William Durant

Billy Durant, Photo Credit: GM Heritage Center

Billy Durant, Photo Credit: GM Heritage Center

Personal History:

William “Billy” Durant is a legend in American history. He was born in Boston in 1861. Although he didn’t move to Michigan until his 20’s, he had connections with the state, including his grandfather, a former Michigan Governor. Durant’s first venture into vehicles was with Josiah Dort, which would become the Durant-Dort Carriage Company. Durant would go on to start many businesses and  use those to acquire many more. Despite Durant being the founder of General Motors, he wasn’t always loved there. In fact he had to regain his spot with the company once, after being forced out by funders. In his lifetime Durant would create and lose three separate fortunes, twice with General Motors, and a third time on Wall Street in the great stock crash in 1929.

The Durant Hotel, Photo Credit: The Durant

The Durant Hotel, Photo Credit: The Durant

Connection to Flint:

Durant did so much to Flint that it is a wonder that there is not more named after him. Without him, the city never would have seen its glory days in they heyday of General Motors. Now, all that is left to remember Durant is his old home, which has been turned into a museum. Formerly there was a very nice hotel in downtown Flint called the Durant Hotel, however with age and the fall of the city the hotel went out of business and into disrepair. However the C.S. Mott foundation along with other funded the repair of the former hotel into new high-end apartments. Now, simply called “The Durant”, one can live in the namesake of one of America’s greats.

 

 

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