Famous Flint Landmarks – Five “Reinvented” Places!
As I consider the famous Flint landmarks, I immediately think of five places that are still here but have been fully or partial reinvented. Take a look at the ones I chose to feature and see if you agree that these are five of our best landmarks in Flint.
Auto World was an indoor theme park in Flint, Michigan, USA, built to make the town attractive to tourists. The theme park opened in July 1984, and closed during its first year. It was originally set up as a Six Flags amusement park venture. After failed attempts at revival in the summer of 1985 and other attempts at making the complex viable (once even being opened as an indoor golf course), it went bankrupt. The $80-million theme park finally closed its doors January 1985, later reopening for holidays and other special occasions before finally being demolished in 1997. Unfortunately, once our local patrons visited Auto World, once was enough and it just didn’t draw from outside our community. Now, in its place is one of the most remarkable local university campuses you would find in any small city in the country, The University of Michigan, Flint.
Flint Farmers’ Market: Every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday you will find hundreds of people enjoying the newly renovated Farmers’ Market in downtown Flint. For the last 100 years, The Farmers’ Market has been filled with the products and produce from farmers across the great state of Michigan. The market also features members of our local community selling and demonstrating their craft, like artwork, clothing and jewelry. The Flint Farmers’ Market is a national award-winning market that is the pride of our community.
Thirty-two years ago, you could see The Durant Hotel the moment your drove down Saginaw Street. It stood tall and proud in the heart of downtown Flint for many years. The Durant was the was built in 1920 and was center piece of Flint’s entertainment and society. For years it was vacant and crumbling right before our eyes, it nearly broke my father’s heart who has been in Flint his entire life. Someone’s germ of an idea was made reality when our historic Durant Hotel was renovated. Now, right across the street from the University of Michigan Flint campus in the new Durant Hotel, a showplace with marble pillars and floors in the lobby. The “New” Durant is being reclaimed and reborn, and the Flint community couldn’t be happier. Ninety-three new and modern apartments provide easy access to the downtown offices and university. Renovations are complete and the historic Durant Hotel is once again standing tall and proud in downtown Flint.
Deer Park in Grand Blanc was a landmark we all enjoyed. Whether we live in that community or twenty minutes away, people would come to watch and admire the habitat that lived the there. The park was a safe haven for deer that were so amazing to watch through the years and it all happened by circumstance. Years ago, two deer happened to jumped the fence on the land owned by General Motors and hence the story began and Deer Park was created. A great place to enjoy lunch with a friend or take your children and see the look on their faces as they watched with wonder. Well, progress happens, things move forward and now while the park has been named Heritage Park (a very fitting name) it is home to several retail businesses in the city of Grand Blanc. Don’t get me wrong, progress is great and needed in our community, however we all still drive by, shop the stores and remember what it was like with the deer living among us in this landmark called “Deer Park”.
The Capitol Theatre completed in 1928, was Flint’s largest theater and definitely one of our most historical landmarks in our city. The Capitol Theater is significant for its direct association with two of America’s foremost innovators in theater management and design, and for its grandiose architectural character”. The Capitol Theatre’s past and future destiny is truly a shrine of entertainment. This wonderful building has been recognized and is listed in the local, state, and national list of historic places. The current owners have perfectly preserved the property over the past twenty-two years and the time has come to restore this facility. It will serve as one of the channels to the revitalization of downtown Flint.