FLINT, Michigan, April 28, 2016 – An exciting piece of Flint’s rich automotive history is about to be revealed to the general public for the first time.

Applewood Estate, the Flint family home of industrial pioneer Charles Stewart Mott, is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year and introducing free tours of the historic residence that include areas never before seen by the general public. Centennial events planned throughout 2016 offer an opportunity to shine a bright spotlight on Flint and spread community pride.

The fun kicks off during the Grand Opening, Thursday, May 5, with an unveiling ceremony for Applewood Estate’s historic marker planned for 12:30 p.m.

Also new for 2016 are interactive exhibits, including portraits that “come to life” inside the home, that provide visitors with insight into one of the Flint area’s most prominent families.

As part of the centennial celebration, Applewood is increasing public access to four days a week with more family fun and programming than ever before. The grounds and home will be open Thursday to Sunday from May 5 through Oct. 30.

In addition to the Mott family home, visitors can also tour the gardens, barn and chicken coop. The historic garage, once home to Mott’s beloved cars, is now lined with hands-on exhibits.

The best part? All the events, activities and exhibits are absolutely free all season long.

Applewood Estate, 1400 E. Kearsley St., was built in 1916 by Mott, one of the founding partners of General Motors. The residence and 34 remaining acres of the estate are now owned and maintained by the Ruth Mott Foundation and located between the Flint Cultural Center and Mott Community College. The estate was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.

Applewood was designed to be a beautiful and practical estate, including recreational opportunities, flower and vegetable gardens and a farming operation that once had dairy cows, horses, pigs, and poultry. The landscape design incorporated an old apple orchard already on the property.

The transformation of Applewood from a family home to a public resource was the vision of C.S. Mott’s wife, Ruth Mott, who wanted to open it up in honor of her husband and his significant contributions to Flint and the automotive industry. With its colorful gardens and expansive grounds, she also envisioned Applewood as a place of beauty and a community resource for the public to enjoy. The gardens and grounds at Applewood were opened to the public after Ruth Mott passed away in 1999, but the house will be opened for the first time for public tours this year.

“This centennial is a celebration we want the whole Flint community to enjoy,” said Handy Lindsey, Ruth Mott Foundation president. “Flint was home to C.S. Mott and his family, and we want Applewood to be a welcoming retreat and resource for Flint residents and all our visitors. Our goal this year is to open up even more avenues for people to get to know Applewood and the Ruth Mott Foundation.”

Applewood Centennial Highlights:

  • The home is open to the public for the first time. New guided house tours begin in May and visitors can reserve a spot on the website. Reservations are strongly suggested because tour group sizes are limited. Walk-ins are accepted if space is available.
  • A new book about Applewood was published in honor of the 100th anniversary and will be available for sale on site. “Applewood: The Charles Stewart Mott Estate | One Hundred Years of Stories, 1916-2016” contains beautiful color images of the house and gardens as well as never-before-seen historic photos and excerpts from Mott family materials preserved in the Ruth Mott Foundation Archive.
  • A complete biography of C.S. Mott by noted biographer Vincent Curcio is in the works.

Applewood’s centennial coincides with the Ruth Mott Foundation’s new 2016-20 strategic plan. After a comprehensive community engagement process, the foundation focused its grant-making activities in north Flint, an area with significant challenges that could benefit from concentrated resources. The strategy also includes a plan to make Applewood Estate more accessible to Flint residents and the general public.