GM factory museum opens in Flint - WNEM TV 5

GM factory museum opens in Flint

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(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)
FLINT, MI (WNEM) -

The historic birthplace of General Motors is hosting a grand reopening.

The Durant-Dort Carriage Company will serve as an event place and modern archive where generations will be able to learn about the company's origins for years to come.

"First factory, the home of the Durant-Dort Carriage Factory. This is where it all began," said Robert McMahan, president of Kettering University.

McMahan is revved up for the grand opening of the historical landmark. The Durant-Dort Factory One is opening its doors after a four year renovation project backed by Kettering and General Motors.

"GM invested enormous amounts of resources to rebuild and rejuvenate this facility and has brought it back to an incredible state," McMahan said.

The building has a few different purposes. It is part museum and part event space.

William Durant and Josiah Dort were the forefathers of what became known as General Motors and the building was their first factory.

Kevin Kirbitz, operations manager, had a hand in putting it all together.

"I would like the community to know where it all began. The rich heritage that we'll share here with the auto industry. Again, this is where GM started, but it was a whole community coming together," Kirbitz said.

Factory One was founded in 1886. They built carriages and carts. Even though they never built any actual automobiles in the building, it is where it all began in Flint, according to Mark Reuss, executive vice president. He said he wants the space to shape young minds.

"The math and science piece of this and the understanding of innovation, technology and how we went from horse and buggy to riding automobiles right here in Flint," Reuss said.

As for McMahan, he hopes by taking a look at the past people will get inspired to build a better future.

The industry and the company that was created there went on to become the largest industrial company in the world.

The building was saved from the wrecking ball in the 1970s. That's when its role in the birth of GM was rediscovered.

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