Thursday, July 1, 2010

Flint Photos: College Cultural District

Getting tired of abandoned building porn? Yeah, me too. Here are some of the College Cultural District's finest.


  1. How fun is that - the last one belongs to one of my best buddies from high school!

  2. Hey, and the last one used to belong to one of my best buddies from high school as well up until about 1990.

  3. **shakes head** Of course. I cease to be surprised by the 'small worldness' of Flint. Part of why I miss it.

  4. One of those is ours, thanks for the props!

  5. I recognize some of those. I lived at 1604 East Court, on the corner of Maxine. I walked to school from sixth grade through junior college (Pierce Elementary, Whittier JH, Central and Mott). College was the closest of them all.

  6. Here's a blog entry I did a couple of years ago about the round house. I've always been fascinated by it. It's so...ODD!

  7. I love that round house, always have.

    I got to go in before it was renovated a few years ago. A realtor left it unlocked and so my friends and I enjoyed a private tour—we didn’t take anything, not even pictures, sadly.
    From what I understand—mostly rumors—the owner of the Copa nightclub lived there back in the 80s. He died around 1990, as I recall.

    Anyway, I don’t know if that’s true but the interior made me think it was. I’ve never seen anything like it. It was still furnished when I saw it. The house is shaped like a donut with a pool in the middle. The beds were round with custom fitted bedspreads. And that was the least weird thing about it. The kitchen was perfect 1950s vintage with lots of chrome detailing. The living room was pink with white furniture—a bizarre mix of Hollywood Regency and 60s pink bathroom—with giant gold accent pieces. I’ve never seen gold floor vases that were that big! There was a large white trellis separating the dining room from the entryway with ornate gold decorations on it. The living room was green, I think.

    The basement was the best part. It was round, too, identical to the top floor in shape and size. Half of the basement was function—an office, a laundry room, storage—but the other half was a party room. I giant bar with red vinyl! Behind the bar, the walls were shag and there were two sconces that were actually lava lamps. There were all kinds of strange 1970s party room flourishes, including a fondue pot table with four chairs.

    Thoughts of that house haunted me for ages after I saw it. I love midcentury modern but at the time the owners (relatives of the deceased Copa owner, from what I heard) were in a fight to get as much money as they could out of the place. They wanted near $300k, and it would include the furniture! A steal in my book but I was not in the position to buy a kitschy donut house at the time.

    At any rate, I called the realtor many, many months after I’d peaked around in it. There had been a small fire that caused smoke damage. The entire crazy interior was gone. The insurance money had been used to completely update the interior and make it modern. But the house was still off the market then because after the updating somebody come in and stole all the pipes. The owners were in a dispute with the insurance company—insurance doesn’t cover stolen pipes!

    That should have made that place a wacky museum when I saw it.

  8. Lloyd Groff Copeman lived in a house at 1416 Calumet that looked like some of those in these pictures. There's a picture or drawing of it on a website about him. I can't figure out if any of those pictured are of his former house.

    Who is Lloyd G. Copeman?

    1) Had patents for household devices whose numbers rival Thomas Alva Edison. These include patents for automatic electric stoves, toasters, refrigerators and air conditioning systems.

    2) A fascinating character who was expelled from Farmer's Creek Elementary, Lapeer High School, and Michigan State University. Later, MSU awarded him an honorary doctorate, which he refused to accept.

    3) A close personal friend of C. S. Mott and other automotive pioneers.

    4) Maternal Grandfather of Linda Ronstadt.

    Did any of you hear a word about him in Flint History Class in the Flint Public Schools?

  9. Thanks for the heads up on Lloyd Copeman. I'd never heard of him. What a fascinating character. I just posted something on him.


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