Sunday, January 23, 2011

Flint Photos: Brooks Apartments


Another great shot of Flint in the fifties from the Mary Fisher Collection.

UPDATE: The location is E. Kearsley and Stevens, now part of UM-Flint. Go here to see a another shot by Tom Wirt of the Brooks with the UM-Flint campus encroaching in the seventies.

Another shot of the Brooks by Gary Custer from the venerable East Village Magazine. It's really worth checking out a great collection of the magazine's photos here.

18 comments:

  1. Wonderful stuff.

    I can't place it. Does the street sign say Chevrolet? I can only think of three gas stations on Chevrolet in that era, and none of those intersections fit...?

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  2. Yes, it's such a clear, evocative photo. One street is E. Kearsley, but I can't make out the cross street.

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  3. I can't remember the cross street either. It was on Kearsley. When I was there, it was known as the Brooks Penfield Complex, which sounded like something out of a Psychology Book. The UM-Flint Registrar's Office was there. It moved there before they started building the "CROB". I remember there were fireplaces that appeared to be closed off in the apartments.

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  4. Stevens St. was the cross street. 407 and 409 E. Kearsley were the addresses.

    http://books.google.com/books?id=DpfiAAAAMAAJ&pg=PT106&lpg=PT106&dq=%22penfield+apartments%22+flint&source=bl&ots=_tDLSxNx1d&sig=7ldKP1k4rz34bM-fHNTcJnCXyVc&hl=en&ei=pJM8Ta64Jo-q8AaV0O3dCg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=8&ved=0CCUQ6AEwBw#v=onepage&q=%22penfield%20apartments%22%20flint&f=false

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  5. Where where where is this?!?! Almost torture posting it without the location. ;-)

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  6. Believe it is E. Kearsley and Stevens St.

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  7. This was in the area of what is now part of the U of M-Flint Campus.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/92726077@N00/462565631/in/set-72157594414829203/

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  8. It is Stevens St. & E. Kearsley St. The Texaco Station on one corner and Sinclair Station diagonally on the other corner. If my memory and many miles of walking around Flint serves me right. Always wondered why they took out the bridge out at Stevens and the River.

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  9. Okay, I know it's pointless to lament such things when it comes to Flint, but after seeing Tom Wirt's photo of the apartments still standing on the UM campus, I can't help wondering why they couldn't save and incorporate some of these beautiful old buildings with the modern buildings. These would have made some sweet faculty offices. And the Sill Building seems perfect for some sort of academic offices. Obviously, too late now.

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  10. I remember passing by these as a kid in the 1960's on the way to pick up my gramma at her club at a huge house on East Kearsley. The house was torn down to make way for the Cultural Center. The club was called the Boston Club which was weird to me as none of them were from Boston (nearly all were born in Scotland and came to US via Quebec or Ontario. I have not been able to find info online for the Boston Club and sadly any photos are lost in the foreclosed house. I was named after one of the women in the club. All the members were gone from this area by 1966 either thru moving south after retirement or dying.

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  11. Jan, send me any other info you have and I'll post something on the Boston Club. Maybe some readers will have info. My grandparents were of Scottish ancestry, and my grandparents lived across the street Scottish immigrants on Illinois Ave.

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  12. Looks like the CROB, later renamed the David M. French Building, was right near the Brooks Penfield Complex. When people began calling the CROB the French Building, I couldn't imagine why an entire building would house one foreign language department! "CROB" just seemed to fit better with the stark, austere, utilitarian decor compared to the realtively well decorated addition to the Mott Memorial Building.

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  13. Gordon, there were some of us that tried to save these apartments, the Sill building, and many, many others, sometimes at great peril to our jobs, (mine being in the architectural arena where we had front row seats to watch some of the master planning as it was taking shape). I worked summers in Flint during college and my first year out, and became a thorn in the side of my superiors because of my naïve insistence that they use their positions to raise the bar on Flint development, especially where they could incorporate its historic fabric. Alas however, I eventually came to realize that Flint’s true culture, of junking the old in order to showcase the latest shiny models, even if they were just parking decks, paralleled the corporate philosophy of the auto industry itself, and with a few exceptions, that narrow vision hasn’t changed appreciably to this day.

    There were some battles that were won, and I have a few that I can call my own, but often they just turned out to be temporary stays of execution for these non-reproducible historic resources. The cards were simply stacked against the effort. In the post war period at least, the vast majority of Flint residents just never cared about preserving their architectural legacy.

    Ironically, I believe today that although the UM campus was instrumental in the loss of some significant, reusable buildings, (the YWCA, the Palace theatre, and perhaps even the IMA auditorium which could have been a great field house), it has both directly and indirectly been responsible for saving several others in the recent past, (Durant hotel, Berridge hotel, Waterstreet Pavilion, Hyatt Regency hotel, the State office building), and remains the best great hope for the immediate future of this town, unless that is, there might be any idealistic, young pioneer –spirited recent college grads out there willing to take their turn at shaking things up a bit………………

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  14. Obliterated by the science building/wing. A prof told me that the plans for that were set when new regs defining the width of hallways were set. Since they couldn't widen the building, they shrunk the classrooms, giving them that narrow, cramped feeling. The place always creeped me, even after I knew why.

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  15. Flint hasn't had any visionaries since the 40's and 50's. After the GM/Flint love fest faded, and great CEOs like Flint-native Harlow Curtis, who invested in the town, were replaced with bean counters from suburbia, Flint was left to die, and die it did.

    Anything that resembled the golden age was demolished. Who wants to see guilded beaux-arts buildings when you can have Windmill Place? Who wants classic, historic, turn of the century homes when you can have I-475, which was used for about 20 years? 20 years?!?!

    What's even more sad is the townspeople tolerate the same stupidity from the same moronic leaders that it has had for the last 30, 40 years. Why nothing changes in Flint? Why? Because the leadership hasn't changed.

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  16. I have another photo where Brooks Apartments can be seen,
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/92726077@N00/300689676/
    at the top center of the photo, beyond the old YWCA building.

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  17. Pat McFarlane YoungJanuary 25, 2011 at 8:50 AM

    I was so upset to see the pictures of the Brooks apartments and read of all the buildings they had destroyed. I read all the comments and totally agree. They have destroyed most of the great landmarks that could have been saved. I am really sad about the Sill Building as it made the skyline special. The whole article really depressed me.

    I can't believe they destroyed the YWCA a special meeting place for so many people. It had a beautiful waiting room where people from all parts of town would meet to shop or meet friends. It also had a great cafeteria at one time. Also I wonder what happened to a place called The Home Dairy where my folks often took me to eat. I suppose the Garden Theatre and Palace Theatre are also gone.

    I am really sad this morning. I am lucky to have been in Flint at it's best. It was a great town.

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  18. I won't say this too loud, because hopefully the U. of M. Campus will help bring some new life to the community, but I don't think that U. of M. people have a vision of Flint that blends Flint's history with the present.

    One U.of M. staffer from Ann Arbot, visiting a home on Westwood Parkway owned by UM-Flint for a UM-Flint party, even complained that the stately houses of Woodcroft Estates were on lots that took up too much space. I think they were just jealous of a neighborhood that was better than almost anything in Ann Arbor.

    The recent WFUM-TV sale (to CMU) debacle was another travesty involving Ann Arbor decision makers that never should have happened.

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