Thursday, March 28, 2013

Flint Photos: Downtown Flint in the 1920s


10 comments:

  1. Saginaw st looking south. taken from the corner of first street?

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    1. I assume that it was taken from a window in the (then) new Genesee Bank Building Certainly the direction is south. The last two recognisable buildings on the east side of Saginaw Street are the spire of St. Paul's Episcopal Church (corner of Third St.) and the neighboring Masonic Temple - both of which are (surprise) still standing.

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  2. Was this taken from the roof of A.M. Davison's? It's too low to be an aerial photograph. I guess it could have been taken from a balloon. I see the Strand I think near the building that was there before the Mott Foundation Building.

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  3. The photo appears to have been taken from about the 5th floor level, just northwest of the intersection of First Street and S Saginaw Street. It dates from before the 1924-5 construction of the First National Bank Building (currently the First Street Lofts on the northwest corner). The First National Bank Building would have replaced the building at the lower right corner of the photo (with the Page sign). There are currently two 4 story buildings just north of the First National Bank Building. If one or both of those buildings existed at the time of the photo, then perhaps the camera was set up on the roof of one of those buildings.

    The dark three story building with the clock turret at the southeast corner of First and S Saginaw is the Union Industrial Bank Building which was torn down in 1929 to make way for the 1930 construction of the new Union Industrial (now the Mott Foundation) Building. The third, light building from the southeast corner is the Strand Theater which was torn down for the Mott Foundation Building annex in the 1960s.

    At the southeast corner of Second Street and S Saginaw Street is the then 6 story Dryden Building. Currently the Dryden Building has only 5 floors. The 6th floor was apparently removed following a 1926 fire: http://www.flintexpats.com/2011/03/flint-photos-1926-fire.html

    As previously noted in the steeple of St Paul's Episcopal Church and the Masonic Temple are visible in the distance of the photo. On the right in the distance is the 6 story Dresden (later Adams) Hotel which burned down in the 1960s. Above the Dresden Hotel you can also make out the northern 2 corners of the First Presbyterian Church tower.

    Mark

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    1. Great information here. You can really tell you love Flint history. I love looking at old photos of places I know and seeing if I can figure out where everything currently is also. My favorite part of this photo is the fountain that was in the street on 1st Street outside of what would now be the Mott Foundation Building. They moved it to the park at 5th Avenue and MLK but it would be cool (and funny!) if they moved it back to that location in the middle of the street.

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  4. Torrey Hammerberg XIIMarch 31, 2013 at 5:26 PM

    Is one of those buildings from where the photograph was taken from where A.M. Davisons's was? I thought that was 5 stories. The building where Lady Davison's was was three stories. There was an opening between the two buildings on the upper levels. The floors weren't on exactly the same level.

    Smith Bridgman's was also originally two separate buildings, one or both of which had originally been some type of S.S. Kresge subsidiary, and was still owned by K Mart Corporation just before the demolition. This was in addition to the Kresge Building, which was 4 stories.

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    1. I concur with you that the photo was taken from the roof of the A.M. Davison's store. It was a three story building at the time of the photo. From the circa 1920s and earlier photos that I have seen the Davison store appeared to be several feet taller than the nearby three story buildings. That might account for the downward perspective on the Milner Building and other 3 story buildings in this photo. Or perhaps an additional platform was used by the photographer.

      Matthew Davison (the father of Arthur M Davison) opened the first M. Davison clothing store in 1870. He operated the store until 1883. Arthur M. Davison opened the A. M. Davison clothing store at the same location in 1890. All of the photos I have found of these stores (1870s through 1948) show a three story building. It appears that the A.M. Davison store acquired additional adjacent store fronts as the store expanded. Those additions included the later Lady Davison Store. A 1955 photo shows a 4 story building. So the 4th floor was added sometime between 1948 and 1955. The current building (which contains offices) still has 4 floors per Google map satellite images and street view. There are a couple small 5th story sections which probably provide access to the roof, and/or are elevator shafts.

      Concerning the Smith-Bridgman store. The original William L. Smith & Co. store opened in 1862 in the Brockway Block building which occupied a small portion of the later Smith-Bridgman store site. Charles T. Bridgman joined the firm in 1871, prompting the name change. A 7 story addition was added in 1936. A second 7 story addition was built in 1956-7 on the south side containing the restaurant and escalators. I believe the 1950s addition replaced the original Brockway Block Building.

      In the early 1960s Smith-Bridgman's opened an annex store in an existing building on Harrison Street behind the main store. Perhaps the annex building on Harrison was owned by S.S. Kresge. Also after the Rettke's Garden Center at Union Street & Harrison Street was damaged by fire in 1965 it was reopened in 1966 as Smith-Bridgman's Garden Center.

      Mark

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    2. Would anyone know who to contact that might have a picture of a Chinese restaurant/club that was on Saginaw St. prior to prohibition. The proprietor had the last name of Hing. I see there is one in this photo but I was told that the restaurant I am looking for was called the New Asian Cafe and was located next to the JC Penny building just north of 2nd on the East side of Saginaw. where the Blackstone's building is.

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  5. The shot of Saginaw St. looks like it was taken from the top of the (old) Davison's Bldg;
    there was a fire that destroyed the building in the 50's (?) and the new A.M. Davison's bldg was built.
    I think the Lady Davisons (1st floor)"Loft" (second floor) was added around 1958 in the commercial space next door.
    Lewis Buckingham in Denver (age 68) ;
    (son of L.F. Buckingham and Eliz. Davison Buckingham)

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  6. Thank you, Lewis Buckingham, for the information. I am curious about the store labeled "Page". Was it owned by a Flint family named Page? I am curious as to whether they were related to Carl Page and Larry Page, the cofounder of google, whose father and grandfather lived in the Flint Area. Does anyone know if there were any other members of the Page family who lived in Flint? Obviously an entrepreneurial gene in the family if they were related and if Page was a locally owned business.

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