5 Places History Buffs need to see near Flint, MI

November 29th, 2022 by

Applegate Chevrolet is calling all history buffs. If you’re excited by exploring coal-fired locomotives, automobile museums, historic homes dating as far back as the late 1800s, and restored infamous theaters, Flint is the destination for you. Nicknamed Vehicle City, Flint, Michigan, is synonymous with history. It’s the founding city of General Motors, Buick, and Chevrolet and home to the 1936-1937 Flint sit-down strike, which changed the United Automobile Workers from a collection of local unions into a major labor union. Explore Applegate Chevrolet’s list of the five places history buffs need to see near Flint, Michigan.

Applewood Estate


Applewood Estate, an enduring legacy of civic participation, is the historic home of automotive pioneer Charles Stewart Mott. While most wealthy auto barons were building large homes outside of cities, Charles chose a home within the city limits of Flint to reinforce his commitment to the community. When he purchased his home and discovered apple trees, he moved the orchard to the front of the house, which now includes about 70 trees with 29 varieties of heritage apples. One tree, a Stayman Winesap, is over 100 years old.

Explore the first floor of the Mott family home, exquisite botanical gardens, and extraordinary grounds at your leisure. Enjoy colorful flower arrangements in the cut flower garden, herbs and vegetables in the demonstration garden, and 90 perennial varieties and about 20 beds of annuals in the perennial garden, which provides a vibrant backdrop to the house. Take part in story times, bring your lunch and attend lectures at noon on the second Thursday of the month, and civic events on the third Saturday of the month. Prepare to linger in nature and antiquity at this heritage site.

Location: 1400 E. Kearsley St., Flint.

Hours: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

Capitol Theatre

If you haven’t discovered this downtown gem since the completion of its historic renovation in 2018, now is the time. Capitol Theatre, built by architect John Eberson in 1928, is listed by the National Registrar of Historic Places. The restoration project restored and preserved significant elements of the original design and kept the 15th-century Hispanic-Italian exterior. An atmospheric auditorium resembles a Roman courtyard, and shimmering lights on the theater’s ceiling twinkle like constellations of stars in thenight sky.

The restored performing arts center seats 1,600 and offers a mix of music genres, standup comedy acts, film screenings, dance, spoken word, and theater works that play to the strengths of its intimate auditorium. A historic landmark, the renovated theater provides a unique entertainment option for residents and visitors.

Location:  140 E. Second St., Flint.

Hours (ticket office): 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.

Crossroads Village and Huckleberry Railroad

Crossroads Village and Huckleberry Railroad is a history museum in Flint, Genesee County. It’s home to 34 buildings, many restored 19th-century buildings, a narrow-gauge railroad, a replica paddlewheel steamboat, and amusement rides. The Huckleberry Railroad began operating in 1857 as part of the Flint and Pere Marquette Railroad Company. Its name comes from the fact that it ran so slowly you could jump off the train, pick a few huckleberries, and jump back on with minimal effort. All the equipment, cars, and steam engines are originals.

If you need a break from the rush of daily life, visit this museum and immerse yourself in a different era. The Huckleberry Railroad operates three locomotives, two cabooses, and one hopper car. A journey on the Baldwin steam locomotive takes you along the shores of Mott Lake. Interpretive artisans give meaning to the things visitors see and the life and times of the post-Civil War era. You can enjoy a collection of vintage amusement rides, such as the Mott Lake flyer, Venetian swings, wheelchair-accessible swings, and pony carts, for plenty of old-fashioned fun.

Location:  6140 N. Bray Road, Flint.

Hours: 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday and Friday and 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

Sloan Museum of Discovery

The Sloan Museum of Discovery’s exhibits include a gallery dedicated to the Flint Sit-Down Strike and a comprehensive, fascinating automotive collection of horse-drawn wagons, carriages, horseless carriages, cars, engines, and car parts manufactured in and around Flint by General Motors and others. American car culture exhibits feature memorabilia such as car-oriented neon signs from local meeting places and businesses like the Hamady Brothers’ grocery stores.

As part of the Flint Cultural Center, the Sloan Museum is neighbors with the Longway Planetarium and the Buick Gallery. Admission to the Sloan Museum also includes the affiliated Buick Automotive Gallery. The museum’s collections trace their history to the Genesee County Historical Society’s origins in the 1860s and are a must-stop destination, particularly for automotive history buffs.

Location:  1221 E. Kearsley St., Flint.

Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

Stockton House Museum

Thomas and Maria Stockton constructed their Stockton home in 1872. In 1850, Colonel Stockton, a prisoner of war for a time, helped found the Genesee County Agricultural Society. He retired in 1863 and continued working as a recruiter for the Union Army. His wife, Maria Smith, was the daughter of the first European settler in Flint. She founded and became the first President of the Ladies Library Association in 1851. This group later became Flint’s first public library — the first of its kind in Michigan.

The Stocktons were influential members of the Flint community and donated 20 acres of land to the Michigan School for the Deaf. You can attend public tours of the Stockton House Museum on the third Saturday of every month and explore the luscious gardens, natural plant life, and perpetually flowing spring.

Location: 720 Ann Arbor St., Flint.

Hours: 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. every third Saturday of the month.

Make the most of your trip to Flint, Michigan, by visiting one or all five historic sites. What are some of your favorite historical spots around Flint? Drop us a line and let us know, and we may add your suggestion to our list. Add even more excitement to your tours by viewing Applegate Chevrolet’s certified pre-owned vehicles or new vehicle inventory and driving there in the vehicle of your dreams.