The next time you are casually wandering around downtown Detroit, you can see this marker setting just northeast of the Renaissance Center, on the southeast corner of East Jefferson Avenue and Beaubien Street. Whether you're the Ren Cen for a conference, or stumbling away from Greektown after a night of gambling, drinking, and other debauchery, you're not far at all.
David Dunbar Buick, for whom the Buick automobile is named, came to Detroit from Scotland with his parents in 1856 at age two. A plumbing inventor and businessman, Buick turned to building gasoline engines for boats on the Detroit River during the 1890s. By 1900 his first motor firm, Buick Auto-Vim and Power Company, was operating some six blocks north of this site near what is now the southwest corner of Beaubien and Lafayette Streets. The firm's overhead valve engines became famous for power. The first experimental Buick automobile was built in Detroit circa 1900. On May 19, 1903, David Buick incorporated the Buick Motor Company. That fall the firm was sold to the Flint Wagon Works in Flint where the first retail Buicks were built in 1904.
But wait! This is a two-fer marker! On the reserve side, you get even more fantastic Buick information.
David Dunbar Buick was one of many Detroiters who built gasoline-powered marine and farm engines during the late nineteenth century. Buick (1854 - 1929) opened his first motor shop, Buick Auto-Vim and Power Company, around 1900. Machinist Walter Marr built the first Buick automobile about the same time, and engineer Eugene Richard soon patented the powerful overhead valve engine synonymous with the Buick label. In 1903 the Flint Wagon Works purchased what was by then the Buick Motor Company and moved operations to Flint. Carriage maker William C. Durant took control of the company in 1904, propelling Buick to the top of the burgeoning market and using the capital to found General Motors in 1908. In 1998 ~~ nearly 35 million Buicks later ~~ Buick's headquarters returned to Detroit.