Saturday, January 31, 2009

Flint Postcards: Smith Building (Later the Sill Building)


  1. First building in Flint that employed an internal framework of structural steel. Like so many other "firsts", it's gone. Gone in the name of........well, I've forgotten why.

    Oh, wait. Demolished for construction of Flint Festival Marketplace in the early Eighties which is, of course, also gone, the concept at least if not the building. Gone in the name of.....well, I've forgotten why.

    Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

  2. Now that there was a good looking building. So slender. Can a building be svelte?

  3. I spent many hours going into the Sill Building or, rather, the Flint P. Smith Building as my dad always refered to it. He worked at Darby & Son Real Estate and his office looked down on Saginaw St. which was both good and bad. Good because I could walk downtown after school at Central, ride up on the elevator after being greeted like a VIP by the nice lady who ran it because I was Vern McFarlane's daughter. No, there were no self service elevators in those days. As I remember my mission was mostly to mooch money and go to the Honey Dell and get a ice cream soda. Dad always came through with the warning, "Don't tell Mama." The greatest perk was my mother and I always had a great view of every parade on Saginaw St.

    Another one of the bad things was the time my dad was looking out the window he caught me trying to go into the Rialto Theater across the street, which was off bounds to me. I never have been able to find out what went on in there. It was run by Max Geeler who lived around the block from us near Kearsley Park Blvd. His daughter Sally was a casual friend and as I remember very pretty. So the postcard of the Sill Building filled my heart with many Flint memories, especially of my great Dad.

  4. It took forever to knock that building down! It was solid.

    1. I always think how great it would have been if UM-Flint would have repurposed some of these great old buildings like the Sill for the campus.


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