June 23, 2021
When word spread that Flint Central was closing after 87 years, Larry Gustin knew that there were some treasures there that ought to be preserved. Same thing when The Flint Journal started winding up brick and mortar operations in its historic building. Larry knew that The Journal had filmed the seminal Thanksgiving Day Games between Flint Central and Flint Northern, almost since inception. For decades the game was perhaps the premiere high school tilt in America. Routinely turning out thousands of spectators with a high exceeding 20,000 at its peak in the 1950’s. Top players routinely landed Division 1 elite college scholarships, went on to play in the NFL, and Central and Northern split 60% of the Michigan mythical Class A State Championships before the schools were broken up in to four schools with the addition of Northwestern and Southwestern, and the creation of Flint Powers Catholic.
Larry began his quest to find all of the films. Hidden in dusty file cabinets and under piles of musty papers, he managed to locate most of them. This treasure trove of Flint sports history is now part of a project in collaboration with Gary "Fish" Fisher, Larry, and the Genesee County Historical Society to turn the videos in to a full story of the Turkey Day contest. With luck it will come to fruition in the next year.
Read Larry’s article for a story of the games and his quest, and Fish’s article “Temple of The City” for their take on this epic tale of community greatness, competition, and how one city perfected both.