Monday, September 29, 2008

A Canadian rides to the rescue?

A tip of the cowboy hat to Susanne Grundison, a seemingly good-natured Canadian from British Columbia who purchased the Wild West home of Flint legend Roy "Gypsy Jack" Steffenson Jr. on eBay.

"The house intrigues me," she said. "I hope when I get there it continues to intrigue me."

Bryn Mickle, who appears to be almost single-handedly filling The Flint Journal with copy, tells the tale:

With a starting bid of $2,000, the house had just four bids before Grundison placed the final and winning bid.

Grundison, who lives in British Columbia, paid another $499 in closing costs and will also have to pay $626 in unpaid summer taxes.

Although she knows she is taking a risk buying a house based on a picture on the Internet, Grundison said with Gypsy Jack's colorful history she couldn't pass it up.

She has already looking for a local property manager to take a look inside and said she may fix it up as a rental, although it could be months before she gets a chance to visit her new acquisition.

But there is one thing she can't figure out given the house's lore: "Why does nobody in the United States want to buy it?" said Grundison.

Ahh, that's a good question, Susanne, but I'm sure the answer will be revealed on your first visit to The Vehicle City when you discover that the house is in a lot worse shape than the outdated eBay photo led you to believe. But let's not be negative. Here's hoping this is the start of better days for the former home of Gypsy Jack.


  1. I have enjoyed all the feedback, support and dialogue on my 'leap of faith'. I was contact by a neighbor of the home and she was kind enough to send me photos of the inside taken within the last 6 months. You are correct that the photo of the home in it's original glory is a far cry from where it is today. But, you can still see the good bones so there is still optimism. I am trying to get out there to visit the property before the bad weather comes, I may just have to organize boarding the home up just to leave it in the state it is now and come out in the spring/summer to start working on it when the weather is better. So please don't be offended if it is boarded up for now. If you could watch over it until I get there it would be appreciated. I have been reading up on Flint, your colorful history, your spirit, and am happy that you are all passionate about your neighbors. I look forward to meeting you all. Susanne Grundison

  2. ... tell her this is like the worst block on Hastings St. minus the junkies, but plus crack heads and a buncha more guns... I hope that cannon works for her sake...

  3. One time I saw Gypsy Jack, 10 gallon hat atop his head, stagger into the intersection of Lewis and Broadway and proceed to moon traffic in three directions. Ms. Grundison, you have yourself a truly historic peice of property.

  4. Now that's a visual that will take a while to get out of my head.... from the articles written and stories told, it sounds like Gypsy Jack was truly a character with a great spirit and someone who walked to the beat of his own drummer. Maybe there's a lesson there for all of us? Cheers! Susanne

  5. Well, that's a visual that is going to take a while to exit my brain, lol. From everything I have read Gypsy Jack loved his community and had a real flair for life..this colorful character can teach us all about living the moment and walking to the beat of our own drummer! Cheers! Susanne


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