General Motors has inaugurated their Durant Dort factory, the company’s birthplace, thus returning to where it all started from.
General Motors has returned to its birthplace at the Flint, Michigan factory from 1886. The factory called Durant-Dort Factory One, is the premises where William Crapo “Billy” Durant began his cart company in 1886.
The property dates back to 1880, when it was a part of a wool and cotton company. Six years later, Durant and business partner Josiah Dallas Dort, leased the the site to start his Flint Road Cart Company. Durant later went on to take control of another company – Buick Motor Company. Durant used Buick’s success to build General Motors in 1908 and turned to his friends from Flint’s carriage industry to form Chevrolet in 1911. The facility ceased Carriage production due to drop in demand in the midst of the motor car in 1917.
Since then, the site housed countless other businesses over the year and was finally fell into disrepair after its’ last renovation in 1980. While General Motor had never owned the site, in 2013, the American automotive giant purchased the property and spent US$3 million to restore the interior which included replacing of 17,000 bricks. In the second phase, the interior was also renovated and the facility has been repurposed as an events space with room to accommodate up to 300 people, offices and is the home to the extensive Kettering University Archives which dates all the way to the inception of the automotive industry.
GM has stated that the archives will be open for all to use and as a tool for leaders in the automotive industry as the data from the 1,00,000 historical documents, images, and other artefacts related to carriage-building and early automobile manufacturing in the area as well as the history of General Motors.
The inauguration of renovated Factory One saw the presence of the great-grandsons of William Durant and Josiah Dallas Dort, making it the first time both families had been together since 1925.