Whaley Historical House Museum

624 East Kearsley Street

Flint, Michigan 48503


Telephone: 810.235.6841


Fax: 810.235.6186





By Appointment



Sundays, except Holidays.

1 pm to 4 pm


Adults (16 and Up): $5.00

Youths (6 to 15): $3.00

Children (5 and Under): Free

Time Travelers: $3.00

Office Hours

Monday through Thursday

9 am to 3 pm




Whaley Historical House Museum

Meet the Whaley Family

Robert Jeremiah Whaley

(1840 - 1922)

R. J. Whaley served as Citizens Bank's president for over forty years. His 1886 loan to the Flint Road Cart Company eventually led to the creation of General Motors in 1908. William C. Durant's bank book which records the loan is currently exhibited at WHHM courtesy of Citizens Bank.

This c. 1895 photograph of Mr. Whaley was taken inside WHHM's Library, possibly by his daughter, Florence.


Mary McFarlan Whaley

(1847 - 1925)

Mary arrived with her family, the McFarlans, in the early 1850s. Her father, Alexander, operated one of the largest lumber mills in Flint.

An avid reader, most of her books were donated to WHHM by her grandson, Robert. Mary also enjoyed gardening and had numerous pets.

This image of Mrs. Whaley was probably taken the same day as the above image of Mr. Whaley.


Donald McFarlan Whaley

(1869 - 1880)

The Whaleys' only son, Donald died at the age of ten after contracting diptheria during a visit with his mother to Detroit. Whaley Children's Center was created in Donald's memory.

He never resided in the Whaley family home on East Kearsley Street.


Florence Bickford Whaley Orrell

(1874 - 1959)

The Whaleys became guardians of Florence when she was a very small child. Though no legal adoption papers are known to exist, she used the Whaley name until her marriage. This photograph, c. 1895, was taken by her husband at her East Street home shortly after their wedding.


William Crapo Orrell

(1868 - 1927)

William, Florence's husband, was the grandson of Michigan Governor Henry Crapo and the cousin of William Crapo Durant, founder of General Motors. William was active in Flint's carriage industry and the formative years of GM and Chevrolet.


Robert Whaley Orrell

(1898 - 1980)

Robert was the only child of Florence and William and only heir of the Whaley family. In this 1905 photograph, Robert is petting one of the many family pets, Buster.

Most of the family artifacts in WHHM's collection were generously donated by him. During WHHM's restoration in the late 1970s, he contributed a number of drawings and wrote down many memories about the house.


Laura Kidder Whaley Jones

(1880 - 1960)

Forty years his junior, Laura was Mr. Whaley's half sister. Laura moved to Flint in 1897 to live with her eldest brother after both her parents had passed away. She lived in the home until her marriage in 1917.

Meet the Whaley Family Pets


Mrs. Whaley is posed near the barn with her pet parrot, Loretta. When not with Mrs. Whaley, Loretta lived in the Greenhouse located off of the Dining Room.



Peter and Piper

In this c. 1900 photograph, Mrs. Whaley and Robert play with the family dogs, Peter and Piper.