one American Indian. His name was known to U.S. government officials, but he could disappear into the wilderness for weeks and months at a time. And ironically, he may never have known that he was founding a future city when he set up his trading posts along the Flint River. Smith died in 1825 at the age of 45. When Flint was later settled, relatives of Smith moved his grave to Glenwood Cemetery.

126. Smith-Bridgman's - Flint's oldest retail firm, in business since 1862, shut down for good in 1980. The multistory downtown department store was demolished in 1984.

127. J. Merrill Spencer - He came to Michigan in the '50s having studied medicine in college and with a sociology degree. He looked for work as a high school teacher, but discovered that blacks could not get hired at that level. He and wife Edith ended up opening House of Spencer - which became one of Flint's longest-operating funeral homes - in 1955, but that was only the start of their community involvement. Spencer served on the executive committee of the Genesee County Democratic Party, the Genesee County Board of Supervisors and the Flint Board of Education. The couple also operated something of an informal college scholarship program, providing financial and other support to local black students. Spencer desegregated burials in Michigan with a successful court battle in 1966 to bury his mother in a whites-only cemetery.

By the way ... Memory Wright founded Wright Funeral Home in 1950 and may have been Flint's first black funeral home owner. He died this year at age 99.

128. St. John Street - A legendary immigrant neighborhood in early 20th-century Flint, the St. John Street area was leveled decades later for urban renewal in north Flint. In its heyday, it was synonymous with community pride and the fabled American melting pot. Many now remember the neighborhood as part of the black community, but its roots reached deeply into Eastern Europe, too. Principal Elizabeth Welch of Fairview School opened the doors to neighborhood residents, offering classes in crafts, skills, English and citizenship in an effort that grew into Flint's International Institute.

129. St. Joseph

Hospital - The Sisters of St. Joseph of Nazareth, based near Kalamazoo, first opened a Flint hospital in Thomas Stockton's mansion on Ann Arbor Street. That gave way to a spired, five-story, 337,000-square-foot building in the mid-1930s, on the former J. Dallas Dort estate east of downtown. The building closed after its successor, Genesys Regional Medical Center, opened in Grand Blanc Township in 1997. "St. Joe's" was later razed to make way for Mott Community College's Regional Technology Center.

130. Mayor Stanley - Voters in 1999 returned Woodrow Stanley to a third straight term, unprecedented in the modern political era - but then recalled him from office in 2002, with the city in fiscal crisis. A state financial takeover of the city followed the mayor's removal. Stanley now represents mostly north Flint on the county Board of Commissioners.

131. Arthur

Summerfield - The Flint auto dealer became Republican National Committee chairman in 1952 and then U.S. postmaster general - one of the highest government positions achieved by a local person - under President Eisenhower. Summerfield had directed Eisenhower's successful presidential campaign. He was widely praised for his energy and organizational skills, even though he was schooled only to the eighth grade. Later, he helped Flint get funds for urban renewal and to build freeways. Summerfield died in 1972 at age 73.

132. Television - Flint's first station, WTAC-TV, went on the air on Thanksgiving 1953 but was out of business the next year. In a bit of unfortunate planning, it was UHF Channel 16 at a time when most TVs didn't have a UHF dial. Channel 12 (WJRT) took over the former WTAC studios, but legal wrangling kept it off the air until Oct. 12, 1958. Saginaw's Channel 5 (WNEM), meanwhile, began broadcasting in 1954. Here are just a few of the area's memorable local TV personalities:


Ed Phelps: He became a local sports icon in a 32-year career as sports director at Channel 12.


Jim Peyton: The late Channel 5 weathercaster was known for the cartoon characters he sketched on-air for viewers.


John McMurray: One of the first meteorologists on television, the Channel 12 forecaster also put Flint on the map as a weather center in Michigan through his company, Commercial Weather Services. He has taught meteorology at Mott Community College.


Frank Cady: You may not know the name, but lots of us grew up watching him on Channel 12 as Mr. Magic and later as Bozo the Clown.
Frank Cady: You may not know the name, but lots of us grew up watching him on Channel 12 as Mr. Magic and later as Bozo the Clown.

133. Thread Lake - In most cities, a lake in the middle of town would be a treasured asset and natural resource. That hasn't been the case with polluted Thread Lake, southeast of downtown, for a long time - but, as with the long-overlooked Flint River (No. 56), that could be changing. A new subdivision of 41 homes from $180,000-$300,000 is planned just east of Thread Lake and along Thread Creek, incorporating some of the lake's wetlands.

134. Togliatti, Russia - Flint's sister community on the Volga River is a vehicle city, too - home to a factory for AutoVaz, Russia's largest automaker. The longtime sister-city relationship includes occasional exchanges of officials and business leaders. Togliatti started building Chevrolets for the Russian market in 2002. Flint is also a sister city to Hamilton, Ontario, and Changchun, China.

135. Fred and Louise Tucker - A quarter-century after their suffocated bodies were found frozen in a Toledo landfill, the Tuckers' slayings linger as one of Flint's biggest murder mysteries. Fred Tucker was a former city councilman and kingpin of Flint politics, seen as a possible future mayor. Louise was his wife of only a few days when they vanished from their Flint home in December 1980. Rumors have swirled - about gambling, drug dealing, diamonds and organized crime - but the crime remains unsolved.

136. UAW - The American Federation of Labor chartered the United Automobile Workers in 1935, but it took the famous Sit-Down Strike of 1936-37 (No. 124) in Flint and other cities to force General Motors to recognize the UAW as a bargaining agent for autoworkers. Separate sit-down strikes in 1937 led Chrysler to recognize the UAW, but Ford, often violently rooting out union sympathizers, held out until 1941. Flint remained for most of the 20th century a UAW stronghold and source of numerous union leaders, even as the number of local autoworkers plummeted in the 1980s and '90s. Although a 55-day strike in 1998 was the UAW's longest against GM since 1970, union and management cooperation has increased in recent years. The soaring expense of health care coverage is shaping up as a tough issue for both sides to tackle.

137. Uncle Bob's Diner - Legendary corned beef sandwiches, sinful cheesecake - either (or both) could be had at Uncle Bob's Diner in downtown Flint. Robert Newblatt and John Kish opened the railroad car diner at 613 Harrison St. in 1947, offering a huge menu of New York Jewish deli and homestyle cooking. Kish sold it in 1973, and it closed for good in '86. The building lives on, transplanted in 1987 to Rockford, near Grand Rapids, as part of Dinerland (www.rosies

diner.com), where artist Jerry Berta has collected classic diners. Uncle Bob's is now The Diner Store, selling art, not food - but Rosie's Diner next door has "Uncle Bob's Famous Cheesecake" on the menu.

138. The Uncommon Sense - Billing itself as "Flint's voice of reason," the alternative newspaper publishes monthly, covering local arts, entertainment and politics. Publisher and Editor Matt Zacks grew up in the East Village neighborhood and attended Central and Northern high schools. In February, the paper stirred up a hornet's nest with a report of employee medical records left behind by Delphi Corp. before demolition at its abandoned Flint West factory complex. This month's cover story profiles community activist Adam Gerics and his efforts to get City Council President Johnnie Coleman removed from office.

139. University Park Estates - Located on a former industrial site just north of downtown, surrounded by blocks of abandoned houses and empty storefronts, the city's first new subdivision in more than 30 years arose amid much skepticism in 1999. But most now agree the subdivision then-Mayor Woodrow Stanley (No. 130) championed has succeeded as an urban draw for middle-income families. The development added a second phase this summer. Meanwhile, more housing plans are stirring in Flint with the announcement of subdivisions on Thread Creek (Thread Lake Isles) and near the Flint Golf Club (Country Club Meadows). However, another newer subdivision, near Kearsley Lake Golf Course (Sugar Maple Farms), has stalled in bankruptcy and lawsuits.

140. USS Flint - The ammunition ship USNS Flint, formerly the USS Flint, joined the Iraq war in 2003, providing ammunition for U.S. warships and aircraft in the northern Persian Gulf. Commissioned in 1971, it also served in the Vietnam War and the 1991 Persian Gulf War. An earlier USS Flint was a World War II light cruiser, christened in 1944, that served in the Pacific. It was decommissioned in 1946 and scrapped in the '60s, although the ship's bell and plaques survive in the Sloan Museum's collection. Yet another ship named Flint - the ocean freighter City of Flint - made news in 1940 when it was captured by the German navy and held for 113 days.
142. Vernors gnomes - Nearly destroyed in a 1995 fire, then threatened with demolition, Flint's famous Vernors mural (first painted in 1929 on the side of what is now the Greater Flint Arts Council's building on S. Saginaw Street downtown) was instead restored in 2001. The fanciful gnomes bringing casks of Vernors from aging cellars were painted on the building after Detroit-based Vernors opened a sandwich-and-soda shop next door in what is now a Halo Burger restaurant (No. 6Cool.

By the way ... Speaking of whimsical murals, there's also the "Overflow Parking" mural of cars parked on the side of The Flint Journal building, painted by artist Blue Sky in 1978.

143. Villains - A list of the worst characters in local memory doesn't go back very far. Longtime Flint Journal crime reporter and feature writer Kim Crawford (who wrote an account of ".44-caliber killer" Ronnie Johns in 1992) says the bad guys here don't tend to leave lasting impressions. They're here and gone, their legacies wiped out by the next wave of criminals. Here are a few whose impacts haven't yet faded:


Jeffrey W. Gorton: The methodical killer from Vienna Township was arrested in 2002, long after his local victim, socialite Margarette F. Eby (No. 41), was slashed to death in Flint in 1986. Gorton also killed a flight attendant in Romulus in 1991. He is serving five life terms in an Adrian prison.


Ronnie Johns: In May 1991, the dope-dealing teenager got ahold of a stolen gun, a powerful and fearsome looking .44-caliber Ruger Redhawk revolver with maple wood grips and a scope. Over the next four months, eight people in Flint were shot with the weapon, four fatally. Johns was convicted of two murder counts and other charges and sentenced to life without parole.


Terry "Head Man" Morris: In 1987, he turned a bungalow at 1010 E. Russell Ave. into the site of the worst mass killing in city history: the slaying of six people in a case linked to the decade's booming, lethal trade in crack cocaine. Donald "Juice" Williams, a street-level crack dealer who used the house as a base for his drug ring, was executed along with his mother and four teenage friends. Morris was convicted and sentenced to eight life prison terms.


Edward Omar Spearman: His history of violent acts began at age 13, when he was convicted of assault and battery. He faced charges of car theft, felonious assault and larceny before his 17th birthday, was acquitted in a gang-related shooting at 18 and built a rep as one of the most feared men in Flint. Convicted in 1996 of two slayings and being a drug kingpin, he was sentenced to three life terms.

144. Weather Ball - Citizens Bank (No. 24) first lit up its famous weather indicator in October 1956. The 15-foot-diameter metal-and-Plexiglas sphere stands atop the bank's downtown headquarters. Citizens operates it based on National Weather Service forecasts.

Trivia time ... The Weather Ball was switched off for a few years during the energy crisis of the 1970s. And Grand Rapids has a weather ball, too, operated by a local TV station.

145. Whip sockets - In horse-and-buggy days, a driver would stash a whip in a short socket or tube mounted on the vehicle when not using it. Whip sockets were produced here by the Cornwall Whip Socket Co. (aka Flint Specialty Co.), and they make for a great cautionary tale. See, the manufacturers thought they were in the whip socket business - kind of dependent on horse-drawn transportation. Had they realized they were actually in the vehicle accessory business, Cornwall might be selling us fuzzy dice or seat covers today.
146. Mayor Williamson - A larger-than-life figure impossible to sum up in a few sentences, Don Williamson transcended labels that could have been political poison - high school dropout, felon, multimillionaire, twice-failed candidate - to become mayor of Flint in 2003 on a clean-up-the-city platform, giving beaten-down neighborhoods work crews, Dumpsters and hope. Many fed-up local residents sing his praises for shaking up the city, even as others find him outrageous. His clashes with the City Council and other officials stand out even in the rough-and-tumble environment of local politics. Time will tell how it all shakes out.

147. Judge Charles H. Wisner - His first car - Flint's very first car - was a noisy, hand-built "buzz-wagon." Wisner put it together from scratch in 1899-1900 in his machine shop in the carriage house behind his home at Court Street and Lapeer Road. Its first public outing was in the city's 1900 Labor Day parade (where it stalled). The carriage house is now at Crossroads Village.

148. "The World's Smallest

Skyscraper" - Six stories tall but with a footprint of only 28 square feet, the skinny downtown tower that went up in 1924 had the proportions of an elevator shaft. It was a mystery to many how Winegarden's Furniture placed displays on each of the tower's floors, as it was too small for stairs or an elevator. Robert Ripley's syndicated "Believe It Or Not" comic once featured the building, which was razed in 1958.

Secret revealed ...

Trapdoors. They did it with trapdoors.

149. Ya-Ya's - Marinated in a secret sauce, Ya-Ya's Flame Broiled Chicken is a local favorite started by Gus and John Chinonis. The Flint-based company now lists 20 locations in Michigan, Florida and Georgia. The first one, in Florida, was called Gibby's, but that name was found to be trademarked, so John Chinonis changed the name to Ya-Ya's, which is Greek for "grandmother's." The first Flint store opened in 1988.

150. Zimmerman

Center - And so we reach the "Z" at last. The former Zimmerman Elementary and Junior High School built in 1929 on Corunna Road is now an Flint School District adult and alternative ed center. The man it was named for is largely forgotten today, but he was John C. Zimmerman (1864-1943), a Genesee County sheriff from 1904-06 and later a developer who built the Center Building that once spanned the Flint River on the Saginaw Street bridge. He donated the land for the school. His father, also John Zimmerman (1835-1916), was a German emigrant who operated Flint's first brick plant. We'll close with a story: The elder John Zimmerman, working in New York, got to bartering with a friend one day who offered a shotgun in trade for Zimmerman's watch. Zimmerman agreed, at which point the "friend" told him the shotgun was in Flushing, Michigan, a lumber town in Genesee County near Flint. The joke may have been on Zimmerman, but he went West anyway, got the gun and started for home - only to decide to stay in Flint. He went on to buy out the Corunna Road brick yard where he worked, and to become a city alderman and mayor. You never know how things are going to turn out.

Full Story:
http://www.mlive.com/news/fljournal/index.ssf?archive
Post Mon Sep 19, 2005 10:15 am 
 View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website Yahoo Messenger  Reply with quote  
Adam
F L I N T O I D

quote:
Steve Myers schreef:

11. 1953 Beecher tornado - The twister hit June 8, killing 116 people and destroying hundreds of buildings as it scoured a path just north of the city across most of Genesee and Lapeer counties. It didn't strike Flint, but reaction here helped define the community's can-do spirit in the 1950s. As hundreds pitched in, even Charles Stewart Mott (No. 102), then in his late 70s, was assigned as a carpenter's helper. Praise and awards for the lightning-speed rebuilding effort came from Look magazine and the Freedoms Foundation and included the National Civic League naming Flint its "All-American City" in 1954.

Twister History: Two deadly tornadoes
Post Thu Apr 12, 2012 12:17 pm 
 View user's profile Send private message  Reply with quote  
  Display posts from previous:      
Post new topic Reply to topic

Jump to:  


Last Topic | Next Topic  >

Forum Rules:
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum

 

Flint Michigan online news magazine. We have lively web forums

Website Copyright 2010 Flint Talk.com
Contact Webmaster - FlintTalk.com >