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KINGSFORD, MI – We’ve all come across the name at some point up here in the U.P. Whether you’re ordering a burger at the 906 or at a high school football game, we’ve all come to know the Kingsford Flivvers.
“We might use the term ‘jalopy’ later on, but a flivver was a sort of beat-up, ramshackle car,” said Bill Cummings, Historian and Vice President of the Menominee Range Historical Foundation. “It was a slang term used in the teens and twenties and sort of went out of favor by the forties.”
So now that we know what it means, perhaps the more important question now is “where did it come from?”
“We have an affiliation with Ford Motor Company, both Kingsford and Iron Mountain,” said Cummings. “So our mascot evolved sort of innocuously, or without any planned meaning, over the years.”
“The folklore that I hear most often is writing from the newspaper columnists, the reporters just reporting informally on tagging Kingsford High School with the name Flivvers,” said Craig Allen, Superintendent of Breitung Township Schools. “With the sports writers putting that in the paper, overtime it just developed into the Kingsford Flivvers.”
According to Cummings, in 1920, there were 231 students in Breitung Township Schools. By 1927, there were over 3,000 students in the schools. So, for two towns that were put on the map by Mr. Ford and his motor company, the name stuck and resonated with the area.
“We have a unique mascot,” said Cummings. “I don’t think that anyone, probably, has the Flivver as their mascot anywhere else in the nation I would bet to say.”
“It’s really just an appropriate name for a town built on the backs of people working for Ford Motor Company,” said Allen.