General Motors agrees to buy birthplace site: Durant-Dort Carriage plant

Article by Anita Panait, on May 5, 2013

General Motors has reached a deal to acquire the original Durant-Dort Carriage Co. site in Flint, Michigan as part of its plans to use the 133-year-old, 25,000-sq. ft. building as a showcase for its corporate history, GM North America President Mark Reuss told Reuters. Reuss called the original Durant-Dort Carriage Co. as the "the birthplace of GM."

During a speech at an event’s dinner, Reuss disclosed that GM has also reached a deal to acquire the Durant-Dort office building, across Water Street from the site. Reuss referred to the office building as "the center of GM heritage," where many of the carmaker’s original documents and records remain. Durant-Dort Carriage Co. was one of the biggest mass producers of horse-drawn carriages in United States.

It was owned by Billy Durant -- who later founded GM -- and his former business partner J. Dallas Dort. Durant used his earning from carriage maker to buy the troubled Buick Motor Co., the first in a series of carmakers that eventually comprised up GM."

Reuss told Reuters before his speech that found inside the Durant-Dort office building are Billy Durant's desk, his spittoon and all the handwritten records from carriage sales and financing. Reuss disclosed that GM plans to transform the office into a little museum open for visitors and the factory into showroom where they could display a “nice collection of Buicks” or hold dealer events there. GM spokesman Terry Rhadigan remarked that the building is in remarkable shape, even though it was built in the 1800s.

Over the years, the Flint Historical Foundation, which maintains the office building, lacked funds to make needed repairs. Reuss said in his speech that GM is donating $50,000 to the Durant-Dort Carriage Company Foundation "to cover both its $25,000 annual budget and the repairs and renovation needed this year."

Topics: gm

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