Monday, November 23, 2009

The Mystery of the House and the Factory

Can you name this street and this factory?


Tell us where to find this room with a view.


Where's this house?


So you think you know Flint? Expatriate and current New Yorker Shawn Chittle has offered up a challenge to readers. These screen shots were taken from a 16mm movie shot in 1977 in the Vehicle City. Where is this street? Where is this factory? And where is this house?

Shawn has a few ideas, but let's see what you can come up with. This is sort of an industrial version of the Mystery Shots by Mary Fisher post a while back.

Update:

Anonymous said...

Looks like a neighborhood behind AC..... unclebuck Pitkin??

November 23, 2009 9:36 AM

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Gerry Godin said...

I believe that is Mathewson and Bluff st, showing the building that was used as a parts warehouse in the 70's. I also think it was used for Chevy Personnel. I hired in at that building. The water tower is located at the powerhouse on the Flint River at Chevrolet ave. On Google maps that house is still standing.

November 23, 2009 9:11 AM

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Anonymous said...

Is it Cadillac St. facing Bluff right behind the GMI apartments. I guess it could be any of those streets down through there, looks like Chevy in the hole though from memory.

November 23, 2009 9:13 AM

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Anonymous said...

This is embarrassing. I worked at Chevy parts in the hole in the sixties and didn't even catch the locale. My memory must be fading fast...unclebuck PS. The four factories I worked at,- I thought were indelibly etched in my mind.

November 23, 2009 10:58 AM

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grumkin said...

My guess: one of those side streets between W. Court and Glenwood Ave. (ie. Fox, Thayer, Hazleton)....

November 23, 2009 11:27 AM

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Cooley's Dictum said...

I think anonymous has it right. Look at the change in the color of the street pavement -- reddish to grayish -- as if from brick to blacktop. While Mathewson (named for surveyor Stephen Mathewson, by the way) also runs south from 3rd to Bluff, parallel to Cadillac -- Cadillac was, into contemporary times, brick north of 3rd. Mathewson, as near as I can remember, was never brick. ( ...though, I will, of course, defer to Gerry or any Mathewson resident.)

November 23, 2009 12:34 PM

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Tom Wirt said...

I think it's Chevy in the Hole, on Bluff Street, viewed from Cadillac Street in the first photo, and from Mathewson Street in the third photo. The room with a view must be near the corner of Mathewson & Bluff.

Here is a photo of the Chevrolet building on Bluff Street taken in 1995:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/92726077@N00/4129109814/in/set-72157594414829203/

Here is a more recent photo of the Mathewson & Bluff Street area:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/92726077@N00/3652865723/in/set-72157594414829203/

November 23, 2009 12:57 PM

A Further Update:


View Larger Map

Here's a Google Map looking down Mathewson toward Bluff. That looks a lot like the house in the photo on the right. Notice the porch post if you zoom in on it.




Another Update: Mystery Solved

Shawn Chittle says:

YOU GUYS NAILED IT! I had my suspicions it was near Cadillac & Bluff Streets but your confirmation is all I needed. Great Google map that is exactly the house. Wow. Just wow.

I worked at the Chevy-In-The-Hole factory summers 1992-1994, well it was one of my runs along with every other GM factory back then. I was a document courier. We called Chevy "AC West." and the one on Center Road "AC East."

Being a dumb, stupid, kid I didn't know how historical or significant the place was. I was just trying to get out of Flint as fast as possible.

These photos are screen caps from a movie called "With Babies & Banners" a 1977 Academy Award nominated movie about the Sit Down Strike as told from the Women's Auxiliary Brigade. 1977 was the height of the ERA movement and this film certainly bolstered the idea these women were not to be messed with.

They wore berets, armbands, and carried slapjacks, wooden sticks and took sh** from no one. They fought with the police, GM security, and were captured in "Roger & Me" smashing the factory windows out when GM gassed the workers. Without them the Strike might not have been won.

Their fearless (literally, fearless) leader, Genora Johnson, is someone who, after discovering and reading more about, has rapidly moved to the top of my "coolest people who ever lived" list.

Her book "Not Automatic" is required reading and is available at Amazon.com

Remember the little kids striking with the signs? Remember in particular the little 2 year old that had a sign that read "Our Daddy Strikes For Us Little Tykes" that was Jarvis Johnson, Genora's two year old son. He died in a car accident a few years after that photo was taken.

I have "With Babies & Banners" on DVD - it was never released to the public. It's beyond belief and one of my most prized possessions.

It's a very emotional, heart-wrenching film, and parts of the movie are too hard to watch. It will choke you up big time.

Thanks again Gordie for the venue and to everyone for your time!

More mysteries to come...

13 comments:

  1. I believe that is Mathewson and Bluff st, showing the building that was used as a parts warehouse in the 70's. I also think it was used for Chevy Personnel. I hired in at that building. The water tower is located at the powerhouse on the Flint River at Chevrolet ave. On Google maps that house is still standing.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Is it Cadillac St. facing Bluff right behind the GMI apartments. I guess it could be any of those streets down through there, looks like Chevy in the hole though from memory.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Looks like a neighborhood behind AC..... unclebuck Pitkin??

    ReplyDelete
  4. This is embarrassing. I worked at Chevy parts in the hole in the sixties and didn't even catch the locale. My memory must be fading fast...unclebuck PS. The four factories I worked at,- I thought were indelibly etched in my mind.

    ReplyDelete
  5. My guess: one of those side streets between W. Court and Glenwood Ave. (ie. Fox, Thayer, Hazleton)....

    ReplyDelete
  6. I think anonymous has it right. Look at the change in the color of the street pavement -- reddish to grayish -- as if from brick to blacktop. While Mathewson (named for surveyor Stephen Mathewson, by the way) also runs south from 3rd to Bluff, parallel to Cadillac -- Cadillac was, into contemporary times, brick north of 3rd. Mathewson, as near as I can remember, was never brick. ( ...though, I will, of course, defer to Gerry or any Mathewson resident.)

    ReplyDelete
  7. I think it's Chevy in the Hole, on Bluff Street, viewed from Cadillac Street in the first photo, and from Mathewson Street in the third photo. The room with a view must be near the corner of Mathewson & Bluff.


    Here is a photo of the Chevrolet building on Bluff Street taken in 1995:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/92726077@N00/4129109814/in/set-72157594414829203/

    Here is a more recent photo of the Mathewson & Bluff Street area:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/92726077@N00/3652865723/in/set-72157594414829203/

    ReplyDelete
  8. My question is, where is this video located?

    ReplyDelete
  9. YOU GUYS NAILED IT! I had my suspicions it was near Cadillac & Bluff Streets but your confirmation is all I needed. Great Google map that is exactly the house. Wow. Just wow.

    I worked at the Chevy-In-The-Hole factory summers 1992-1994, well it was one of my runs along with every other GM factory back then. I was a document courier. We called Chevy "AC West." and the one on Center Road "AC East."

    Being a dumb, stupid, kid I didn't know how historical or significant the place was. I was just trying to get out of Flint as fast as possible.

    These photos are screen caps from a movie called "With Babies & Banners" a 1977 Academy Award nominated movie about the Sit Down Strike as told from the Women's Auxiliary Brigade. 1977 was the height of the ERA movement and this film certainly bolstered the idea these women were not to be messed with.

    They wore berets, armbands, and carried slapjacks, wooden sticks and took sh** from no one. They fought with the police, GM security, and were captured in "Roger & Me" smashing the factory windows out when GM gassed the workers. Without them the Strike might not have been won.

    Their fearless (literally, fearless) leader, Genora Johnson, is someone who, after discovering and reading more about, has rapidly moved to the top of my "coolest people who ever lived" list.

    Her book "Not Automatic" is required reading and is available at Amazon.com

    Remember the little kids striking with the signs? Remember in particular the little 2 year old that had a sign that read "Our Daddy Strikes For Us Little Tykes" that was Jarvis Johnson, Genora's two year old son. He died in a car accident a few years after that photo was taken.

    I have "With Babies & Banners" on DVD - it was never released to the public. It's beyond belief and one of my most prized possessions.

    It's a very emotional, heart-wrenching film, and parts of the movie are too hard to watch. It will choke you up big time.

    Thanks again Gordie for the venue and to everyone for your time!

    More mysteries to come...

    ReplyDelete
  10. Great view from the window.

    ReplyDelete
  11. @ Mr Chittle: Any way you could upload "With Babies & Banners" to the internets (Google video, perhaps?) I would be VERY interested in viewing it, as my Great-Great-Uncle was part of the Sit-down Strike, and my Great-Great-Grandmother may have been a part of the "Babies and Banners" brigade, I do know she forced her way into "The Hole" with a huge pan of Stuffed Cabbage Rolls during the Strike (I come from a Hungarian ancestry)... I faintly remember her telling of stories of being involved with some "minor-violence" regarding the Strike, though she passed away 30 years ago....

    ReplyDelete
  12. I treasure my copy of "With Babies and Banners" as one of my prized possessions but alas it is a videotape version. I would love to get my hands on a dvd version (I had suspected that it was not available) and certainly would like any suggestions toward that end. It was around the time of the debut of the film in the 70s that my wife and I began attending the reunions of the UAW pioneers held, at the time, in Flushing Park. We became very good friends with Nellie Simons (Hendrix), a member of the Women's Emergency Brigade with Genora, and the sole woman in the 80 member negotiating committee that negotiated the first agreement with GM. Any suggestion for accessing a DVD of the movie would be appreciated!!

    ReplyDelete
  13. I haven't found a digital version, but I did come across this website where you can purchase the VHS version (for those who do not have it, but who have lots of money instead)...

    http://www.newday.com/films/With_Babies_and_Banners.html

    ReplyDelete

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