Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Flint Photos: Travels to Vehicle City

Over the past three years I've traveled to Flint numerous times and taken a lot of photos while I was writing about the city. Here's a small sample, in no particular order. Some of these have appeared on Flint Expatriates in the past, some are new.


  1. Lovely, haunting.

  2. It's heart breaking to see Flint. It was never a garden spot as long as I can remember...but's just plain sad.

    I sometimes think of coming back...but the economy doesn't even make it a remote possibility.

  3. Detroit is considered the ruin porn capital for photographers. Flint is a worthy, or infamous, competitor for that distinction. The industrial wasteland is epic and depressing if you stare too long.

  4. When I was a kid, the arrowhead insignia was a prominent Flint logo, displayed everywhere. I was extremely proud of this. It was the coolest thing I could imagine, right up there with my coon-skin hat and our civic pride in being the first city Russia was going to bomb. On the bright side, they don't need to worry about Russian nukes anymore.

  5. Yes, these are haunting and compelling. Yes, Flint is troubled. But I just want to say: My neighborhood is really lovely. I'm just sayin'. I'm not in the mood tonight to see Flint as only ruin porn. Does it go against the narrative to show how nice Maxine Street, for example, looks in high summer?

  6. Come on, some of these shots are positive. Isn't Honest Abe uplifting. Is my self-portrait that bad? Just kidding. I accept your challenge. Let me poke around in my photo archive. I can do this!

  7. You're right, of course. I'm in a bad mood, as I noted on FB, and feel that the world is getting eaten up with ignorance. You're trying to document some truths. So keep it up, my friend.

  8. Hi I wish there were notes to tell the locations of the shots--or if I missed that, where is the link?

  9. No locations, but I can fill you in...

    1. Humboldt Avenue in Civic Park
    2. Sloan Museum
    3. Illinois Avenue on the East Side
    4. Witherbee's Market grand opening
    5.East Side off James P. Cole across the river from the old Buick location
    6. Discovered in a house near the downtown Y's
    7. Durant Dort Building in Carriage Town
    8. My old St. Mary's jacket
    9. Vacant house in Carriage Town
    10. Occupied house near the downtown Y's
    11. The Durant
    12. North End
    13. Jane Avenue on the East Side
    14. Flint Farmer's Market
    15. Saginaw Street south of downtown
    16. Advanced gun range on Center Road in Burton
    17. The bedroom of an abandoned house on W. Dayton in Civic Park
    18. Porter Road in Grand Blanc

  10. The first picture did remind me very much of my childhood home which was on the corner of Humboldt and Dayton. The style is exactly right, but I have no idea if it is actually the house.

    1. The first photo is your old neighbor up the block. It's on the corner of Humboldt and Rankin.

      And I think I remember your house on the corner. Chestnut tree in front yard? Very popular with the neighborhood kids. Probably climbed in it sometime between 1972 to 1978.

    2. An actual American Chestnut tree big enough to climb in the 1970s? Is it still there?

      If so, it would be important to report it to one of the programs to find surviving Chestnut-Blight-resistant genes and bring back the American Chestnut.

      Billions of American Chestnut trees died of the blight in the 1940s across the eastern USA, including almost all in Michigan. I know of one stunted survivor on Case's Island in Lake Fenton. Chestnuts were wonderful residential-area shade trees, and often were the tallest and broadest trees in eastern-state forests. If you know of one that survives in this area, please report it.

    3. Well, not sure if was an American Chestnut. Spiky green shells with a dark brown chestnut inside. There was one on that corner and one in my front yard on Bassett Place.

    4. Just checked online and based on the chestnuts both trees were Horse Chestnut trees, not American Chestnut, which I think have the fuzzy shells, not the hard spiky shell of the American.

    5. From the corner of Humboldt and Rankin you would walk down to Dayton St and cross Dayton (I use to be a safety patrol crossing guard at that corner) to get to our house on the corner of Humboldt and Dayton. There was a large tree on the outlawn, but not actually in the front yard--not sure what kind it was. I lived there from 1954 till 1968-69 so trees may have changed a lot!

      I believe the house on the corner of Humboldt and Rankin was home to a childhood friend of mine--her name was Vicky(I think), but I don't remember the family's last name.

      You may be familiar with my Uncle--Jack Minore who was active in state and local politics for a many years. He still resides in Flint--I moved away when I was fourteen.


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