FLINT, Michigan, May 5, 2016 – The Michigan Historical Commission has honored Applewood: The Charles Stewart Mott Estate with a new historical marker as the estate celebrates its centennial and opens its doors to the public for the first time.
The official Michigan Historical Marker was unveiled at a dedication ceremony during Applewood’s grand opening on Thursday, May 5. The Ruth Mott Foundation, which owns and operates Applewood, opened the historic residence for free public tours Thursday, revealing pieces of the Mott family estate that were never before seen by the general public in honor of Applewood’s 100th anniversary.
Opening Applewood as a community resource was the wish of Charles Stewart Mott’s wife, the late Ruth Mott, who set out to transform the estate into a public memorial to her husband after he passed away in 1973.
“This historical marker is really a tribute to the generosity of Ruth Mott and Charles Stewart Mott, who dedicated much of their lives to improving the Flint community,” said Handy Lindsey, president of the Ruth Mott Foundation. “Ruth Mott’s vision is becoming a reality as the community gets to see a piece of Charles Stewart Mott’s legacy that most people have never seen before.”
Mott was a founding partner in General Motors, a prominent philanthropist and former mayor of Flint. His family home was built in Flint in 1916 in a Jacobean Revival style and named Applewood Estate in part due to the estate’s apple orchard, which is still thriving today.
In 1951, Mott donated Applewood’s former pasture land, along with additional funds, to help expand what is now Mott Community College.
Shortly after Mott passed away, Ruth Mott began planning for the future of Applewood Estate’s 34 remaining acres. Her wish was for the property to commemorate her husband’s contributions to Flint and the automotive industry. A philanthropist in her own right, she envisioned Applewood as a place of beauty and a community resource for the public to enjoy.
“Community is what these historical markers are all about. Not just the local community but the Michigan community as well,” said Jack Dempsey, president of the Michigan Historical Commission. “It’s self-evident why Applewood deserves a Michigan Historical Marker.”
Applewood was granted a listing on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.
After Ruth Mott passed away in 1999, the Ruth Mott Foundation opened the grounds for public tours and work began to preserve the house.
The commencement of the public house tours in 2016 coincides with the Ruth Mott Foundation’s new strategic plan, which includes making Applewood more available to the community. In addition to the Mott family home, visitors can also tour the colorful gardens, barn and chicken coop. The historic garage, once home to Mott’s beloved cars, is now lined with hands-on exhibits. Admission to Applewood is always free.