Friday, May 18, 2012

Elm Park and Floral Park

Does anyone know the boundaries of the Elm Park and Floral Park subdivisions in Flint to the southeast of downtown? I believe big sections of both neighborhoods are taken up with highways at this point. A map would be a big help. Thanks for any assistance.


  1. Subdivision Name Card Number County Section Township Range Private Claim
    Werner Avenue, western road, Howard and Maybury Avenues, western roads

    off Lapeer Road
    Floral Park Ave. and Fern Ave. outer streets in plat
    Looks like Ward Street was renamed 12th Street, Foral Park Avenue wasn't completed (or partially removed) and Fern Avenue was vacated.
    see maps by search for them here:

  2. From Andrew R. Highsmith's doctoral dissertation entitled "Demolition Means Progress: Race, Class, and the Deconstruction of the American Dream in Flint, Michigan", page 55: "Floral Park was located in the city's Ninth Ward, roughly bounded by Court Street on the north, the Grand Trunk Railroad tracks on the south, South Saginaw Street on the west, and Lapeer Road on the east." It was one of the areas of the city in which negroes and immigrants were allowed to own property.

    And it's an amazing coincidence that this very same neighborhood was chosen for the location of the I-69 / I-475 interchange, largely obliterating it from the map.

  3. More or less, yes. But Court Street is a bit too far on the north end. There were no African Americans living off East Court Street. And Lapeer Rd. runs parallel to Court for a big stretch, so it's not the eastern boundary.

    I think Lapeer Road might be a more accurate northern boundary, give or take a few blocks. And Dort Highway might be the best eastern boundary. (I believe the streets closer to Dort Highway were sometimes called Sugar Hill.)

    But these are all rough estimations. The unofficial boundaries of the nabe changed with who you were talking to.

    And, again, Andrew Highsmith's dissertation is online. It's worth reading. An enlightening history of Flint's housing and racial history.

  4. Our memories are clouded by a post I-69 era view of that area. It physically separated the Woodlawn Park area from the Floral Park area. I don't even think that there is nearly as much of a physical barrier between Detroit and the Grosse Pointes.

    East of Floral Park, and west of Evergreen Valley, there was an area that reportedly discriminated against Whites in housing back in the 1950s and 1960s.

    I think the area between present day Floral Park that extends to Court St. was partly obliterated by I-69 and separated in its identity from Floral Park.

  5. Flint was one of the most discriminatory housing markets in the country toward African Americans. It's hard to imagine whites attempting to move into one of the few neighborhoods available to black residents in the 1950s. If they did, I could imagine some resentment from the black residents, but I doubt the whites would be stopped from moving in. They had all the power, after all. The area you're describing sounds like Sugar Hill, which had long been considered a black neighborhood.

  6. Back when Floyd McCree was mayor, fair housing practice was indeed the motivation. Now, it's just a political football.

    If you set prices so high for houses so that only Black professional athletes and entertainers can afford them, that's still not fair housing. And yet white actors and team owners and the rest of the Hollywood crowd will pat themselves on the back and tell you they're being fair but you're not. They don't want poor whites or poor blacks ( which to them is just about everybody) or even windmills in their back yard. They call them NIMBYs.

  7. Seeing "Clybourne Park" nominated and win a 2012 Tony Award tonight, I had a great sense of deja vu about this lively discussion of Floral Park, Sugar Hill, and Evergreen Valley in Flint when Jim Parsons explained the premise of the play.

  8. The integration of traditionally white nabes like Evergreen Valley has a lot in common with the experiences explored in Clybourne Park, which I'd love to see sometime. I've interviewed a few of the people who were some of the early black residents of the neighborhood and heard their stories. A few of them have ended up in the book about Flint I'm writing. One quote stands out: "My white neighbors were all very friendly too they packed up their houses and moved out."


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