Friday, July 25, 2008

Howdy, neighbor

This is 2406 Bassett Place, the former home of Art Bowden, the founder of King Arthur's Pasties. My old house is next door. You can see our garage on the right. I recently had a chance to reconnect with two of Art's daughters, Darcy and Lori, out of the blue. And now their old house is up for sale on ebay. The current high bid is $3,050.

The listing features a highly idealized (i.e. false) description of the Civic Park neighborhood and the rest of idealized it claims that Michigan State University is just two miles from Bassett Place and that there are practically more churches than houses in the hood. It also indicates that the ideal buyer would be a proud, church-going college professor who loves to golf:

"This home is located on a residential street in the heart of Flint's historic Civic Park neighborhood, where the homes are well maintained and where neighbors and residents take great pride in their homes and their community...Additionally, the home is also located across the street from Bassett Park, a large community park in Flint with a community center and recreational activities and events for residents. All of these neighborhood amenities make this an ideal home for a family with young children...The home is also close to several colleges, and Universities, for example, Michigan State University, the University of Michigan at Flint, Kettering University and Mott Community College are all located within 2 miles of the home, making this an attractive location for students and professors alike. Additionally, within a mile of the home you will find 34 churches! — a testament to the character of the neighborhood. For golf aficionados, the attractive Mott Park Golf Course, a picturesque and well maintained course is just a mile and a half away."

For those of you keeping track, the house went for $12,600. There were 51 bids. For a sense of Flint real estate trends, here's the past sales figures going back to the seventies:



  1. Hi-I'm Darcy and Lori's brother Dan. Thanks Gordy for maintaining this site-it really has stirred up a multitude of memories and feelings lately! Ebay's description was fairly accurate to when I was growing up, right up to when I left for the east coast in 1978. Though the "As Is/Where Is" stipulation says it all, It mostly describe the Civic Park of my childhood. I only wish that part was true! Oh well, still nice to see the old digs again on the inside and out-thanks again!

  2. Hey Dan, it's nice to hear from you. And you're right, it sounds like they lifted the description from an earlier era. If only the part about MSU being two miles away were true, then Flint would be a bustling college town. But then our old homes might be frat houses, which wouldn't be so great, either.

    Hope all is well with you.

  3. DBOW, I'm Chuck & Craig's sis Theresa. Hope all is well with you and your family. Still a musician? Chuck is back living in the Rochester, NY area. Rich Frost turned me onto this site. Great picture of him on the WTAC entry. Craig remarried about 10 years after Heather passed. Have a great "young at heart" rest of the summer!

  4. The last time I was in Civic Park was in about 1985. It was the Civic Park Bar as I recall. The neighborhood was so bad then that burglers used to break in and "leave" things! I don't remember what i was doing at the Civic Park Bar, but at least the Statute of Limitations has run.

    Great sight and great memories.

    All the best,

    Dave Barber
    Providence, RI

  5. The only place a professor should live within the city limits is Woodcroft.

  6. Duh-pressing. Check out

    There are MANSIONS in East VIllage and Woodcroft Estates for sale in the $300,000 range. The Burroughs mansion goes for less than some bungalows in Brooklyn... and those are just the desirable homes. Hundreds of homes in the sub $25,000 range. How many will sell? I hate to say it but some houses in Flint would be overpriced at $1. Ugh. Who could possibly want to fill all of these houses?

  7. Ohhhhhh but here is the best part... from the comps on the ebay listing...

    2409 Delmar St, 0.1 miles away, $277,500 sold 06/28/2007 - 3BR 1 BA.

    Now the key question: What the ???? the people who originated that mortgage and wrote that appraisal should be in jail. I will add this to the 700 other stories I have read that leave me firmly resolved that market forces should run their course, and let the crazy people loose money and get sued. Use my Tax dollars for some other wasteful purpose.

  8. Jim, I saw that and was wondering the same thing. 2409 Delmar is directly across the street from where my old pal Mark Rudolph lived. It was a typical home on the block. Nothing special and was next to a vacant lot where local kids used to ride bikes and, on occasion, motorcycles. Very strange valuation on that one. It's hard to believe someone's playing taxes on a 277k house on that street.

  9. Jim Holbel's comment got me interested, so I checked the city's online property tax records, and the $277,500 sale price for 2409 Delmar is pure fiction.

    The house sold for $18,000 on 10/22/97 on a land contract. It sold again on 6/19/07 for $18,000 and is currently owned by ALC Holdings in Houston, Texas, a self-described "Business Management" firm.

    So, being charitable, the comp listed on ebay was a mistake, or outright misinformation to make 2402 Bassett Place seem more appealing.

  10. Gordie,

    Seeing our house on the site really stirs things up. I just arrived in Ann Arbor this morning at 5:00 am with my girls. Darcy and I may take a drive to Flint to see for ourselves the state of our neighbor. If we do, we will document it for you.

    P.S. Dan, when I saw the landing on the stairs in the house photos, it totally brought back the memory of screaming to you to turn down the amplifier. "...TURN IT DOWN!!!" xo

  11. Lori,

    If you go, I'd love a report and some photos of the old neighborhood. And don't forget to stop by Balkan.

  12. Lori,

    If you go, I'd love a report and some photos of the old neighborhood. And don't forget to stop by Balkan.

  13. as a former Bassett Place dweller, i just had to chime in

    with all of the recent posts about Bassett Pl. and with Gordie posting a picture of his old house...i made a quick jaunt down old memory lane just to see for myself....i definitely remember Gordies house and the yellow K-Car
    station wagon

    also i remember 2406 it had a modern flair to the entry

    in driving down Bassett Pl i had to stop and back up for a second look...Wallace's house is gone...just an empty seems as though that house was one of the nicer ones on the block...not sure if it burned and then got torn down or what

  14. Oh ... Mother's Bread ... do they still make Mother's Bread at the Balkan?

  15. Slick,
    Kathy Wallace here...I would be happy to tell you what happened to our house...a slum landlord bought our house on land contract for around $21K in 1989 (my parents bought it for $16k in 1968). She rented it out to anyone who could pay month-to-month rent with the hopes that it would (literally) get run into the ground and never put any money into it for repairs. It got so bad that it was actually a danger (my brother almost fell through the floor boards to the basement when he visited a few years back). The city had to tear it down. Somehow, the landlord could actually turn a profit by NOT collecting rent and get some sort of tax benefit for depreciation. Perhaps this is the same "business" that ALC Holdings is in. The money just keeps flowing out of Flint.

    Do I sound bitter? I am. That house wasn't just nice, it was beautiful. It had a St. Charles kitchen that I would kill for today. It had a fire place, built in bookshelves, a lovely sunroom and a laundry shoot (I just didn't appreciate that at the time), along with many wonderful memories. In looking back, I think all the homes that were built by GM in that neighborhood would stand up to any McMansions built today in craftmenship(unless, of course, you beat the hell out of them).

    BTW, what house did you live in until 1987, Slick? Mrs. Casley's House or perhaps Mrs. Rumbaugh's?

    Hey Lori, get my email from Gordie. Wallace's want to catch up with you.

  16. Hi Kathy,

    Dave McDonald is my name...I lived in Casley's house, just the other side of Mike and Gail

    Although I was never inside your house I figured it was probably the nicest on the block...what a shame to destroy such a fine edifice.

    How are Mom and Dad? the last time I talked to your Dad was probably
    15-17 yrs ago...and if I recall they had moved to Circle Drive area.

    We bought the house in 81 and moved into it in 82 and stayed until 89 when the man who bought Rumbaughs house turned into a crack dealer and enough was enough, i remember Mike saying to me when i was heading out with the last load that he knew we were leaving but it had not sunk in until that moment.

    We loved the area when we first moved was still a nice section of the "inner city" but as you know unfortunately some good things do come to an end. was great hearing from you!!

  17. I can't remember the Casley's. Where did they live? Is that the house with the Chestnut tree?

    Oh, how I loved Mrs. Rumbaugh and the cannas she would bring for us all to plant in our front yards.

    I am feeling a bit nervous about visiting Bassett while in MI. Do you all think it is safe for me to take my girls to the old neighborhood? Darcy would accompany us.


  18. I was born on McClellan right across the street from where St. Lukes Church is. St. Lukes closed its doors this year... I may have photos if I can find them if interested. Not sure what will happen to it, but there's one church that's not accounted for in that Ebay listing. :0)

    1. I live in California now but have great memories of living at 121 Jamieson Street and going to St Lukes until 8th grade and moving in 1969. Our last name is Monarch. I would love to see some photos.

    2. Do you know the Crocketts or Jakubowskis?

  19. Teresa, great to hear from you! I remember you and your brothers well. I'm still playing, writing and teaching with the slab of wood and strings I fell in love with as an 8 year old on Bassett Place. It's been a great way to never grow up!



  20. hi grumkin - if you have a couple of pics of st. lukes i'd be really interested. my parents were founding members and very active for years before gradually migrating to SJV. you can send them to

  21. Hurry! 2406 Bassett only has hours left to be sold. It is up to $5,300. My husband was sure in the last hours of e-bay the bids would come pouring in. That's not happening.

  22. Hey Lori...we lived in Casley's house which is 2318 Bassett Pl
    it was one door south of Rumbaughs.

    I think you would be ok to take a drive down Bassett Pl it is actually not bad compared to Delmar and Humboldt which are in a very sad state

    in fact i drove by there on the way into work today just to check things out which i've done a couple of times here recently with all the chatter about Bassett Pl

    of course it's a lot different for me because i did not grow up there it was our first house after getting married....but for most of you it is a lot different because you spent some of your childhood there

    long story short....i think you'll be fine to check things out

  23. Hey Slick,
    Thank you so much for your thoughts on our "drive-by". I think we are going tomorrow. I needed reassurance and hearing that you went by there today helped.
    I will be sending my thoughts afterwards.

  24. Hey Everybody,
    I am Lori's daughter. I just wanted to say that we are going to my mom's old house on Bassett. I am looking at some pictures of their house.

  25. Hi Lori's daughter! When I was your age, I lived next door to your mom's old house. Flint can be an exciting place to visit. Have fun touring the old neighborhood.


Thanks for commenting. I moderate comments, so it may take a while for your comment to appear. You might enjoy my book about Flint called "Teardown: Memoir of a Vanishing City," a Michigan Notable Book for 2014 and a finalist for the 33rd Annual Northern California Book Award for Creative NonFiction. Filmmaker Michael Moore described Teardown as "a brilliant chronicle of the Mad Maxization of a once-great American city." More information about Teardown is available at