Friday, August 13, 2010

Flint Photos: Bassett Park Panoramic

Flint's Bassett Place. (Click to enlarge)

 I wanted to re-post this item from Jan 11, 2010 after getting a great comment on the micro history of Bassett Place from an anonymous reader:
Wow, I am really glad I came across this site. I believe I am probably the last "baby" to grow up on Bassett Place and actually make it out with a Flint education that was useful and now allows me to be a 20-something year old professional.

I grew up at 2414 Bassett Place and my parents were the first African-American family to move in on that street in 1977. My parents were young homeowners, my mom 20 yrs of age and my dad 22 yrs of age at that time. My grandpa decided to move into 2410 Bassett Place in 1982 where he could now be close to his three grandkids not knowing that in two years my mom would add twins (girl and boy) to the family. For those that view the slide show of Bassett Place, you may scratch your head wondering what kind of house was at the now 2310 Bassett Place
vacant lot. I think those that lived on Bassett Place would agree with me that this house stood out from the rest and it was very beautiful. It actually looked as if it belonged in the Mott Park estates. What a shame that it had to be torn down. A couple years back, my grandpa tried to buy 2406 Bassett Place when it became available for purchase. He has not bought it as of this year but I am thinking of going back and buying it.

When i was 6 years old, I can still remember riding my bike and trespassing into the backyard of 2402 Bassett Place and wondering who painted that beautiful mural on the adjacent neighbors' garage. Actually, it is still there today, just tremendously faded from weathering. The only original people still living on Bassett Place from the late 1960s/early 1970s would be the Buchlers at 2426 Bassett Place. For those that may have known the family living at 2422 Bassett Place, one of the sons is a Flint Police Officer and he told me that according to records that Bassett Place has still not received a 911 call for any type of domestic violence in probably 20 years and that is positively astonishing concerning the amount of violence happening day in and day out in the immediate area.

I moved away from the area after graduating from college and now live in
Salt Lake City, UT. It amazes me to see the transformation of Downtown Flint and the reopening of all those once-closed businesses that line downtown Saginaw St. I guess I was having a bit of a moment while writing this note. My mom just texted me to let me know that the "Back to the Bricks" car show is happening this weekend and I had to Google Flint to see what was going on. Again, I am happy to have come across others beings who lived on Bassett Place and to hear and to share of all of the memories we hold dear in our hearts.

Here's the original post:

Bassett Place looking remarkably well-preserved last spring. The rest of Civic Park isn't faring quite so well. Thanks to Randy Gearhart for the shot. (Click photo to enlarge.)

23 comments:

  1. It kind of looks the same in this picture as it did many years ago. I remember Brownell flanked on the west side of the park and Bassett on the east. I haven't been near there in nearly sixty years. The last time was in about 1953 when Flint Tech played Bendle on that baseball field. We, Bendle, lost a really close game there. Both schools had pretty good teams that year. A kid named Herman Napier hit a line drive down the left field line and hit a lone tree standing way out there and the ball was still climbing. It definitely would have been in the deep left field seats at Atwood stadium. My uncle walked over from Brownell to watch us lose. Sad day.....

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  2. If anyone has a picture of the skating rink at Bassett Park. That would be great. I'm sure that will bring back a lot of memories for a lot of people. I know I spent many many hours skating, getting warm in the shack or by one of the many bonfires.

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  3. Yeah, I'd love to post some shots of the rink. I'm trying to think when they stopped doing that. Maybe some time in the early eighties?

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  4. The skating rink in the mid fifties, amounted to a large patch of flooded/frozen ground for the general skaters and a smaller hockey rink next to it. As I recall, the fire pit was somewhere between them. On any given night in the winter, there were dozens of kids skating, playing tag and flirting with the opposite sex.
    There must be thousands of people all over the world who pause and reminisce when hearing the words Bassett Park or Haskell Community Center.
    This website is a major distraction for me, daydreaming about a time that can't be recaptured at any price. I am trying to swear off, but still check in every few days.

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  5. I remember shating to songs like "Journey To the Center of the Mind" and "Over, Under, Sideways, Dowm" in the late '60s. That sure was a cosy little shack where we changed into our skates. Also remember getting our yearly Christmas Tree from the Kiwanas club folks behind the skating rink right off Brownell.

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    Replies
    1. My Dad used to buy his trees here, always after dark, and by the light of a few very dim bulbs. Everyone worse than the next. Always a bad side to turn to the wall, and determining the good side a difficult task. I think the final straw was when he brought one home that had actually been burned on one side. Great memories!

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  6. There was no better place to grow up than on Delmar St. There were so many things to do at any time of the year. Walk down to Haskell and within min. there were enough FRIENDS to have a baseball game. I have not been able to find another place like the civic park area... and I do miss it

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  7. Stephen,

    Lots of friends on Delmar in the seventies and eighties. When did you live there?

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    1. My family lived on the corner of Delmar in the eighties. My dad put up a red fence...we were right accross the street from Haskell. We moved in 84 I think...I was eight yrs old.

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    2. Bret, we must have been in the neighborhood at the same time. I grew up on Bassett Place from about 1970-1985. For many years, the house on the east side of Delmar at the corner was owned by the Funk family. (Maybe Funt?) Norman Funk, a few years older than me, coached my baseball team at one point. Not sure about the west corner, but the second house in was owned by the Bancroft family, including Keven Bancroft, who was my age.

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  8. Memories of a distant past! It must have been common to have ice rinks at various parks throughout the city. I grew up near Potter School and we made the frequent trip to the ice rink (aka flooded/frozen patch of ground). In our eyes it was the ultimate skating rink. There were always a number of older kids organizing some kind of game. They made a conscious effort to include the younger kids. One of the older boys was John Favor who died in action while serving in Viet Nam. He was 5 years older than I was and always a kind and friendly young man. God bless you, John!

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  9. Wow, I am really glad I came across this site. I believe I am probably the last "baby" to grow up on Bassett Place and actually make it out with a Flint education that was useful and now allows me to be a 20-something year old professional. I grew up at 2414 Bassett Place and my parents were the first African-American family to move in on that street in 1977. My parents were young homeowners, my mom 20 yrs of age and my dad 22 yrs of age at that time. My grandpa decided to move into 2410 Bassett Place in 1982 where he could now be close to his three grandkids not knowing that in two years my mom would add twins (girl and boy) to the family. For those that view the slide show of Bassett Place, you may scratch your head wondering what kind of house was at the now 2310 Bassett Place vacant lot. I think those that lived on Bassett Place would agree with me that this house stood out from the rest and it was very beautiful. It actually looked as if it belonged in the Mott Park estates. What a shame that it had to be torn down. A couple years back, my grandpa tried to buy 2406 Bassett Place when it became available for purchase. He has not bought it as of this year but I am thinking of going back and buying it. When i was 6 years old, I can still remember riding my bike and trespassing into the backyard of 2402 Bassett Place and wondering who painted that beautiful mural on the adjacent neighbors' garage. Actually, it is still there today, just tremendously faded from weathering. The only original people still living on Bassett Place from the late 1960s/early 1970s would be the Buchlers at 2426 Bassett Place. For those that may have known the family living at 2422 Bassett Place, one of the sons is a Flint Police Officer and he told me that according to records that Bassett Place has still not received a 911 call for any type of domestic violence in probably 20 years and that is positively astonishing concerning the amount of violence happening day in and day out in the immediate area. I moved away from the area after graduating from college and now live in Salt Lake City, UT. It amazes me to see the transformation of Downtown Flint and the reopening of all those once-closed businesses that line downtown Saginaw St. I guess I was having a bit of a moment while writing this note. My mom just texted me to let me know that the "Back to the Bricks" car show is happening this weekend and I had to Google Flint to see what was going on. Again, I am happy to have come across others beings who lived on Bassett Place and to hear and to share of all of the memories we hold dear in our hearts.

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  10. Thanks for the nod to 2310 Bassett Place from anonymous. Having grown up in that 1500 sq. ft. house (miniscule by today's standards) with my parents and two siblings, I can tell you, it did feel like a special house, even though there were other houses in the neighborhood of the same style. It was hard to hear that an 80 year-old house was going to be leveled after 13 or so years of being a rental. What on earth went on inside it that it could get so beat up after such a short time?

    God bless the Buchlers.
    Kathy W.

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    Replies
    1. I don't know what just made me Google 2310 Bassett Place right now but I lived there from 1991 to 2001 & I loved that house also. It was in need of remodeling but it was still a very well kept & nice house at the time. I had 6 children, 3 boys, 2 which are proffessional boxers now & are on Showtime & HBO & 3 girls, & they also loved Bassett pl. Showtime Sports came to flint to do a documentary on my son Andre Dirrell & they went to 2310 Bassett & it was torn down. It really made us sad to see that. We had a lot of great memorize on that street & the Buchler's are yet on Bassett. I will ride down Bassett every now & again & I can just shake my head & remember the good times we had in that beautiful house.

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    2. Lola, thanks for the comment. I've been in your old home many times when it was owned by the Wallace family. And I've written about Andre on the blog before. I know it's not easy seeing the fate of these houses when we've had so many good memories associated with them. Here's a link to a collection of stories related to Bassett Place and Civic Park: http://www.flintexpats.com/search?q=Bassett+Place

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    3. Oh wow Gordon, I wish I could have read the blog on Andre. I went down Bassett on Sunday 6/14 & it was Just atrocius to see, smh... It was really sad but I pulled in what once was my drive way & just shook my head in sadness & disbelief. Time does move on however. Thanks for the great memories & I'll check back in a few. Wait! Wait! Wait! Kathy Wallace, was her married name Kathy Hicks?

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  11. it certainly is exciting to read such an eloquent piece by a former neighbor of mine.
    i lived two doors north of the house that is no longer at 2318 Bassett.

    however, it does make me feel old to read a piece by someone i remember as a small child...thanks for the added gray hair...i'm kidding i really enjoyed it

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  12. Kathy W:

    I was trying to remember what family lived at 2310 Bassett Place and then I recalled being in 1st grade at Eisenhower Elementary and Mrs. Wallace would talk to me everyday in the main office when I went to drop off the attendance papers from my class. She would inform me that she used to live on Bassett Place...so when you signed your name with "W" I instantly remembered the last name Wallace. For sake of closure to your childhood house, it was being rented until about 2005 (I believe). As we all know, whenever a house becomes boarded up, the homeless tend to either use it as a living post or create vandalism to it, which is what happened to that house. As well, aluminum and steel have become hot commodities to sell around the Flint area, which has given way to homes in the Civic Park and surrounding areas to have their aluminum sidings stripped, exposing the original brickwork of many houses. This also means that steel piping on the inside of the house has been stripped, too, and without this necessity, a house cannot be rentable or sellable...which I believe was the case with 2318 Bassett Place. My grandfather and I are hoping to prevent this from happening to 2406 Bassett Place.

    Slick: I am trying to remember you but it has been such a long time. My only distant recollection of remembering the older kids on the street was when I had the opportunity to play hide and go seek in the bushes that lined Bassett Park across the street from where you lived at. Obviously, they are gone now, but it was such a great spot for hide-and-seek.

    As a child, I envisioned that Civic Park would always be the place to live in. If I had the money now, I would go in and buy most, if not all, of those houses and give them all a much-needed face lift. What really hurts most is seeing the faces of people who lived here during nice economic times move away and to come back as if they entered a nightmare that isn't really happening. I can recall meeting a group of people who were having their Central High School 70th year Class reunion and to hear them all say how the City has "changed" for the worse. Even in their old ages, they can see the drastic negative changes of a City that "once was" something.

    Like most of you, I am really amazed to see that with all of the trashed houses and demolished lots in the Civic Park area that Bassett Place has been able to withstand this effect and remain quite nice. In the years before I left Flint, I would pickup all of the littered trash in Bassett Park. I would often get unusual stares from people waiting for the bus or those driving by with loud, blaring music as if they had never seen someone have a heart to do something for their community. My purpose in doing this was to simply show the next generation of young people growing up on Bassett Place, Dayton Street, and Brownell Street that there is still a value in living in Flint, Michigan, but that it comes with the understanding to do maintenance and upkeep. I keep telling me parents that with the efforts that the residents of Bassett Place are doing to preserve Flint's history that this great City will soon enough go from a City that "once was" to a City "changing" for the better.

    Stephen P.

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  13. Stephen, thanks for the comment. If I remember correctly, your house was owned by a woman named Mrs. Irons before your folks moved in. And I used to hide behind your garage (when Mrs. Irons still lived there) during hide and seek.

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  14. Stephen....i lived at 2318 as a newlywed...we bought the house in late '81 and didn't move in until we were married in '82. we lived there until '89 when the guy who moved in Rumbaugh's house became a crack dealer and liked gun play...fortunately shortly after moving out he was gone as well. we lived next door to mike p. and gail h.

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  15. I'm kenny,kelly and kathys dad. we moved into 2310 in oct 1966. I grew up on forest hill until 1940 when my dad built a house at 1402 copeman. we allaloved bassett place. it was a friendly place. I attended trinity methodist church all my life until we moved to florida in 2000. we spend our summers near petoskey. wa all have nothing but great memories of living on bassett place...we;ll except for when the bickell boys broke in and tried to trash the inside of our home.

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  16. Sorry I missed this thread when it materialized. I grew up at 2406 and remember chatting to "kenny,kelly and kathys dad" on the bus on the way to my classes at MCC. Best regards to you sir, and to your family. Stephen P., best of luck to you and your grandfather on acquiring that property. I think that possibly, Civic Park may rise again.

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  17. Stephan P.--- Thanks so much for your memories. My parents are the Buchler's. We moved into the nieghborhood in the Summer of 78. I remember it well because I was going into first grade. My parents still live there. My main memories of Civic Park and Bassett Park were all the kids in the neighborhood and go riding bikes in the "woods" down by the Wallace's. And I remember going swimming at Haskell in the early 80's.

    Tom B

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