W. C. Durant / Durant-Dort Carriage Company
William C. Durant
William Crapo Durant (1861-1947), one of Flint's most important historical figures, was a pioneer in the development of the American auto industry. Durant's vehicle ventures began in 1886, when with a borrowed $1,500, he bought the rights to build a two-wheeled road cart. Nine years later the Flint Road Cart Company,
begun by Durant and his partner, Dallas Dort, became the Durant-Dort Carriage Company. Durant took over Flint's tiny Buick Motor Company
in 1904. He turned it into the largest American producer of automobiles by 1908, and, on Buick's success, founded General Motors in September of that year. In 1911 he and Louis Chevrolet founded the Chevrolet Motor Company, which combined with General Motors seven years later. Parting with General Motors in the 1920s, Durant founded Durant Motors Company and its subsidiaries but went bankrupt during the Depression. He died in New York City.
Durant-Dort Carriage Company
William C. Durant and his business partner, J. Dallas Dort, completed this building in 1896. It was originally the headquarters of the Durant-Dort Carriage Company, one of the largest volume producers of horse-drawn vehicles in the United States at the turn of the century. Many of the decisions that led to the birth of General Motors, now the world's largest automobile manufacturer, took place here. After the carriage firm ceased operations in 1917, this building was headquarters of the now defunct Dort Motor Car Company until 1925. The Durant-Dort Carriage Office Building is the last structure in Flint linked to "Billy" Durant's pioneer efforts in automobile manufacturing. It was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1975.