Saturday, April 25, 2009

Central High on Center Road?

Gary Flinn provides a brief and often surprising history of Central High School in The Flint Journal:
There was talk in the 1960s of building a new Central High School at the corner of Center Road and Lippincott Boulevard where Walli Strasse Drive now runs through. But in the 1970s, the Board of Education decided to keep the existing Central High because it was structurally sound and at a better location.

12 comments:

  1. Würstside WarlørdApril 25, 2009 at 7:53 AM

    Build all four high schools at the margins of the city? I guess the land was cheaper and more abundant there. Was the city planning to annex Burton? Beecher? Flint Twp?

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  2. Good God, now the Powers Board of Education will get another idea...

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  3. Thanks for the memories,Gordon. I found you while searching for Flint Musical Tent stuff for a blog post. And thanks for all the bells ringing in my geriatric brain. Center Road and Lippincott. Is the Atherton Methodist Church still there? I was involved when it was on Atherton Road.

    Clif Martin, now in Muskegon

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  4. >Was the city planning to annex Burton? Beecher? Flint Twp?

    The answer is yes, they tried to annex a great deal of land, in 1958, so that the total area was 162 square miles. It would have been the largest area of any city in Michigan. It didn't pass.

    Grand Rapids managed to annex 21 square miles, to a total of 45, about the same time, and succeeded.

    One could argue that it would have slowed some of the problems, but now, we see that the whole state is affected. In the long run, it still might not have mattered. The problems of Flint have merely preceded the problems of the nation, unless we reverse course on many "global" issues.

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  5. I was away, living in Alaska when this issue was being debated. It was a petty big deal back then. Wasn't it put to a referendum vote?

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  6. I was very young when this happened. There was even a brief account in the Encylopedia Britannica about it back then. They tried more and more modest attempts over the years, but the next most aggressive attempt was in 1961 as I recall.

    By the late 1960s, minorities heavily opposed it because of the power shift it would bring. With both the proposed annexed population against it and an urban opposition, attempts were later only tried for unpopulated parcels.

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  7. I recall this matter as a young man inquiring of his older mentor.

    About '69 or '70 Flint owned about 40 acres at that locale. (It showed up on the Rockford atlases.) Being new to the survey-real-estate business I asked my mentor -- what's this parcel on the atlas showing Flint ownership that is clearly outside city limits? He replied -- it's the future Central High School.

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  8. Much of the land that has been annexed since 1920 as I recall has been city owned and city controlled property and special tax deals. One article said that the 1960 City Limits were the same as 1920. It was something like 29 square miles for many years. The latest area I can find is 34.5 square miles.

    Kearsley Lake Property, Northwestern HS, Northern HS, The South Flint Plaza, The Northwest Shopping Center, Bishop Airport, and the General Motors Complex on Van Slyke and Bristol are the only ones I can think off off hand. There was another on the northeast side which was two square miles but it was either not completed or reverted to Genesee Township.

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  9. The best and most up to date maps showing the city limits were from Fred F. Johnson Maps, which became Metro Graphic Arts. Not too long ago, I saw a movie on cable which had a scene with a Detroit area map where you could see the "Metro Graphic Arts" logo if you knew where to look. Can't remember the movie though. Detroit's city limits have been the same for decades.

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  10. Apples and oranges, Anonymous, as city limits do not necessarily define the extent of lands the city might own. Fred Johnson/Metro Graphic produced a fine product but it was primarily a street/municipal boundary endeavor. The Rockford maps were cadastral in nature and listed the owners of the larger parcels when the map scale and parcel size allowed.

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  11. There are two issues here in the discussion, annexation history and city owned land. It appears that Metro Graphic Arts, now based in Gwinn, rather than Grand Rapids, does some maps of the type you referred to. Generally, plat maps would show the owner of the property. I agree that city boundaries would not show city owned land that had not been annexed. But most, if not all, of the parcels annexed were city owned or there was some sort of city service provision, such as water and sewer, or some type of tax abatement, which applied to the V-8 Pressed Metal complex and the area north of Carpenter Rd. and extending to Stanley Rd., which was not annexed. I assume that the Kearsley Lake property had to do with the water department.

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  12. So if Central were relocated to Center Road, what would they have done with the original building? I know the original Northern was reused as Flint Academy prior to its' demolition.

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