Sunday, December 21, 2008

Memories of Civic Park and Sears Kit Houses

Flint Expatriate Roadsidedinerlover looks back at the Flint houses she remembers...

My earliest Flint memories were of my loving grandparents, Marguerite and David. Their home [left] was built by my grandfather from a Sears kit in 1920. I think their home was the one called 'The Bandon."

My grandmother was a homemaker who made incredible meals and lemon meringue pies that I still dream about. My grandfather was a tool and die maker for the Buick factory. He came to Flint because
they would not hire him as an Irish Catholic man in Boston.

My mother was the first born child and then came my uncle. Both of them grew up in the Civic Park area on Mt. Elliott Avenue and attended Civic Park school. They had aunts and uncles who lived in the area as well. The earliest photos I have of them as children show Civic Park with few trees and only a handful of houses. My mother told me that there used to be a streetcar that ran down Dayton Street and then turned onto Detroit Street to take her and her mother downtown. This would have been in the early 1930s. On the corner of Dayton and Detroit was an A&P store where I would go shopping with my grandmother. I always thought "Ann Page" was a real woman.

I loved sitting on my Grandma's porch. One day she was upset and crying because a little boy from across the street had been hit and killed on Chevrolet Avenue. There was so much love in that house. The first time I saw it again after my uncle sold it, I was dumbstruck by its condition. I did not know it had been repossessed by a local mortgage company. I wish I could win the lottery and buy it and fix it up. This is a just one of many houses in Civic Park that are tattered and torn up. So many emotions come over me...anger and sorrow being the strongest ones. Anger towards
General Motors is my primary one.


My great Aunt Emma's house [left] is on Dayton across from Civic Park school. There used to be a large Coca Cola sign on one of the stores across the street. It was a great soda fountain shop and drugstore I believe. I remember going there and having something sugary to eat. This store was right down from the Balkan Bakery. I would love going to see my aunt and seeing all of her old furniture from the past. She had a Hoosier Cabinet in her kitchen and a clawfoot bath tub upstairs. This home was occupied the last time I saw it about 5 years ago.

14 comments:

  1. Boxed up in the basement somewhere I have an old street map of Flint's trolley system. I'll have to dig it out one of these days.

    One could always tell where the trolley ran, though, map or not. The width of the pavement from curb to curb would be inordinately wider along the route of the trolley -- Franklin from Davison to Delaware for example, and Delaware between Franklin and Lewis. This extra width was needed to accomodate one lane of automobile traffic in opposing directions plus the trolley down the middle.

    When the trolley rails were removed, the pavement would seem too wide for just two lanes of cars, but too narrow for four.

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  2. I'd always wondered why Delaware and Franklin were wide in those areas; now I'll have to look out for other streets like that.

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  3. Sadly, the Sears model homes are now called "A-Bandon"...

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  4. I don't remember the A and P store at Dayton and Detroit. I remember it at Dayton and Dupont. south east corner-still there and used to be a PO storage pickup.

    that drugstore across from Civic Park was next door to the laundrymat I used even after I left home in 1972. I had an apartment at Stewart and Fleming-and would walk or take the bus to do laundry, get a cherry coke and a loaf of bread-then fill up on sci fi reads at the library before going home. All my frie3nds from Powers/St Lukes/St Mikes lived in this area-just that I was the only one living on my own as a senior and having a full time job and going to school didn't leave much time for normal teen stuff.

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  5. Trolleys also ran along Lippincott, Stewart, E. Hamilton, 3rd Ave, 2nd St., Crapo, Industrial, Wager (?!), Glenwood, and Asylum. 6th St. is also VERY wide, however I've never seen any evidence of trolleys running down that street.

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  6. I spent a lot of time in the Civic Park library, which is apparently closed now.

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  7. You said you had a sence of anger towards GM. Don't blame them for the condition of Civic Park these days. Blame the people who live there now.

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  8. Apparently by '36 the trolley railcars were gone in favor of trolley buses. This link has many photos and a couple maps of the trolley bus routes.

    http://www.trolleybuses.net/fnt/fnt.htm

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  9. Hey Cooley...I would love to see that map pictured here and where the cars traveled.

    My mistake about the streets.The streetcar traveled down Dayton to Dupont where the A&P was located ton on the corner of Dayton and Dupont....
    I am angry towards GM because they abandoned Flint and took alot of money and jobs with them. How can the owners (and most of them are RENTERS I believe!) fix up the neighborhoood when there are no public funds let alone personal funds? The tax base is going, going...gone...(soon)

    RoadsideDinerLover

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  10. Roadside -- I'll see what I can do but it'll take a while. There's a lot of boxes, a lot of maps, and no index. (Hangs head in shame for his indolence over the years.)

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  11. Wager doesn't surprise me all that much; it was near Buick and probably ran off of Industrial.

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  12. What a great site! I love and miss the od Flint. The pictures are amazing! Thanks

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  13. Rereading this older post reminded me of a cute childhood memory about the Dayton and Dupont St. A&P. They had a great fresh fish counter in 1956 that puts our modern grocery stores to shame. This was before freezing everything was popular so every Saturday afternoon before closing they would reduce that week's leftover Great Lake Smelts to 10 cents a pound. By today's cost even the fresh price must have been awsome but I don't remember it. They packaged them in amounts too large for immediate use so my mom allowed me to throw several to a few neighborhood cats along Dayton St. No one had inside cats in 1957 so it didn't take too many Saturday's untl the cats caught on and brought all their friends. My mom and I usually lead a parade of screaming cats down Dayton St. to our house every Saturday afternoon.

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  14. I lived on Proctor st for awhile and my Grand mother lived on Dartmouth. Here is the link for the Flint Trolley System http://www.trolleybuses.net/fnt/fnt.htm I have a photo of my guitar taken in the open area north of Civic Park school. Here's that link www.myspace.com/purrsuit . You can also find some trolley info here http://buickcity.blogspot.com/ We all have a lot of memories and story's to tell.

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