Flint Charter Township is adjacent to the city on the west but is politically independent.
Jacob Smith, a fur trader on cordial terms with both the local Ojibwas and the territorial government founded a trading post in Flint itself in 1819. On several occasions, Smith negotiated land exchanged with the Ojibwas on behalf of the U.S. government, and he was highly regarded on both sides. Smith apportioned many of his holdings to his children. As the ideal stopover on the overland route between Detroit and Saginaw, Flint grew into a small but prosperous village. The city was incorporated in 1855. The 1860 U.S. census indicated that Genesee County had a population of 22,498 of Michigan's 750,000.
In the latter half of the 1800s, Flint became a lumber center, and at the turn of the 20th century the revenue and infrastructure from lumbering funded the establishment of the local carriage making industry. As horse-drawn carriages gave way to the automobiles, Flint became a major player in the nascent auto industry. Buick Motor Company, after a rudimentary start in Detroit, soon moved to Flint. AC Spark Plug (now part of Delphi) originated in Flint, as did several defunct automobile marques such as the Dort, Little, Flint, and Mason brands. Chevrolet's first (and for many years, main) manufacturing facility was also in Flint, although its headquarters were in Detroit. For a brief period, all Chevrolets and Buicks were built in Flint.
In 1904, local entrepreneur William C. Durant was brought in to manage Buick, which became the largest manufacturer of automobiles by 1908. In 1908, Durant founded General Motors, filing incorporation papers in New Jersey, with headquarters in Flint. GM moved its headquarters to Detroit in the mid 1920's. Durant lost control of GM twice during his lifetime. On the first occasion, he befriended Louis Chevrolet and founded Chevrolet, which was a runaway success. He used the capital from this success to buy back share control. He later lost decisive control again, permanently. Durant experienced financial ruin in the stock market crash of 1929 and subsequently ran a bowling alley in Flint until the time of his death in 1947.
For the last century, Flint's history has been dominated by both the auto industry and car culture. During the sit down strike of 1936-1937, the fledgling United Automobile Workers triumphed over General Motors, inaugurating the era of labor unions. The successful mediation of the strike by Governor Frank Murphy, culminating in a one page agreement recognizing the Union, began an era of successful organizing by the UAW.
The city was a major contributor of tanks and other war material during World War II due to its extensive manufacturing facilities.
The eighth deadliest tornado on record in the United States struck Beecher, just north of Flint, on June 8, 1953, killing 115 people, injuring 844. Known as the "Beecher Tornado," after the North Side community, the tornado devastated the area. On the next day the same weather system spawned the worst tornado in New England in Worcester, Massachusetts, killing another 94 people.
For decades, Flint remained politically significant as a major population center as well as for its importance to the automotive industry. The city's population peaked in 1960 at almost 200,000. These decades are seen as the height of Flint's prosperity and influence, and culminated with the establishment of many local institutions, most notably including the Flint Cultural Center, which remains one of the city's chief commercial and artistic draws to this day.
Since the late 1960s, Flint has suffered from disinvestment, deindustrialization, and depopulation. Initially, this took the form of the "white flight" that afflicted many American towns and cities, but the decline was exacerbated by the 1973 oil crisis and subsequent collapse of the U.S. auto industry. In the 1980s, the rate of deindustrialization accelerated with local GM employment falling from a 1978 high of 80,000 to under 23,000 by the late 1990s. Many factors have been blamed, including Reaganomics, outsourcing and exporting jobs abroad and to non-union facilities, unionization, exorbitant overhead, globalization, and most recently, a dramatic decline in General Motors sales. These rationales are often strictly applied along lines of political orientation, and labor remains the most divisive and polarizing local issue.
The recent decline was highlighted in the film Roger & Me by (the title refers to Roger B. Smith, the CEO of General Motors during the 1980s). Also highlighted in Moore's documentary was the failure of city officials to reverse the trends with entertainment options (e.g. Six Flags' AutoWorld) during the 1980s. Moore, a native of the area, revisited Flint in his later movies, including Bowling for Columbine and Fahrenheit 9/11.
Another aspect of Flint's history is reflected in its legacy of racial discrimination and tension. From the turn of the century, African Americans in particular were drawn to Flint, as were most migrants, by the lure of work in the factories. However, for much of this time General Motors did not hire African Americans to assembly positions, and they were excluded from affluent neighborhoods like the East Village through housing compacts. Despite such opposition, the Flint City Council selected Floyd McCree as mayor, making him one of the first African American mayors of a large city. The city diversified as a whole, and by the 1990s African Americans formed a plurality of the population, and a majority by the 2000 census. Mexican Americans and Native Americans remain a small but demographically significant population within Flint. Recent politics have typically polarized along racial lines, with candidates appealing to a small swing contingent of African American voters. Such contentions have been most pronounced recently in the successful 2002 recall election of African American mayor Woodrow Stanley.
The last decade has opened on the final stages of large-scale General Motors deindustrialization. By 2002 Flint had accrued a $35 million debt. Unable to pay this and balance its budget, the state of Michigan placed the city into receivership late that year, with a financial manager effectively replacing acting mayor, City Administrator Darnell Earley. In 2004, local control was resumed and has maintained a balanced budget since.
In 2004, General Motors made multi-million dollar upgrades to three Flint factories: Flint Truck and Bus Assembly, Flint Metal Center, and Flint Engine South. Recent developments have also assured the operation of Delphi Flint East beyond 2007. Included in the proposed 2007 UAW-GM contract, a new engine plant will be built near Powertrain Flint North to begin production in 2011, replacing the current factory, which is scheduled to end production of the 3800 engine in 2008.
Of the nearly 80,000 people that worked for General Motors in Flint during its peak years in the late 1970s, only about 8,000 are left after the most recent 2006 buyouts. Details on specific plant openings and closings are found in the article Flint, Michigan Auto Industry.
Flint's redevelopment will rely heavily on its institution of higher learning. The building of student housing at Kettering University and the ongoing construction of UM-Flint's student housing as well as rapidly increasing enrollment numbers will be major factors in the city's comeback.
In the last decade, local efforts to counter deindustrialization have centered around diversifying the economy, either by attracting small parts manufacturers with vacant industrial space and tax incentives, or steering the city toward a more commercially driven economy.
Industrially, the vacated Buick City site is currently the United States' largest brownfield. Its accessibility to the Flint River and major rail networks has made it potentially attractive to shipping interests. A local shipping company has considered turning Buick City into a large shipping center. This center could provide 600 jobs and spur many small businesses. In the new GM-UAW deal, an agreement was reached to build a new engine plant on a portion of the Buick City site. This plant is expected to provide 800 new jobs.
Commercially, local organizations have attempted to pool their resources in the central business district and to expand and bolster higher education at four local institutions. Landmarks such as the First National Bank building have been extensively renovated, often to create lofts or office space, and filming for the Will Ferrell movie Semi-Pro resulted in renovations to the Capitol Theatre. In 2004 the first planned residential community in Flint in over 30 years, University Park, was built north of Fifth Avenue off Saginaw Street, Flint's main thoroughfare. Local foundations have also funded the renovation and redecoration of Saginaw Street, and have begun work turning University Avenue (formerly known as Third Avenue) into a mile-long "University Corridor" connecting University of Michigan - Flint with Kettering University. Atwood Stadium, located on University Avenue, has already received extensive renovations and the Cultivating Our Community project is landscaping 16 different locations from in Flint as a part of a $415,600 beautification project. Wade Trim and Rowe Incorporated have done major renovations to transform empty downtown Flint blocks into business, entertainment, and housing centers. WNEM, a local television station, has signed a ten year lease on space in the Wade Trim building facing Saginaw Street. Also, plans have been recently passed to turn the long-vacant Durant Hotel into a mixture of commercial space and apartments attractive to young professionals or college students, with around 100 to 110 units. Work should start by spring 2008. In March 2008, the Crim Race Foundation put up an offer to buy the vacant Character Inn and turn it into a fitness center and do a multimillion dollar renovation.
In the last year, the University of Michigan-Flint passed a proposal to build a 310-person dormitory on their Flint campus. . Kettering University and Baker College - Flint have both expanded on-campus living in recent years. While Mott Community College does not offer on-campus housing, they have initiated their own expansion with the construction of a Regional Technology Center
| ||Interstate 69 has its eastern (northern) terminus at the Blue Water Bridge in Port Huron, and runs west through Flint to Lansing and then turns south and continues through Marshall and on to Fort Wayne and to its end in Indianapolis.|
| ||Interstate 75 running concurrently with US 23, cuts through the southwest corner of the city and passes the west side of the city through Flint Charter Township. I-75/US 23 continue north to Saginaw and Bay City. After separating near Standish, I-75 continues though the center of the state to Grayling, Mackinaw City, and Sault Ste. Marie. I-75/US 23 separate just south of the city, with I-75 continuing through the Metro Detroit area to downtown Detroit, on to Toledo. I-75 continues south through several major cities, including: Cincinnati, Ohio, Atlanta, Georgia, Tampa, Florida to its ending in the suburbs of Miami, Florida.|
| ||Interstate 475 begins south of Flint at Interstate 75 and runs north through downtown Flint then loops back to I-75 northwest of the city.|
| ||US-23 runs concurrently with I-75 and passes west of the city. After separating from I-75 near Standish, US 23 continues north on a scenic route along the Lake Huron shoreline. It ends at I-75 in Mackinaw City. This section of US 23 is designated the "Sunrise Side Coastal Highway". South of Flint, US 23 continues to Ann Arbor, on to Toledo, and continues south into Florida.|
| ||M-21 runs nearly due west to Grand Rapids|
| ||M-54, also known as the Dort Highway, runs mostly parallel to I-475 to the east from I-75 to I-69.|
The North Side and 5th Ward are predominantly African American, with such historic districts as Buick City and Civic Park on the north, and Sugar Hill, Floral Park, and Kent and Elm Parks on the south. Many of these neighborhoods were the original centers of early Michigan blues. The South Side in particular was also a center for multi-racial migration from Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, and the Deep South since World War II. These neighborhoods are most often lower income, but have maintained some level of economic stratification. The East Side is the site of the Applewood Mott Estate, and Mott Community College, the Cultural Center, and East Village, one of Flint's more prosperous areas. Just north is Eastside Proper, also known as the "State Streets," a low-income rental area that has rapidly diversified and is the center of Flint's Hispanic community. Eastside has had trouble with prostitution, particularly in districts centered on Dort Highway and Olive Avenue. The West Side includes the main site of the 1937 sitdown strike, the Mott Park neighborhood, Kettering University, and the historic Woodcroft Estates, owned in the past by legendary automotive executives and current home to prominent and historic Flint families such as the Motts, the Manleys, and the Smiths.
Facilities associated with General Motors in the past and present are scattered throughout the city, including GM Truck and Bus, Flint Metal Center and Powertrain South (clustered together on the city's southwestern corner); Powertrain North, Flint Tool and Die and Delphi East. The largest plant, Buick City and adjacent facilities, have been demolished.
Half of Flint's fourteen tallest buildings were built during the 1920s. The city's tallest building, the 19-story Genesee Towers, was completed in 1968. The building has become unused in recent years and has fallen into severe disrepair; a cautionary sign warning of falling debris was put on the sidewalk in front of it. City officials have considered having the building demolished.
There were 48,744 households out of which 33.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 29.0% were married couples living together, 27.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.9% were non-families. 31.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.51 and the average family size was 3.16.
In the city the population was spread out with 30.6% under the age of 18, 10.3% from 18 to 24, 29.4% from 25 to 44, 19.2% from 45 to 64, and 10.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 31 years. For every 100 females there were 88.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 83.1 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $28,015, and the median income for a family was $31,424. Males had a median income of $34,009 versus $24,237 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,733. About 22.9% of families and 26.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 37.4% of those under age 18 and 13.4% of those age 65 or over.
Flint Central's current building is in the East Village near Mott Community College and the Cultural Center. Finished in 1923, the building was designed by Malcolmson, Higginbotham, and Palmer. Another one of the city's older schools, Flint Northern High School, relocated from its original location, has remained a local institution since 1929. The other high schools include Mott Middle College, Flint Southwestern Academy, Flint Northwestern, and Schools of Choice.
Declining enrollment and costly maintenance, however, have threatened the future of many of Flint's schools. The district has come under fire for high truancy and dropout rates as well as low test scores. The district has also been lauded for its ground-breaking magnet program, particularly programs in math, science, and fine arts. Moreover, the district was the testing ground for Frank Manley's community schools ideas. A local elementary school has been named in his honor.
The state-run Michigan School for the Deaf and Blind is also located in Flint, Michigan.
Flint also hosts a number of private schools. Powers Catholic High School is located just outside the city limits adjacent to Northwestern High School. The Valley School is a small private K-12 school.
Westwood Heights, Carman-Ainsworth, Beecher, Atherton, Bendle, Bentley, and Kearsley are adjacent districts based in the City of Burton, Flint Township, Mount Morris Township, and Genesee Township.
Flint is also home to:
Noteworthy annual events include
The East Village Magazine is a non-profit news magazine providing information about neighborhood issues since 1976. The monthly magazine centers on the East Village neighborhood, outside downtown Flint, but is distributed throughout the city. The Uncommon Sense was a recent publication featuring critical journalism, satirical cartoons, and articles on music and nightlife, but it ceased publishing in 2007.
The Flint Enquirer is a small-circulation newspaper serving the African-American community of Genesee County. It is distributed at local colleges and other locations.
The Flint radio market has a rich history. WAMM-AM 1420 (started in 1955, now gospel station WFLT) on the city's eastside was one of the first stations in the country to program to the black community and was also where legendary DJ Casey Kasem had his first radio job.
WTAC-AM 600 (now religious station WSNL) was a highly-rated and influential Top 40 station in the 1960s and 1970s, showcasing Michigan artists and being the first in the U.S. to play acts like The Who and AC/DC. WTAC changed its format to country music in 1980 and then became a pioneering contemporary Christian music station a few years later; the calls are now on 89.7 FM, a member of the "Smile FM" network. WTRX-AM 1330 also played Top 40 music for a time in the 1960s and '70s.
The city's very first radio station, AM 910 WFDF, first went on the air in 1922 . It has since relocated south into the Detroit market, changing its city of license to Farmington Hills and increasing its power to 50,000 watts.
In 1985, WWCK-FM 105.5 became the highest-rated rock station in America. The station (whose calls were derived from those of Windsor, Ontario's legendary CKLW) continued as a market leader after changing its format to CHR, which it has remained since, in 1989.
Today, the following stations serve Flint with an array of programming choices:
Regent Broadcasting's WCRZ is consistently the top-rated station in Flint and has been near the top of the ratings consistently since changing format from beautiful music WGMZ in 1984. Sister stations WRCL and WWBN also regularly chalk up top 10 ratings in Flint. Cumulus Media's top stations are WDZZ (usually the #2 rated station 12+ in Flint, second only to WCRZ) and WWCK. Citadel Broadcasting owns popular country station WFBE (which for many years was a classical-music public radio station owned by the Flint school system), as well as sports-talker WTRX and Saginaw/Bay City's WHNN (96.1 FM, Oldies) and WIOG (102.5 FM, Top 40), which both have good signals and significant listenership in Flint.
Radio stations from Detroit, Lansing and Lapeer may also be heard in the Flint area; Detroit's WJR (760 AM) is regularly rated among the top 10 stations in Flint and often higher-rated than any local Flint-based AM station.
See Flint's Fall 2006 Arbitron 12+ ratings here
|Flint Generals||Hockey||International Hockey League||Perani Arena and Event Center|
|Flint Fury||Football||Mid Continental Football League||Atwood Stadium|
|Genesee County Patriots||Football||North American Football League||Atwood Stadium|
|Michigan Admirals||Football||United States Football Alliance||Guy V. Houston Stadium|
|Flint Phantoms||Arena Football||Continental Indoor Football League||Perani Arena and Event Center|
The Flint Generals professional hockey team plays at the Perani Arena and Event Center (formerly known as the IMA Sports Arena), a 4,021+ seat arena which is mostly home to hockey, but has also hosted basketball, indoor football, wrestling, boxing, and many other events. The Flint Generals are in their 13th year in the recently renamed International Hockey League, formerly the United Hockey League, since the original IHL Flint Generals left Flint for 8 years. The original Generals team was formed in 1969 and played in the 2nd installment of the International Hockey League until 1985 when the Generals relocated to Saginaw, Michigan. [hockeydb]. The Generals won the IHL's Turner Cup in 1984, and won the UHL's Colonial Cup in 1996 and 2000.
There is also semi-pro football at Atwood Stadium with the Flint Fury. Atwood is an 11,000+ seat stadium in downtown Flint which has hosted many events, including baseball. When artificial turf was installed, it was no longer able to host baseball games. The Flint Fury are heading into their fourth season and second in the Mid Continental Football League. The team was founded by two of its players: Charles Lawler and Prince Goodson, who both played for the defunct Flint Falcons semi-pro team.
The Genesee County Patriots semi-pro football team also play their home games in Flint. The Patriots were founded in 2003 and originally played at Atwood Stadium in Flint with the Flint Fury. At the time, both teams were in the Ohio Valley Football League and shared the stadium. After the 2003 season, the Patriots jumped to the North American Football League and moved to Clio's Pride Stadium. After a disagreement with the Clio athletic director, the Patriots returned to Atwood Stadium for 2006.
The Michigan Admirals semi-pro football team is a member of the United States Football Association. They began play in 2002 at Hamady Field, and then moved onto Russ Reynolds Field in 2003. They played he 2007 season at Atwood Stadium, and plan to play at Guy V. Houston Stadium in 2008.
Although Flint does not have its own NBA team, it does boast that many of its local players have gone to the NBA or on to play Division 1 or European professional basketball. Glen Rice, and Eddie Robinson all hail from Flint, as well as Morris Peterson, Mateen Cleaves, Charlie Bell, and Antonio Smith (four of the five starters from Michigan State University's "Flintstones" 2000 National Championship team).
A local teacher, turned independent film maker, Marcus Davenport chronicles Flint's unique ties to Basketball and the basketball culture that thrives in Flint. His documentary film is Flint Star: The Motion Picture The film and Flint are discussed in an in-depth interview Marcus Davenport describes Flint's love of basketball, the players and the inner city culture. Also, Will Ferrell's 2008 movie Semi-Pro is based on a fictional basketball team from Flint.
|Flint Flyers||Baseball||Michigan State League|
|Flint Halligans||Baseball||Michigan-Ontario League|
|Flint Vehicles||Baseball||Michigan-Ontario League|
|Flint Gems||Baseball||Michigan State League||Atwood Stadium|
|Flint Indians||Baseball||Michigan State League||Atwood Stadium|
|Flint Arrows||Baseball||Central League||Atwood Stadium|
|Flint Pros||Basketball||Continental Basketball Association||Hamady High School, IMA Auditorium|
|Flint Fuze||Basketball||Continental Basketball Association||IMA Sports Arena|
|Michigan Stones||Basketball||International Basketball League|
|Flint Seminoles||Basketball||Great Lakes Basketball Association|
|Flint Spirits||Hockey||International Hockey League||IMA Sports Arena|
|Flint Bulldogs||Hockey||Colonial Hockey League||IMA Sports Arena|
|Flint Blue Devils||Football||Atwood Stadium|
|Flint Pros||Football||Super Football League||Atwood Stadium|
|Flint Wildcats||Football||Super Football League||Atwood Stadium|
|Flint Sabres||Football||Super Football League||Atwood Stadium|
|Flint Falcons||Football||Michigan Football League, Ohio Valley Football League||Atwood Stadium|
|Flint Flames||Arena Football||Indoor Football League||IMA Sports Arena|
|Michigan Pirates||Arena Football||Continental Indoor Football League||Perani Arena and Event Center|
|Michigan Phoenix||Women's Soccer||Women's Premier Soccer League||Guy V. Houston Stadium|
Flint is the home of Major League Yardball. A wiffleball organization run out of the city. For more information, visit www.majorleagueyardball.net
Flint is also a host of the City Baseball League, featuring the East and West Division. The West plays at Tom Cole Field (Broome Park), while the East plays at Kearsley Park and Whaley Park.