Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Behind the Wheel at I.M.A. Safetyville

Flint Expatriates has rustled up a collection of artifacts from I.M.A. Safetyville, once located in Kearsley Park, in the past. There was the brochure. There was the license and the ticket for a moving violation. And, of course, one of the souped up orange Chevys. There was even a post on the small lake that had formed on the spot where Safetyville used to reside. And don't forget the anecdotes from Flintoids who learned to drive in the miniature town. Now we have two new shots of Safetyville in all its glory, courtesy of Gerry Godin and the Sloan Museum.


  1. Gordie - As you may recall, the recreation directors (or whatever their title was) at Haskell took us a few times. I recall my overwhelming dream was to be extra careful, 'stay clean', and drive all day. However, each time I had my 3 strikes in less than 20 minutes and was left to watch. Nice digging on the pics, I am still amazed how hard they are to come by.

  2. Wow... actual streetwalkers?!?! I didn't realize how "true to Flint" Safetyville strove to be.

  3. When I moved back to the area I thought I made this place up. Good to know it was real. It was a cool place. Too bad it's gone.


  4. Living in Wisconsin did not prevent me from enjoying the I.M.A. Safetyville experience. I earned my first license of any type as a 4 year old there. It was July 1966 and my family was on our annual summer visit to Grandma’s on Indiana Av. My older brother and sister were going through the class, but, the rules suggested that a child to be at least 6 years of age. Probably a good rule because I could not yet read or write. However, my dad, Roger Crane of Flint Central Class of ’49, said to me, “You know all the road sign meanings and basic driving rules. Give it a try”. He had that old Flint “go gettem” attitude. He convinced the teenager handling the admissions into Safetyville that despite being short in height, I was good to go.

    I loved the whole testing procedure and even knew to stop when the “child jumped “ out between the parked cars. I was issued a car and I drove everywhere. I was a lightweight (45 lbs.) so my little orange corvette easily made the climb up and over the “Little Mac” several times.

    During the driving I was stopped by one of the teenage instructors near a warning sign for “school crossing”. I had happily obliged by braking and was then asked, “What does this sign say”. I knew basically that yellow painted signs were warning signs so I blurted out, “Signal Ahead”. I was corrected, “The sign says, “School Crossing”. That’s 10 points off of your score. You can’t read can you? Please drive your car to the garage. “ Drat. My I.M.A. Safetyville days were done for the day.

    In the mid 1980’s, while driving through Flint, I stopped at Kearsley Park again and only the Little Mac overpass remained among the weed-swollen sidewalks. However, I saw many of my old favorite playground apparatus were still standing.

    Last November 2017, on a brief visit through Flint with my sister, only Kearsley Park's nicely rehabbed pavilion was familiar. The park was mown and clean, but sadly, I couldn’t find a trace of anything from 50 years ago.


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