Historical Setting

Historical setting

The Durant-Dort headquarters building was only two stories tall when completed in 1896. The dormered third floor was ruined by a fire in 1908. When it was rebuilt, the third story was replaced with straight brick walls and a flat roof. The elegant roofline of 1906 was not regained until the building was restored in the 1970s. That renovation, said an old neighborhood resident, "was like an old photo coming to life."
The building is in the center of a couple of blocks of mostly ancient buildings, several now considered historic. Across W. Water Street from the headquarters is an abandoned brick factory now on the National Register of Historic Places. The oldest section was originally the vintage 1880s factory of the Flint Road Cart Company, predecessor of Durant-Dort. This was where the founder of GM first began producing vehicles, even though they were horse-drawn. That factory was bought by GM in 2013 after Mark Reuss, then president of GM North America, proclaimed it "Factory One" - for its association with Durant's start in vehicles. It's being restored and its uses will someday be tied to GM's heritage though plans are incomplete. 
Across another street, Mason, from the office is the onetime home of Charles W. Nash, who rose from Flint Road Cart Company laborer to general superintendent of Durant-Dort. Nash's office was also in the headquarters building before he became successively president of Buick, president of GM and creator of Nash automobiles. The Water Street area, part of Flint's Carriagetown historic district, has become an imposing historical work in progress. In the area are the office building as a National Historic Landmark; the factory on the National Register; the Nash house on the Michigan Historical Register, nearby bronze statues of Durant and Dort and three state historical markers. 

Dort Motor Company headquarters