Factory Buildings

Studebaker's First OfficeStudebaker's First Office

In 1852, at the corner of Michigan and Jefferson Streets, Henry and Clement Studebaker started their first blacksmith shop. They initially produced wagons and the Studebaker Wagon Works grew to be one of the largest wagon manufacturers in the world and the only of its kind to successfully transition to gasoline powered vehicles.

Studebaker Factory, circa 1910Studebaker Factory, circa 1910

By the 1870s the company had grown so large that it was time to form a corporation and the Studebaker Brothers Manufacturing Company was organized. In 1874 the Studebaker's built a large, four story factory, which unfortunately, was destroyed by fire. It was immediately rebuilt, on a larger scale, and continued to grow. In 1897 they started experimenting with automobiles and by 1904 they were selling gasoline powered cars. 

Studebaker Proving GroundsStudebaker Proving Grounds

In 1926 the Studebaker’s established an 800-acre Proving Ground to test their automobiles. In 1938 they planted 8,259 white pine trees which grew into the largest living sign, with each letter over 200-feet wide, 200-feet long, and 60-feet tall, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. This land is now the Bendix Woods County Park.

 


Bibliography

Danielson, Kay Marnon. Images of America Series: South Bend, Indiana. Chicago, IL: Arcadia Publishing, 2001.

Erskine, Albert Russel. History of the Studebaker Corporation. Chicago, IL: The Studebaker Corporation, 1924.

Palmer, John. The Making of America Series: South Bend, Crossroads of Commerce. Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishing, 2003.

Romine, Joan. Tippecanoe Place. South Bend, IN: Southhold Restorations Inc., 1972.