Henry Carter, a Dort Motor Car
factory inspector, walked by a
gravel pit full of trash on Third
Avenue everyday on his way to work
saw possibilities. With the help of
Ray A. Brownell, who later became
mayor of Flint, and Daniel A. Reed,
manager of the Board (Chamber) of
Commerce, enthusiasm for a project
to build the larges stadium west of
Harvard University was raised. The
stadium would cost $115,000 and seat
15,000. In the wartime atmosphere of
1917, the State of Michigan
appropriated $60,000 to build an
armory on one corner to the sight.
Local merchants and businessmen
pledged donations and Common Council
planned a bond proposal. Charles S.
Mott was the finance chairman of the
On Saturday, June 16, 1917, 5,000
men, with picks and shovels and
horses and wagons, paraded to the
stadium site for two hour shifts.
Bands played. Speeches were made,
Ceremonial shovels spaded dirt.
While the event was filmed, more
than100 loads of tin cans and other
debris were removed and thousands of
cubic yards of soil and gravel were
reshaped by nightfall.
Unfortunately, the State built its
armory on Lewis Street (currently
Chavez) and the charter amendment to
allow the bond proposal failed. The
stadium dream stood abandon for more
than a decade.
By the mid 1920’s things were
looking better and in 1927 the river
channel was filled in (partly with
trash donated by the community)
connecting the stadium site with
Atwood Island. Atwood Island in the
Flint River was donated to the city
by Edwin W, Atwood, whose pioneer
father, William A. Atwood ran a
sawmill on the island from 1866 to
1883 as well a being Flint’s mayor
in 1882. The city sold Athletic
Park- then on the north side of the
present UM-Flint site to the
Industrial Mutual Association for
$100,000, roughly enough to build
the stadium. Construction began in
the Fall of 1928 and was almost
completed by the following Spring.
The new stadium was dedicated on
Saturday, June 8, 1929 with a civic
Pageant of Progress depicting the
history of Flint with songs and
dances, and skits and costumes.
Presiding as queen of the pageant
was Miss Helen Atwood, daughter of
Edwin A. Atwood, donor of the site
and Granddaughter of William A.
Atwood, for whom the park was named.
When escorted to the podium, Miss
Atwood broke a bottle of Flint River
water and gave the deeds to the park
to the City's current Mayor