Seventy-five-year-old Dan Spaniola stands in the storefront of Paul’s Pipe Shop, puffing on his favorite pipe filled with hand-blended tobacco that he likely made himself, gazing at downtown Saginaw Street–the place his family business has called home for generations. 

It’s been eight years since his father, the six-time pipe smoking champion and founder of the shop Paul Spaniola died just six months after his 100th birthday, but Dan and his son Carl continue to spend every day working, keeping the business alive. 

The inconspicuous storefront with a sign that reads “Caution: This is not a smoke-free establishment. Please hold your breath while I smoke” leads you into the shop which, according to Spaniola, is host to almost a million pipes. Like many doorways on Saginaw Street, it’s an entrance to not just a shop, but history of the city.

The shop has had 4 locations during its 93 years in business, and for over 40 years it has been among the many businesses, homes, and parks that make Saginaw Street what it is. Segmenting the city from north to south, to travel along Saginaw Street is to pass by a storied history of Flint, Michigan.

Saginaw Street is also host to events like the Crim Festival of Races, Back to the Bricks, the Gus Macker basketball tournament, to name a few, and it is the location of many Flint Public Art Project murals.

Scroll through our pictures below for a visual tour of the street that defines so much of the city.

Cars are stored in the parking lot of Iggy’s Hub Caps, which is located at 3640 South Saginaw Street in Flint, Mich. on Nov. 10, 2021. (KT Kanazawich | Flint Beat)
South Saginaw Street facing northbound on Nov. 10, 2021. (KT Kanazawich | Flint Beat)
A rainbow appears over a vacant building on South Saginaw Street after the first rain shower of the year on March 24, 2021. (KT Kanazawich | Flint Beat)
One of the over one hundred murals in Flint, located on the side of a structure on South Saginaw Street on Nov. 8, 2021. (KT Kanazawich | Flint Beat)
Two houses wedged between commercial structures on South Saginaw Street in Flint, Mich. on Nov. 8, 2021. (KT Kanazawich | Flint Beat)
Children run across South Saginaw Street to ask to take a photo in front of a Lamborghini during the Back to the Bricks Rolling Cruise on Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021. (KT Kanazawich | Flint Beat)
ACDelco Flint Ignition Service, Ten Fu Chinese Gourmet, and the South End Market on South Saginaw Street on Nov. 10, 2021. (KT Kanazawich | Flint Beat)
Cars pull out of the Sunoco on Saginaw Street in Flint to enter the Rolling Cruise, part of the annual Back to the Bricks event on Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021. (KT Kanazawich | Flint Beat)
Rich Jones, Councilman Eric Mays, and Water Warrior Claudia Perkins were some of the Flint leaders who gathered outside of City Hall Friday morning to protest the proposed $641.25 million water lawsuit settlement on Dec. 11, 2020. They called it a slap in the face and added insult to injury, disrespect of human life, and an abomination. (KT Kanazawich | Flint Beat)
Flint poet Frankie McIntosh sits at the podcast table inside Wav Village, a recording studio in downtown Flint during the soft opening on Oct. 16, 2021. The studio was founded by Flint native Anthony Arline and is outfitted for podcasts, music recording, and more. (KT Kanazawich | Flint Beat)
Shair’Mae Harris, 17, of Flint leads the For The Love of Dance Studio group down Saginaw Street for the Champions Parade celebrating Juneteenth on June 19, 2021. (KT Kanazawich | Flint Beat)
Ma Mang Vietnamese restaurant owner Tony Vu watches the Back to the Bricks car show activities on Saginaw Street from a rooftop on Friday, Aug. 20, 2021. (KT Kanazawich | Flint Beat)
Katie Rittman of Flint bartends at The Loft on the evening of Nov. 11, 2021. The downtown bar located at 526 S. Saginaw Street is known for its danceable soundtrack, with DJs playing music. (KT Kanazawich | Flint Beat)
On-air personality and manager Edward Graham live on the Flint radio station 98.9 The Beat on the morning of June 3, 2021. The radio station launched May 14, 2021, and is home to radio, talk shows, local news, and urban contemporary music. (KT Kanazawich | Flint Beat)
Lina Marco jumps over 7 skateboards in the flat lot in downtown Flint during a girls skate event put on by Jenna Bankston of Brush Alley Skateshop on April 11, 2021. Marco, who was one of the older skaters at the event, was helping teach younger, newer skaters new techniques. (KT Kanazawich | Flint Beat)
Hundreds of players attend the Gus Macker 3-on-3 basketball tournament in the Flat Lot in downtown Flint on Sept. 18, 2021. The Gus Macker is a basketball tournament designed for people of all ages to come together for the sport. (KT Kanazawich | Flint Beat)
The ten-mile race runners start on Saginaw Street in downtown Flint during the Crim Festival of Races on Aug. 28, 2021. The annual Crim Festival of Races was established in 1977 by Bobby Crim to serve as a fundraiser for the Special Olympics. (KT Kanazawich | Flint Beat)
The Sparkle Pink Club for Girls is a club promoting empowerment and self-esteem-boosting, based in Flint, Mich. Their float was part of the Champions Parade, one of many celebrations of Juneteenth in the City of Flint on June 19, 2021. (KT Kanazawich | Flint Beat)
The now-abandoned former Freedom Life Center on North Saginaw Street in Flint, Mich. on Nov. 10, 2021. (KT Kanazawich | Flint Beat)
Dr. James A. Brown, MD, in an exam room at the Hamilton Health Network Flint Clinic on June 22, 2021. Though it is not his first language, Brown is the only Spanish-speaking physician in the Flint, Mich. area. (KT Kanazawich | Flint Beat)
Members of the Berston Bicycle Club in Flint, Mich. prepare to go for a planned 10-mile bike ride with their instructor Angela Stamps on July 28, 2021. Stamps has been running the club since 2012. The 9-week program is free for youth aged 10-18 and Stamps teaches bicycle safety, navigating, making decisions, and healthy living. After completing the program and final exam, the kids who participate get to take home a bike, helmet, front and rear lights, bike bag, reflective vest, bike lock, and tire patches. The bike club is just one of many athletic programs happening at the Friends of Berston field house. (KT Kanazawich | Flint Beat)
A partially collapsed commercial structure on North Saginaw Street in Flint, Mich. on Nov. 5, 2021. (KT Kanazawich | Flint Beat)
Friends and loved ones of Quetez Quinn gather at a candlelight vigil and balloon release on Saginaw Street in Flint, Mich. On July 29, 2021, everyone gathered to honor Quinn after he was killed on his motorcycle in a hit-and-run accident just days before. (KT Kanazawich | Flint Beat)
‘Richie Rich’ also known as the watermelon guy, or the nut guy, stands at his daily perch at the corner of Saginaw Street and Stewart Avenue in Flint, Mich. alongside his friend Junior on Nov. 10, 2021. Almost every day of the year you can find Richie Rich at this corner with a small assortment of produce. His business started in the 1960s when he would drive a produce truck around the same neighborhood going door to door. In 1979 he started his stationary stand at Baker Street and Saginaw Street, and in 1989 he moved to his current location. Rich likes the spot because it’s the neighborhood where he grew up, and he’s watched his community and people like Junior grow up. The stand is decorated in hand-painted signs by Richie Rich, making it hard to miss. (KT Kanazawich | Flint Beat)
The Rosebud Candle & Dollar Store on North Saginaw Street in Flint, Mich. on Nov. 2, 2020. (KT Kanazawich | Flint Beat)
A mural by Jules Muck, also known as Muckrock on North Saginaw Street for the Flint Public Art Project on Nov. 2, 2020. (KT Kanazawich | Flint Beat)
Since 1913, the Gracelawn Cemetery has preserved a large portion of land on North Saginaw Street. The winding roads take you away from the chaos of the traffic, to grave markers intricately decorated by loved ones. (KT Kanazawich | Flint Beat)
Inside the EZ Stop party store on North Saginaw Street on Nov. 30, 2021. (KT Kanazawich | Flint Beat)
Jay Abuaiga poses for a photo while working at the EZ Stop party store on North Saginaw Street on Nov. 20, 2021. (KT Kanazawich | Flint Beat)
Dion Savage rests on his truck bed after a long day of working on renovating his old party store, Dion’s Party Store on the north side of Flint, Mich. Savage spent over 20 years in prison for a drug charge. In 2020, when a law was amended, Savage was released and has been working on gaining parts of his old life back. Although the first ward neighborhood surrounding the former party store has suffered a major loss of residents, those that have stuck around are excited at the prospect of having a store within walking distance to their homes. (KT Kanazawich | Flint Beat)