The city of Flint was first established as a trading post by Jacob Smith, a fur trader, and his Ojibawa wife. Flint was named after a river Native Americans called Pawanunking, which translates to “River of Flint.” Flint progressed as a fur trading, lumbering and agricultural area along the Saginaw Trail during the 19th century. Its abundance of lumber lead to the development of the Durant-Dort Carriage Company in 1886, when William Durant bought a carriage company and moved it to Flint. By 1900 Flint was producing more than 100,000 horse drawn vehicles per year, which is why it is called “Vehicle City”.
After the success of the Durant – Dort Carriage Company, William Durant invested in the Buick motor company and gained controlling interest in 1904. Buick then became the Nations most popular car after the company moved from Detroit to Flint. The body, spring, and wheel companies of the carriage industry became suppliers for the Buick Motor Company along with other independent suppliers and motor companies. In 1908 Durant combined Flint’s major manufacturing resources to create General Motors.