The Studebaker Building
615 West 131st Street
The Studebaker Building was erected sometime in the 1920s. Contrary to some references, it was not a factory or plant but simply a storage and distribution building for cars and parts manufactured at their plant in South Bend, Indiana. The building probably also included a showroom and sales offices. It is also not to be confused with another (now defunct) Studebaker building at 1600 Broadway at 48th street. Columbia University had been renting space in the building for many years and finally purchaed the whole building in June of 2007.
Studebaker began as the Studebaker Brothers in 1852 making Conestoga wagons. Studebaker first ventured into powered vehicles with electric car in 1902 and over the next 64 years, the company made its name with lovely, functional, outlandish and/or controversial designs as well as capricious management and a voracious appetite for buying out other companies. The company ceased making automobiles in 1966 but continued as an investment group controlling a collection of former subsidiaries and passing through numerous mergers and acquisitions. The Studebaker name finally disappeared into history in 1979 when Studebaker-Worthington was acquired by McGraw-Edison. (reference)