In 1905 William Durant of the Buick Motor Company asked wheel and axle manufacturer Charles Stewart Mott (1875-1973) to build axles in Flint. The Mott family and business had moved from Utica, New York, to Flint by 1907. In 1913 Mott's company joined General Motors, where he was vice president from 1917 to 1937 and on the Board of Directors from 1913 to 1973. Mott served three terms as mayor of Flint: 1912, 1913 and 1918. He purchased sixty-four acres of farmland here in 1915 and contracted his brother-in-law Herbert Davis to design his residence, Applewood. Built in 1916-17, at a cost of more than $70,000, the estate was named fro the farm's apple grove. The 15,444-square-foot house was designed in a modified Jacobean style. Mott's wife, Ethel Harding Mott, helped furnish the thirty-five room home, which included a bowling alley.
General Motors executive Charles Stewart Mott maintained Applewood as a working farm until 1949. William Pitkin, Jr. designed the grounds, which included an apple grove, vegetable gardens, and livestock and recreation areas. Mott, whose grandfather owned a cider and vinegar company, added twenty-five apple varieties to the orchard. Mott's wife, Ethel, died in 1924. In 1926 Mott established the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation. Its goals included education
advancement and community development. In 1934 Mott married Ruth Rawlings. In 1952 he donated thirty-eight acres of the estate to Flint for the future site of Mott Community College. He died in 1973. Applewood was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1979. In 1989 Ruth established the Ruth Mott Foundation, which took ownership of the estate after her death in 1999.