The Michigan Historic Preservation Network’s (MHPN) 32nd annual conference, A Model Change-Over, is only a month away. This year, the three-day conference will be held Thursday, May 10th through Saturday, May 12th, in Flint, the birthplace of General Motors. The three-day conference will include educational and hands-on sessions, as well as area tours. With the weather warming up and so many things to do, we encourage you to Make it a Flint Weekend!
But what could their possibly be to do in Flint? Oh so much! Here are a few suggestions:
Built in 1916, Applewood was the estate and self-sustaining farm of automotive pioneer, two-time Flint mayor, and philanthropist Charles Stewart Mott, and his wife Ruth Rawlings Mott, a philanthropist in her own right. The estate is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. On Thursday, May 10, the grounds of Applewood are open to the public for a Bring Your Lunch and Learn from 11am until 2pm. On Saturday, May 12, the Crim Kids Classic Race/Walk will go through Applewood.
Have a Flint-style Coney at Angelo’s Famous Coney Island
Check out the difference that is the Flint version of the Coney Island, where it has been served since 1949!
Pick up some fresh fruits and vegetables at the Flint Farmers’ Market
While the Flint Farmers Market was constructed by WPA workers in 1940, open air markets have been a fixture in Flint since 1905. The market is currently working to create and support satellite markets in Flint neighborhoods to increase residents’ access to fresh fruit and vegetables. The Flint Farmers Market is open Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday from 8am until 5pm. For more information on the Flint Farmers Market, visit flintfarmersmarket.com
The Whaley house was the home of Robert. J. and Mary McFarlan Whaley. Robert Whaley served as the president of Citizens Bank for over forty years, but today, the family is perhaps best recognized for founding the Whaley Children’s Center, which focuses on caring for children and families in crisis. The Whaley Historic House Museum holds public tours on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays at 10am and 3pm, and on Saturdays from 1pm until 4pm. Tours last about forty-five minutes and include the first and second floors of the house. Tour hours may vary, however, so you may want to call ahead to be sure. Visit whaleyhouse.com for more information.
There are few things I like better than strolling through an old cemetery and taking in the peace, art, and stories in its stones. If you are anything like me, then you will definitely want to take a stroll through historic Glenwood Cemetery. Founded in 1857, Glenwood serves as the final resting place for 38 mayors, two governors, industrial giants, businessmen, etc. These include the Whaleys, Motts. Stocktons, Paynes, Atwoods, Stones, and many many others.
Walk, run or bike the Flint River Trail
The Flint River Trail is a paved trail running along one or both sides of the Flint River connecting downtown Flint to Bluebell Beach and Stepping Stone Falls. If you have brought your bicycle along with you to the conference, you may be interested in participating in the Friends of the Flint River Trail Sunday Ride. The leisurely-paced ride starts at 2pm sharp at the Flint Farmers’ Market, and are typically 13-15 miles in length.
The Stockton House, an elaborate Italianate manor constructed in 1872, was the home of retired army colonel Thomas Stockton and his wife Maria. Maria Smith Stockton was a daughter of Jacob Smith, Flint’s first white settler. She also founded the city’s Ladies Library Association in 1851, and served as its first president. (FYI, another daughter of Jacob Smith, Louisa Payne, lived in a large Greek Revival mansion with her husband Chauncey, located approximately at the site of the Lyon Place cul-de-sac in present-day Carriage Town.) From 1921 until 1936, the Stockton property served as the first St. Joseph Catholic Hospital, established by the Sisters of St. Joseph, and was enlarged a number of times to accommodate patients. As you can probably guess, I could go on and on about the Stockton House. To learn more about the history and restoration of the Stockton House and Spring Grove, visit stocktoncenter.org.
** Also, if you do have a chance to see the Stockton House, be sure to take a short stroll around the curve of Ann Arbor Street and see the Hiram “Hardwood” Smith House at the corner of Stockton and Third Streets (You can’t possibly miss it.) Hiram Smith (no relation to Jacob Smith) was a very successful lumber baron. He built the house in about 1867 when he settled permanently in Flint. Please be respectful and do not trespass, as this is a private residence.
Eat a Q.P Burger with Olives at Halo Burger
Enjoy a folk music concert at the Sippin’ Lizzard Coffee House, the home of the Flint Folk Music Society.
The Flint Folk Music Society is headquartered in the Greater Flint Arts Council building. On Saturday, May 12, the Canadian Folk-Grass duo The Laws will perform at the Sippin’ Lizzard Coffee House. Doors open at 7pm. Please see http://www.sippinlizzard.org for details.
Science meets Architecture in this Michigan Modern featured building.
Enjoy a performance of “Hairspray” by the Flint Community Players at the F.A. Bower Theater
Performances will take place on May 10, 11, and 12 at 8pm, and May 13 at 2:30pm.
**Also check out the rest of what the Flint Cultural Center has to offer, including the Flint Institute of Arts and the Sloan Museum/Buick Gallery.
Explore the 7 miles of hiking trails at For-Mar Nature Preserve and Arboretum
Or check out any of the Genesee County Parks (except for Bluebell Beach, Crossroads Village & Huckleberry Railroad, and Wolverine Campground; they do not open until the end of May). The Genesee County Parks system offers traditional parks and nature preserves, as well as a disc golf course, equestrian complex, and off-road vehicle area. Check out http://www.geneseecountyparks.org for more details.
Search for treasures and trinkets at the Carriage Town Antique Center, and then grab a soup or sandwich at Hoffman’s Deco Deli
This is by no means an exhaustive list. With unlimited time and space, I could write on and on. I mean, there is the Flint Children’s Museum, several city parks, and countless neighborhoods to explore. There are also places and things that others would think of and list that have either flown under my radar, or that I’m simply forgetting.
If you feel like venturing out into the rest of Genesee County, here are a few things you might want to do. Again, this is not an exhaustive list of all the small cities, towns, and villages in the county, nor does it represent all there is to see and do in the listed towns, but I think it is a pretty good start.
Visit the Davison Historical Society and Museum.
The Davison Historical Society and Museum is open on Thursdays from 10am until 2pm.
Dine at the Fenton Hotel Tavern and Grille.
The Fenton Hotel was built in 1856 when the first railroads came to Fenton. While the entire menu is great, the dessert is to die for. Speaking of which, the Fenton Hotel, especially the untouched third floor, is rumored to be haunted, and paranormal investigators agree. However, the current hotel owners do not recognize that it is haunted, and nothing about ghosts is mentioned on the website, http://www.fentonhotel.com.
See the Fenton Community and Cultural Center designed by Eliel Saarinen in 1938.
Visit Dibbleville and the Fenton Museum and Historical Society.
Dibbleville is actually the original settlement that was later absorbed by the town of Fenton. The Dibbleville-Fentonville Historic District is located near downtown Fenton and bounded by Shiawassee, Riggs, Holly, and George Streets. Nearby is the Fenton Museum and Historical Society, located in the A.J. Phillips House/Library. The area also features a number of eateries and shops.
Enjoy a tasty homemade waffle cone from Roaring 20’s Ice Cream Parlour.
Roaring 20s Ice Cream has been a fixture in downtown Flushing for years, and it is located inside an adaptively reused 1920s gas station.
Visit the Flushing Area Historical Society Museum in the Flushing Depot.
The Museum is open Sundays from 1pm until 4pm, or by appointment. The Flushing Depot was constructed in 1888 and provided passenger service until 1971. The structure was converted into a restaurant, but after sustaining major damage in a fire, it was donated to the Historical Society and extensively restored.
Golf 18-holes at the Captain’s Club at Woodfield Golf Course
There are plenty of golf courses, both public and private, throughout Flint and Genesee County, and if you bring along your clubs, you have your pick of courses. The semi-private Captain’s Club at Woodfield, however, was voted as the best public course in Genesee County by the Flint Journal, and is among Golf Digest’s “Best Places to Play.”
Dine at the historic (and haunted) Linden Hotel.
The Linden Hotel was built in 1840 when the settlement was known as Warner Mills, and is believed to be the oldest operating business in Genesee County. The structure is supposedly haunted, and there are several ghost photos on the website taken by the hotel owners, as well as the Southeast Michigan Ghost Hunters Society. The website also has a fantastic history and historic photos of the hotel, so check it out at http://www.lindenhotel.com.
Many thanks to Tegan D’Arcangelis Baiocchi for all her insight into places to visit in Flint – can you add more?