Celebrating GM's first century

Jul 11, 2008

The birthplace of General Motors will celebrate the auto maker's 100th Anniversary during July in a variety of ways.

Kettering University and General Motors go way back - all the way back to 1919, when automotive leaders decided technical education was needed to meet the needs of burgeoning factories in Flint, Mich. The School of Automobile Trades was formally established in October of 1919, offering 12 night classes for factory workers in topics such as practical mathematics and mechanical drawing.

By 1924 the cooperative approach to technical education was initiated with an alternating schedule of classes and related plant work that continues to this day at Kettering, as students rotate between 12-week academic terms and 12-week cooperative work terms with more than 700 co-op employers. In 1926 General Motors took over operation of the school and it became General Motors Institute until 1982 when the school became independent and eventually named for one of its founding fathers, Charles Kettering.

Kettering University is proud to help celebrate the history of the automobile industry and General Motors in Flint, and will host an open house Friday July 18 from 1 to 4 p.m., featuring tours of the Archives located in the Campus Center which houses the papers of GM Founder, Billy Durant, and Charles Kettering, inventor of the Electric Starter and various Kettering laboratories.

Some of the activities scheduled in Flint from July 12 to 20 in celebration of the auto maker's 100th birthday include:

  • Flint Club’s General Motors Birthday party at River Bank Park: Saturday July 12 from 1 - 5 p.m.: Fun times for children to celebrate GM’s 100th anniversary. Clowns, cakes and more.  
  • Flint/General Motors Family Reunion a tKearsley Park, Sunday July 13: A GM Family reunion in Kearsley Park will kick off the week featuring children games, music, food and an old fashion baseball game between GM divisions. Free to the public, the hope is to get families from around the country to come visitFlint.
  • Birthplace of General Motors Tour, July 16-19 from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.: Tour the Durant Dort Headquarters, a National Landmark recognized as the Birthplace of General Motors.
  • Concert in Riverbank Park, July 17 at 7 p.m.: Enjoy the summer evening listening to music of the Genesee Valley Concert Band. Paddle boat rides also available on the river Thursday through Sunday.
  • Applewood Garden Tour, Thursday July 17 from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.: Tour the grounds of Charles Stewart Mott’s Applewood Estate. Items planned for this day include family activities, historic displays and refreshments that honor C.S. Mott’s contribution to and influence on GM. Guided garden tours at 11a.m. and 2 p.m.
  • Mott Community College Technology Center Open House, Thursday July 17: Demo of the smart machines used in industry today! Flexible Manufacturing Cell, rapid prototyping systems.  
  • Kettering University Open House, Friday July 18 from 1 - 4 p.m.: Start with a tour of the Archives located in the Campus Center which houses the papers of GM Founder, Billy Durant, and Charles Kettering, inventor of the Electric Starter. Visit Kettering’s crash test labs and fuel cell labs.
  • Michigan Story Tellers Festival, Friday July 18 and Saturday July 19: 28th annual Michigan Story Teller Festival on the grounds of the Flint Public Library.  
  • GM 100th Car Cruise, Friday July 18 starting at 7 p.m.: Cruise begins from the three Flint Meijer stores, 2333 Center Road, 2474 Hill Road, and 4333 W. Pierson Road. After the cruise, go to downtown Flint for a big party on Saginaw Street under the arches. Free dash plaques to the first 1000 participants.
  • Metawanene Hills Preview Event and Garden Party, Friday July 18 from 5:30 - 8 p.m.: With dessert and lemonade in hand, stroll through and bask in the beauty of one of the most well-kept and imaginative gardens in the Metawanene Hills Community. Wander through Ramona Park, sample home baked goods from neighborhood residents and enjoy a MHNA beautification project.

For additional details on these and other events planned for this celebration, visit www.flintgm100.com.

Written by Gary Erwin and Dawn Hibbard
810.762.9538 or 810.762.9865
gerwin@kettering.edu or dhibbard@kettering.edu