|Flint want's the new Chevrolet company to locate in their hometown.Chevrolet incorporated 1915.|
|This is the less seldom seen photo of the first prototype classic six Chevrolet, the one Billy Durant did not like at all and eventually led to his and Louis Chevrolet's parting. Durant is in the middle with black trench coat and wearing a "Bowler / Derby" hat. Chevrolet is in the white "Duster" off to the right. Durant's son William is at the wheel . I think that is Durant's daughter Margery in the seat next to Will. Other well known's are A.B.C. Hardy directly behind Chevrolet who made the first mass produced automobile in Flint. "Big Bill" Little is standing directly behind the gentleman in the unbuttoned white duster next to Chevrolet. Can you spot anymore? Click here for another view.|
|William Durant hard at work.|
|Here is the first Chevrolet on a test drive by Louis Chevrolet in Detroit.|
|In 1912 when Billy Durant first brought Chevrolet to Flint from Detroit this is where they were assembled. This is the old Imperial Wheel factory on Flints north side that supplied the wheels for the first Buick built on the west side on Kearsley Street. It seems funny to think about it now but the First Buick factory in Flint was located where Chevrolet created it's empire at "The Chevy In The Hole " site and the first Chevrolet factory in Flint was located where Buick made it's fortunes. History is sometimes strange. Click here for more on this building. |
|The announcement that Chevrolet bought the property that we all know as "Chevy In The Hole".|
|A view in 1915 looking north up Wilcox street before the change to Chevrolet avenue. Notice the bluff here before it was removed for the street to go through. I remember the one lane street that was blocked off that used to go through to Court street in the old days. As a kid that fascinated me. When I lived in downtown Flint in 1981 -82 the property I lived on was about 1 acre and was bounded by 9th , Grand Traverse and Church street with old 10th street closed off in the back lot. The kids had their own paved street to ride bikes on. Factory #4 engine has not been built yet in this photo Chevrolet expansion 1916.|
|This was actually published Nov 17, 1916. News for 1917 expansions.|
|Winter of 1917 Chevrolet construction. |
|Sloan just entering the passenger side of the best selling Chevrolet for the 1927 model year. This is the Capital Series AA 2-door Coach. That is factory #6 in the background.|
|Some students taking a break for a photo op on May 2, 1928.|
|This is William (Bunkie) Knudsen congratulating Alfred P. Sloan in front of the 4 millionth Chevrolet. I have many photos with Sloan in them but he was and still is not very well liked by union men. Some of the old sit-down strikers would not set a foot inside the Sloan museum in Flint because of his name associated with it. This area located at the east end of factory #2 was called the "Cow shed". 'If anybody knows why please let us know'. This is facing south-west.|
|Plant manager Charles F. Barth on the left and G.M. President William Knudsen , shown below in 1941, with the 4 millionth Chevrolet. This north-east view shows a piece of factory #6 across the Flint river at the right. |
|The same as above only more suits in attendance. Notice the steam engine in the background. This view is facing north-east from behind the assembly plant #2. On the bluff in the distance lined with homes is obviously 'Bluff street'.|
|The floor plan for Fisher Body #2-a in 1944 while doing war work. This diagram would have the first and second floors with north being at the top. Chevrolet Avenue would be at the right with the Flint river along the bottom. Compare the office area kick-out and rail line with the photo below for your reference points. Notice the 49 foot kick-out at the north west corner on the diagram of the second floor (at top) and compare that with the photo below and you will see where the major addition was done along the entire 900 foot length of the north wall of #2-a. The 90 mm gun work done here would have had final assembly across town at the Buick factory. Follow this link for a look at that work. Follow this link for a look at the Pratt & Whitney assembly location at the Buick Melrose factory near Chicago. The armored car assembly was done directly across the street from here in factory #2 as shown in the following photos. Chevrolet engines built here during the war were used in many different vehicles. War history.|
|Notice the kick-out of the office area to the south on Chevrolet Avenue at the top right and compare that with the diagram above. Also notice the rail line as your reference point. The Flint river is where the tree line is at the right. This photo from after the war shows a major addition on the north side of the factory. The 49 foot extension to the west rear of the factory was on the second floor only (compare that with the diagram shown above).|
|Turret assembly for the armored car called the Staghound. This is in one of the two wings of the U shaped factory #2 assembly. Staghound registry site.|
|Finished armored car in the audit area known as the Cow shed getting finishing touches.|
|The armored car on the assembly line in factory #2 assembly in World War II.|
|A 37mm main gun is on this armored car called a 'Staghound'. These were built in Chevrolet factory #2 in Flint, Michigan,|
|Here is the assembly line in Chevrolet factory #2 during World War 2. This is the armored car shown above being built.|
|The Personnel building being built on Kearsley Street. Not sure of a date yet other than before World War II.|
|Here are newly laid off workers in 1942 outside the personnel building on Kearsley street. They are only laid off while changeover is done for war production. |
|This is some hood stamping going on in factory #6 which were shown previously farther above. These look like the separate hood segments being produced during World War II and post war trucks for the military half ton which even included an early Suburban model. The post war models were identical. Click here for a view of the Suburban split hood.|
|Management in front of the main office on Chevrolet Avenue. This building was numbered #1 and we are facing east with the corner of Bluff Avenue at the north end.|
|Office workers at quitting time. That is the main office behind them on Chevrolet Avenue. This is facing north. |
|This south facing view shows Chevrolet #3 Parts and Service at Mathewson & Bluff Street. Go here for a discussion on this photo from the Flint Expatriate site from a few years back.|
|Here is an identification card for Doris Wright who once worked here.|
|This machine is forming flat steel into exhaust pipe.|
This photo was just labeled as factory #2 by David White at Kettering University but he has made many obvious errors (proof reading)since I first encountered his published works in 1985 it is actually anybody's guess. I make the same mistakes on this blog but I can fix them. A published work needs to be proof read (I believe) by the person who knows the facts. I was never in factory #2 so I have no personal knowledge. The cement ceiling configuration certainly does not look like any I have seen from confirmed factory #2 photos. Maybe someone will recognize it. Whatever the ladies are assembling seems to require three different wires. I know it would seem strange to have a part that seems like it should be made at A.C. being built in the final assembly plant. But I am reminded of when I worked in factory #4 on the six line and the machines that made the head bolts was only 20 feet away. Frank Frey Jr. says: I grew up in Flint and graduated from Southwestern High School in 1963. My
parents also grew up in Flint: my mother’s father was a sheet metal worker
at Chevy and my Dad’s father was a machinist and a draftsman at both Buick
and at Chevy. My Dad worked in the personnel department at Chevy for over
30 years after he was honorably discharged from the Army Air Corps in 1946.
A few months before Kennedy was shot, I enrolled in Flint Community Junior
College (now C S Mott Community College) and after two years at FCJC, I
transferred my credits to the University of Michigan [in Ann Arbor] and emerged
in December 1967 with a BSE degree in aerospace engineering. Since graduating
from Michigan, I have worked and lived in Florida. About 1978, my parents retired
and moved to Florida as well.
My education was financed by part time jobs during the school year and by full time
work at Chevrolet [Flint Manufacturing] during the summers of 1964 through 1967.
In August my wife and I attended the 50th class reunion of SWHS and, while we were
in Flint, we spent a few hours at the Sloan Museum and a museum annex called the
“Buick Gallery and Research Center”. The photos and exhibits started me thinking
about those summers in Plants 2, 2A, 4 and 9 as well as the “covered bridge” over
When I got back to Florida, I started searching the Internet for postings related to General
Motors and Chevrolet, Flint Manufacturing. Eventually I turned up your web site (or “blog”).
The material you have assembled is really a historical treasure and I sincerely thank you for
the time and effort you have put into it.
I have downloaded the photos and the text so that I can show them to my Dad who lives
about 40 minutes away from me. I've tried to get him involved in email and the INTERNET;
but, his neuropathy makes using a mouse (or any pointing device) difficult. I upgraded
his TV a few months ago and using the USB port on it, he can look over the photos with
me or by himself.
Since he worked for 35 years at Chevy and was standing at Glenwood and Chevrolet
Avenue when the gunfire started in 1937, he may be able to contribute to the narratives
on some of the photos. I’ll pass along his comments if you would be interested in
looking them over.
Frank Frey, Jr More from Frank Frey Jr. An alternate explanation : Looking over the photos, my Dad identified number 144 (of 179) as
“Unitizing Parts in Plant 3“. He said that he hired a number of women for this
“light assembly work which could be performed while sitting down”.
As I understand the job, it involved counting parts and sealing them in individual
packages. The packages were [probably] tagged with a part number or assembly
number and then shipped to various dealerships or held in national or regional
distribution centers if there was little demand at the dealership level.
I am guessing that the parts being packaged may have come from other
divisions [in other states] as well as Flint Manufacturing and may have been as
diverse as plastic radio push-buttons, carburetor gasket kits, and wheel bearings.
Don’t know this for a fact though.
In the summer of 1964 I worked in “Parts” on the 2nd floor of Plants 2 and 2A. The job was pulling
orders for large sheet metal parts (fenders, doors, door skins and bus tops) as well as smaller
stampings and many “unitized” parts. I seem to recall shipping parts like windshields,
too: these would have definitely not originated in Flint. One thing I do recall was a roof
& rear deck skin for the 1963 split window Corvette coupes. There were about a dozen
of these in a “bin” at the head of one of the warehouse aisles. We never shipped one
while I was there and a person could probably buy a house in Flint with what they would
sell for today.
Frank Gerry says: It's people like this that help keep history alive and correct. Thanks so much for your help; I can use all I can get Frank...thanks to your father and you.
|Metal stamping in factory #8.|
|Chevy Metal Fab.|
|Chevy Metal Fab.|
|Chevy Metal Fab. On Bristol Road in Flint, Michigan.|
|Labeled as piston molding. That is all I know.|
|This view was taken from the south bank of the Flint river just east of the Chevrolet bridge. The #11 powerhouse is on the left with factory #2 in the background. The small building is #29 ( I'm not sure of it's purpose) and the rather small two story brick structure was #13 maintenance.|
|Here is the powerhouse #11 with factory #2 directly north.|
|A nice view of #11 during demolition.|
|These three color photos taken by Mary Dugas are from a Leonard Thygesen documentary on the demolition at the Chevrolet site. To contact Leonard Click here.|
|This looks like when I worked in factory #4 . 'This worker looks familiar'. I originally thought this was the north annex (original Mason plant) of #4 but I do not remember ever seeing those large round pillars (shown behind the crank line) if anyone knows give a shout. They did do work like this in #4 when I was there. I'm not sure but this looks like he is doing a rough grind here.|
|Making gas tanks in factory #10.|
|This photo is sometime shortly after 1974 judging by the newly remodeled Freight-liner tractor backed into the dock just beyond the vehicle bridge across the Flint river. 'This is when I worked here'. Factory #2 at the right is I believe a die and stamping plant at that time. I recall they were making bumpers here then. The book this came from stated the large silos at the left held plastic pellets, so there must have been an injection molding facility nearby for plastic parts. Further research is required. Notice only one smoke stack visible on the powerhouse #11. The photographer just so happened to be lined up so the west stack is hidden by the original east stack.|
|The drafting department in a wing of factory #2. Notice the pillars and ceiling. This is how both of the north and south wings would have been.|
|Here are V8 engine blocks being machined possibly in factory #5 or it could be the Van Slyke V8 plant. The engine blocks from plant #5 made their way to the assembly plant #4 across Chevrolet Avenue by way of a tunnel under the street. In either plant 'This was a very dirty place to work'.|
|This is an open house in 1970. The view is facing east along the south wall of factory #6. This particular area with the vented roof structure was not part of the original factory and was added at a later time. The long wall with no windows which originally had them (see the photo below showing the exact same view from 1928) is part of the original factory and also has a vented roof structure, only running opposite to this one. The overhead steam lines are connected to factory #7 which was the stores and maintenance factory and also included the dynomometer engine test facility at this time but historically was a pressed metal plant. The placard placed inside the bus windshield says Bluff Street but it looks like they entered from Stevenson Street. The placards have probably already been changed and the bus will cross the bridge (just out of site in this photo to the left) across the Flint river and then on to Bluff. The banners read "Chevrolet Flint MFG. Pressed Metal Div. Welcomes You To Our Open House".|
|This north view of factory #6 is from 1928 and shows some of the workers. Look at the photo above for the 1970 view of this area.|
|This night view from 1937 taken from the north side of the Flint river shows first factory #6 followed by #7 and finally #8.|
|Clutch springs being inspected in factory #8.|
|This north-east view counting factory's from the right we have first #8 then #7 followed by #6 at the far left which was the first built in this group. The location of #8 and #7 is the historical location of the Flint Wagon Works on west Kearsley Street. The Flint river is at the left.|
|Making fans in factory #8.|
|Grinding valves in factory #9. I worked overtime in this factory gauging finished valves.|
|Shells being made during World War II. I'm not sure of the factory or even if this is in Flint. The book from Kettering says this is factory #2 but as I've said you can't trust the author and his books or maybe he just does not do the research himself. I've had the same problem with the Buick archives stored in the Buick Research center in Flint. Someone back in the early seventy's had labeled many of the photos wrong. If your a researcher always be suspect of all information anywhere.'Do your own work'! You really need to take the time to do it yourself or you run the risk of perpetuating wrong information. This happens quite often with reporters and authors who have a deadline to make. The old trade journals also have questionable information even though it was done at the time of the incident. All I can stress is: 'Be Careful'. 'We all make mistakes'.|
|Engine painting in factory #4. This is the same as shown below. When I worked here the engines were all pulled off the line and hooked up to fuel and water and started just before reaching paint. At least every half hour or so you could hear one that was a failure.|
|This looks the same as when I was in factory #4. In my time the V8's were Chevrolet red (orange) with the six cylinder blue.|
|Here is piston installation in factory #4. Notice in the background there is a parallel six cylinder line. In my time that was a V8 line.|
|This is the same job I first did in factory #4. The only difference is when I did it I also had a multiple air wrench for tightening the valve cover. I also placed the rubber oil filler plug in place. We did 165 per hour in an 8 hour shift with a twenty minute paid lunch and 16 minute pre- lunch break and a 10 minute after lunch break. The line run 24 hours a day. We did have a nice cafeteria but you only had time to visit it if your break would happen to coincide with your 20 minute lunch. I really hated working at Chevrolet. Thank goodness Buick called me back after 9 months. Then I transferred for 5 years to Bay City Powertrain. I found out they had it better than all the places I had worked before. 'Working the machine floor was the way to go' At Buick you needed many years for that privilege. Click here for comparisons between Buick and Chevy.|
|This shows Robert Gathman on the left and then General Motors President Pete Estes with the first Lordstown ,Ohio Chevrolet in 1965. My car is almost identical to this one except mine has a vinyl top. Go here for photos of my car during restoration.|
|This is my 1966 Chevrolet Caprice. This car was built September 23, 1965 and was #344 built at the factory shown below.|
|Here is a Thomas Wirt photo. From Bluff Street facing south. |