Monday, May 14, 2012

Flint Photos: Wood Street in the Early 1900s


  1. Very few house left on E. Wood Street these days.

  2. At the corner of E.Wood and N.Saginaw there is a building(I heard it was a former glove factory but probably had multiple uses over the years).

    Back when I was a little dumber and more daring, I would snoop around some of these old abandoned buildings just out of curiousity. I took some photos of it because I always wanted to buy it and have a cool loft there. Nevermind about the crime. At one time -say close to 15 years back- there was a large professionally printed vinyl sign hanging up in one of the broken out windows stating that it was going to be used for student housing for the 1999 or 2000 semesters. I was crestfallen knowing I couldn't live in what would be a huge open space floorplan. Nevermind that I didn't have a cent to refurbish it. The student housing didn't pan out but instead the Durant got nicely put back together so six of one and half a dozen of the other. All those years ago when I peeked through the partially boarded up window, I could see someone had parked a boat for safe keeping just inside the loading dock.

    I still like that beat up old building as well as the idea of living in one.

  3. Aaah yes, the old Michigan Bell warehouse building. Some friends from out-of-town became enamored with it a few years ago and I tried to learn the history of it. I can't remember who owns it now, but he had people inside cleaning it out last year.

  4. Where was the old Bell Telephone Building that had the CEdar exchange mechanical switching equipment in it? I remember you could sort of see the switching banks through the windows. It had about five stories in my recollection. I helped them out a few times, identifying the number sequence that was malfunctioning. Probably would have taken a lot of overtime otherwise. I called 611 and they called back for the information.

    Remember, 411 was Information, 611 was Repair Service, 116 was the time lady. Actually, the time lady was quite famous, along with other such time voices.

    There are quite a few of those Wood St. houses. Was that a kit house (precut lumber for framing and other building materials)?

  5. > Where was the old Bell Telephone Building that had the CEdar exchange mechanical switching equipment in it?

    Southwest corner of First and Beech. The building's still there. Kittycorner from my Grandfather's and Dad's old store location.

    The tower at one corner had microwave horns, part of the '50s national microwave network operated by AT&T Long Lines. One of the horns looked southeast to the tower near Goodrich, at M-15 and Hill Road. The others looked north and west to somewhere.

    I have no idea what's in all that building volume now. As far as I know, the microwave network was turned off decades ago, and all of that traffic is on fiber. Certainly the fiber runs into the exchange building, but all of that equipment probably fits into one room in the basement.

    The Flint area has at least one other original electromechanical exchange building, much more innocuously scaled: the one-story brick PIlgrim exchange building on Atherton Road between Center and Genesee.


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