Photo of Wholesalers and Manufacturers Trip, July 27, 1911
Article by Ruth Mancina

At 6:30 a.m. on July 27, 1911, cars and passengers assembled at Jeffers Park for the Wholesalers and Manufacturers Association’s second auto trip. As the Saginaw Daily News had predicted, the morning was sunny, and the passenger list included almost 50 leaders of Saginaw industry and commerce. Several of the cars were Raniers, made in Saginaw.

The vehicles were decorated with banners, flags and emblems. Signs on the cars clearly indicated the purpose of this trip—to promote and sell the products of Saginaw. It was a little after 7:00 a.m. before the members of the group would start on their journey—they had to wait for the Goodridge Brothers to take their photograph.

The day’s itinerary included stops in Gera, Birch Run, Frankenmuth and a tour of the city of Flint and the Buick plants. Along the way one of the cars went off the road. While there were some bruises and the arrival of the party was delayed, the paper noted “the car was not damaged.”

While the purpose of this trip was an unabashed promotion of all things Saginaw, it also gives clues to Saginaw’s early connections and relationships with the fledgling General Motors and the companies that would become part of it. At this point, both the Saginaw-made Ranier and Buick were under the control of General Motors. Besides the tours of Buick plants in Flint and the choice of cars, the passenger list included E.L. Black, at that time a partner with Guy Garber in Saginaw’s Buick Distributorship (Guy Garber had been a passenger on the first trip).

Castle Museum of Saginaw County History is located on Federal Avenue, between Jefferson and Warren, in downtown Saginaw. Hours: Tuesday - Saturday: 10:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Sunday: 1:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. Admission: $1.00 adults, $.50 children.

© Ruth Mancina, 2011