Statue of automotive pioneer Charles Nash unveiled at Flint's B - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Statue of automotive pioneer Charles Nash unveiled at Flint's Bishop Airport

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(07/01/14) - People using Flint's Bishop Airport will have a better understanding of the city's history thanks to another statue of an automotive pioneer.

Charles Nash was in the transportation business before GM was founded. He worked at the Durant-Dort Carriage Company in Flint. His statute now stands near that of Walter P. Chrysler at the luggage pickup area at Bishop.

In 1908, Nash became president and general manager of Buick.

"Nash got his start here. Walter P. Chrysler got his start here. It creates this image of Flint, that is used to be the little Silicon Valley of the automotive industry, where these guys all got their start here," said Jeremy Dimick, Sloan Longway curator of collections.

Relatives of Nash still live in Mid-Michigan.

"My grandmother and mother and my aunts always told stories about him. I guess I didn't know how important he really was," said Cathy Koerver, of Montrose, a great-great niece.

"My nieces that live in California when they come back now, they can go over there and give him a handshake," said Jeri Thomas, a great niece.

While many people recognize the Chrysler name, a younger generation might not be familiar with Nash. He started his own car company in 1917. A 1929 Nash with a rumble seat was at the airport on Tuesday.

"I come to this airport a lot and I've seen that Chrysler statue and said, 'Well, maybe they ought to have a Nash.' And lo and behold I get a call and we're having one," said Al Ruckey of Waterford, who owns the 1929 Nash.

A 1948 Nash was brought in for the unveiling of the statue.

"We learned this morning he was a very hard worker, working 16 hours a day, seven days a week for nine years of his life," said Bill Sturgeon, who owns the 1948 Nash and lives in Orchard Lake.

All agree sculptor Joe Rundell did a great job capture Nash's appearance.

"I think it's awesome," Koerver said.

Nash's company eventually merged with Hudson and became American Motors, which was absorbed by Chrysler in 1987. Just as the two statues are near each other at the airport, their legacies have close ties, too.

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