FLINT, MI – This is a place with a storied past and today struggles for its identity of the future. For those old enough to remember the iconic pieces, they can bring a smile for the memory. So lets jump in the Memory Car and take a drive.
On I-75 headed south we see the larger than life Buick City sign. The sight of that made you know that you were heading to a place with a heartbeat. No bigger icon can be touted than that of General Motors. Buick was Flint’s pride. Buick City was a massive automobile manufacturing complex in the northeast area of Flint. It was a 235-acre complex that dated back to 1904. This complex was named Buick City in 1985. There was also Fisher Body.
As you continue around Flint you see neon signs that call out your attention. Wally’s had that ball with points of varying colors of neon that made you want to experience it at least once. Other signs that made it Flint were Dawn Dounts, The Atlas Coney Island on Corunna Road, Angelo’s Coney Island, Halo Burgers and even Burger Chef would be a vast glow of lights at night. The tastes and smells of Flint were memorable and iconic.
Paramount Potato Chip’s and Slim Chipley. Today Michigan heralds Better Made chips but if Paramount Potato Chip’s were still produced, they would put Better Made to shame. Interestingly enough, Better Made bought the rights to Paramount Potato Chip’s. They were classic Flint !
The Bell telephone book in Flint was the size of an encyclopedia. It needed its own separate drawer or cabinet to be stored away. The weight of it was amazing. Thousands upon thousands of business and residential telephone numbers compiled in small print page after page.
Another place of history that has been long gone but so not forgotten is that of Smith-Bridgmans. It was the anchor retail store of downtown Flint. Shoes, coats, fine hats all could be had at Smith-Bridgmans.
Anyone who knows anything about Flint and its past remembers Hamady Brother’s and the Hamady grocery bag. Simply called ‘The Hamady Bag’. The chain was founded in 1911 by Michael and Kamol Hamady. By 1918 they had 18 stores in Flint. Michael sold the chain to his son Robert in 1954, who then sold it to Alex Dandy in 1974. Hamady declared bankruptcy in 1988, and closed the last of its stores in 1991.
Our last stop in the Memory Car is with the Flint Journal. The Sunday Flint Journal was a sight like none other. Every week on Sunday you could sit for hours and read what the writers had complied. The newspaper always had the comics and the mountains of coupons stuffed inside. It was fun just taking it apart. Section after section. Page after page had something different to see and read each week. The Sunday Flint Journal was actually family entertainment as each section was passed around to the next family member.
So many of us long for the days of the past when memories were being made and we never realized it until now. Iconic Flint. What are your memories?