Birth place of General Motors is being converted to a small mus - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Birth place of General Motors is being converted to a small museum

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FLINT (WJRT) - (6/11/14) While many people are familiar with how Henry Ford started his car company, fewer people know the story behind General Motors.
But an effort is being made to preserve and pass along that important part of Flint's history.

The Durant-Dort Carriage Company Headquarters on Water where a small museum is being created. It might never resemble the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village, but organizers here say it's important for people to know how GM got started. The historic marker outside the Durant-Dort Carriage Company doesn't begin to tell the story behind the building.

"It's a National History Landmark. It's at the highest level the federal government recognizes. It's the same designation as the White House," said Peggy Lawrence, operations manager of the Durant-Dort Carriage Company Headquarters on Water Street.

But hasn't been used very much in recent years.Now there's a plan to turn it into a small museum and bring in guides to outline Flint's ties to the carriage industry and ultimately to General Motors.

"The global economy for the middle class started right here," Lawrence said.

Billy Durant and his partner J. Dallas Dort used the building as office space for the factory across the street.

"They used it as a showcase for the carriages they would bring in upstairs. Kind of like going to the car dealerships now," said Lawrence.

Later in this building Durant drew up the papers to create General Motors.

A piano in the building was a wedding gift to Billy Durant and his first wife Clara. It was recently donated to the Durant-Dort Headquarters.

"And we will be accepting donations as well if people want to submit some artifacts, some automotive artifacts," said Lawrence.

The building will be open on Tuesday, Thursdays and Saturdays.

"You can come in and have a tour. It doesn't cost anything," said Lawrence.

Organizers are looking for volunteers who are willing to learn about Flint's history and conduct tours.

For more information about the Durant-Dort Carriage Company Headquarters, click here.

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