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The Studebaker Works


Left: Studebaker Brothers first South Bend porduction facillity, corner of Michigan and Jefferson Streets. Right: Aerial view of the Studebaker Plant in it's heyday. Date of photograph unknown.

"In 1852 the Studebaker brothers built their first small business. It was a blacksmith shop located in the heart of South Bend but soon they began building farm wagons and the business grew slowly until the Civil War. (Over the years the company's name changed several times. ) The Civil War's demand for wagons, ambulances, etc. put a strain on Stubebaker's production and they began to look for labor outside of the city. They also moved their manufacturing facilities to the southwest end of town, encompassing an area between Western Avenue and Sample Street, and Main Street to Walnut Street. By the 1870's the westward migration required sturdy covered wagons and farm wagons and Studebaker was a major manufacturer with sales offices all throughout the West. The need for more workers caused the company to go overseas to find a workforce. Many who came were German or Polish. The company continued to make farm wagons until shortly after 1900 when they began to make automobiles. The company grew steadily through the 1930's, reaching its peak near the World War II years. Military demand for trucks and other vehicles created a demand for more workers. This demand was met by many ethnic groups, including African Americans trying to escape the hardships of the deep South. By 1950 the company was beginning to suffer many economic troubles, and in 1966 the company closed. -Courtsey St. Joseph County Public Library -

The Studebaker Brothers

Aerial Photograph of Plants 1 & 2

Want to see what Studebaker Plants 1 and 2 looked like in 1926 from the air?

It's Here

NOTE: . Also in the picture is the New York Central freight house and the Wilson Brothers Shirt Company. Photo courtesy Andy Laurent and the Studebaker National Museum and is very large. It may take sometime to load.

Original Building Construction Dates In Parenthesis

Building 84 (1923) as seen from the Conrail tracks. Looking southest. Building 84 was a massive structure, six floors and basement. 524,376 square feet and was the body trim fabrication and assembly building.





Inside Building 84. Pictured is part of the assembly line where Champion automobiles were manufactured.




Another view of Building 84, from the Conrail tracks that pass by the old Oliver Plow works. It illustrates on just how close these two former industrial giants were. You are looking toward the east.





Studebaker Administration Office Building 62 (1908). Left: The one time nerve center of the Studebaker Corporation. Executive Offices were located on the 4th Floor. Right: Today the building house the Corporate Offices of the South Bend School Corporation.

Left: Studebaker Corporation Buildings 30 (1878) and 30A (1890). Located on Lafayette Street south of Building 113 (1946) and north of Buildings 33 (1890), 34 (1890), 35 (1890) and 108 (1942) (All Demolished). Their original use is unknown. During the 1950's and 1960's they housed Plant Protection and the Plant Fire Department. Right: Studebaker Plant Protection Fire Department. Exact date of this photo is unknown. It is believed that is is late 1950's, early 1960's. The truck is turning north on Lafayette Street. Photo courtesy of the Studebaker National Museum Archives.


Studebaker Corporation Buildings 33 (1890), 34 (1890), 35 (1890) and 108 (1942). These building were the originally part of the wagon manfacturing . Building 108 (right side of photo) was the Avanti Doll Up area. These building sat south of Building 30 and 30A, west side of Lafayette Street. They were some of the first structures to be demolished.



Studebaker Corporation Buildings 47 (1897), 47A (1922), 48 (1893) and 48A (1922) These building were the original harness and saddle shops. These were all four story buildings and towards the end, they produced convertible and Avanti bodies. Buildings sat along the east side of Lafayette Street. In this picture, you are looking north. Buildings no longer exist, demolished years ago.



Studebaker Corporation Building 113 (1946). Paint lab and body parts sub-assembly. South facade of the building, looking northwest from Lafayette Street.





Studebaker Corporation Building 72 (1917-18). Motor machining and assembly. During the early 1950's they produced 1500 engines a day. Today it houses South Bend Lathe. Photo looking east from Sample and Chapin Street.





Gate House, Studebaker Corporation Building 72 (1917-18). Former guard house. The building to the left of the photo was Building 95 (1928) Industrial Relations Department. Building 84 can be seen in the background.






Left: Building 78 (1919). This massive building, 368,100 square feet, housed several departments, including Store Rooms, Press Room Die Shops, Frame Assembly Line, Plant Engineering, Tool Room, Specialty Parts Manufacturing. This building sits behind Building 72, south of Sample Street. Right: Building 78 another view. This view is of the north wall of building 78, looking towards the east.


Building 85 (1923) is the building towards the background of the picture. The Foundry. This foundry was capable of pouring 400 tons per day. Also pictured in the foreground is what is left of an extensive network of railroad tracks that once ran through the plant. Huckins Tool (to the right of the photo) is pictured. This building is not noted on a map of the plant. Where this building is was shown as Building 96 (1928) built as a "drive-away" building and later used as the transporation department garage.




Building 85, looking towards the east. Again note the "S" on the top of the building.






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