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GM restores its 'birthplace' factory, now a community space

An on-site archive contains around 100,000 historical documents, photos and other artifacts related to carriage-building and early auto manufacturing in Flint.

General Motors has restored its 'birthplace' factory in Flint, Michigan, repurposing the site as a community space and archive.

The Durant-Dort Factory One at one time hosted the Flint Road Cart Company, founded in the late 19th century and once the largest manufacturer of horse-drawn vehicles in the US. The company eventually stopped building carriages and the building was converted to manufacture automobiles in the early 20th century.

"Factory One sparked the global auto industry and was a catalyst in the formation of General Motors," says GM development head Mark Reuss.

The building can now be rented for corporate, educational, community or private events for up to 300 people. Alternatively, visitors can freely access its archive with around 100,000 historical documents, photos and other artifacts related to early automobile manufacturing in the Flint area.

GM purchased the property in 2013 and started stabilizing and restoring the building with period-appropriate windows and doors, aiming to preserve its original architecture. Contractors replaced 17,000 color-matched bricks and 20 percent of the mortar.

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