Durant Hotel

15 Jun

building- Durant Hotel
location-  Flint, Michigan
date- 1920
style- Neo-Georgian
construction- stone and brick cladding, steel frame
type- hotel
source- http://kohrman.blogspot.com/2005/05/checking-in.html

Sunday was a fun UE filled experiance. I shall save the, um, interesting Detroit venture for when I return from D.C. In the early morning hours we focused our attention on the long abandoned Durant Hotel in beautiful Flint.

In many respects Flint is a small Detroit. Once an auto titan, it has suffered in recent decades. However, Flint is often ignored by most UEers. Nearby Detroit has greater draw. The day’s adventure showed that Flint can surpass its big brother.

The Durant was built in 1920. By 1945 it was part of the Albert Pick chain and known as the Pick-Durant Hotel. Despite efforts to make it a “motor hotel” it shut its doors in the early 1970s, long before Michael Moore portrayed “evil” GM being the single cause of Flint’s downfall.

The 300 room hotel could also be viewed as a mini-Statler. Like the Statler it was built on a wedged shaped piece of land, kitchens in the center with public rooms wrapping around. It also faces a small park. The entry was also fairly Statleresque.

Once inside we made our way to the lobby. This is where you start to see how the Durant surpasses its larger Detroit cousins. The Durant has a spacious Italian lobby complete with corithian columns and wrap around balconies. Both the registration desk and news stand remain! The Durant’s lobby is breathtaking and easily surpasses those we found in the Detroit hotels.

The ground floor also has a number of storefronts and a large kitchen. The coffee shop sports a look out of an early James Bond movie. Yet, one more jewel remained, the ballroom. The ballroom is a large and elegant space, a rival to the Book-Cadillac’s. The gold wallpaper slowly peeling off. I noted how sad it was that the Durant has better convention space then the Fort Shelby, three times larger.

The mezzanine level offers great views of the lobby and ballroom. A second large ballroom is located in the center. It has lost most of its elegance. Although some plaster molding remains around the edges, most of the detail has been removed. Tacky light fixtures hang in place of chandeliers. The floor-to-ceiling windows have been bricked in, however the wood sashes remain intact on the outside.

Continuing further we came upon the hotel rooms. The remaining floors are largely identical. The hotel rooms have the standard look you expect to find in hotels of this era. The one deviation from the Statler plan is the placement of the restrooms in the center of the room rather then by the doorway.

The stairwells have large wooden double doors with plenty of glass. They don’t appear to be fire-proof, which is unusual for a building of this type and era. Other then that the corridors are typical. The top floor differed from the lower floors with a meeting room and some small wood-paneled rooms.

The employee areas have not been as plundered as the Statler had been. There is much rusting equipment left behind. The dark, and thankfully unflooded basement, is easy to get lost in.

The Durant doesn’t appear to have been scavenged as much as Detroit buildings. There is some tagging vandalism. Most is from some neo-Nazi known as “uzi-x”. The Durant will definately warrent return trips. However, we had to head off to Detroit for some afternoon adventure.


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