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September 2009 Archives

Walking through a Legacy: Flint GM Plant

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Old Flint Picture.jpg

FLINT, Mich.----The GM Flint Assembly plant opened in 1947, when Hal Newhouser won 17 games for the Detroit Tigers and modern homes were being built in Flint's sprawling neighborhoods.
Over the years Flint plant workers have made station wagons, pick up trucks and Chevelles. The Corvette was born in June, 1953 at Chevrolet Plant Number 35, a since-razed facility across the street from the plant. [Sticker price just over $3,000.]

Little Red Corvette - Prince
Today heavy duty crew cabs and and regular cab trucks roll off the line in Flint, 50 miles north of Detroit. In 1975 the plant employed 7,500 people. Today there are less than 1,500 employees (150 management).
General Motors was born in Flint in 1908.
The Flint truck plant is Genesee County's only remaining assembly plant.
Plant tours are open to the public. One of the tour guidelines is to look at workers in the eye, especially those who drive scooters and bicycles (in a time sensitive maneuver skilled trade workers ride bikes to fix a glitch on the line) around the 159-acre facility.
They have the right of way.
In those worker's eyes I saw some hope. Apprehension for sure. Pride. Maybe despair, or perhaps they were just Detroit Lions fans. These eyes sparkled like string lights on an empty patio.............

Dave Hoekstra

Dave Hoekstra has been a Chicago Sun-Times staff writer since 1985. His collection of Sun-Times travel columns, "Ticket To Everywhere," was published in 2000 by Lake Claremont Press. He was lead writer for "Farm Aid: Song for America" (Rodale Press, 2005) which commemorated the 20th anniversary of the Willie Nelson inspired effort.
He won a 1987 Chicago Newspaper Guild Stick O-Type Award for Column Writing. Hoekstra wrote and co-proudced the WTTW-Channel 11 PBS special: "The Staple Singers and the Civil Rights Movement," nominated for a 2001-02 Chicago Emmy for a documentary program/cultural significance.
He lives in Chicago.


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This page is an archive of entries from September 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

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