Studebaker Factory – Then and Now

March 25, 2013

Above is a view of the Studebaker Factory that once graced the area just north east of Walker and Wyandotte. This picture above was taken in 1913 and is looking south at the factory from the rail tracks.

By 1937, the Studebaker factory is listed as “Silent and Mostly Vacant”.

The factory burned to the ground in the 1980s? Before I moved to Windsor at least. Maybe someone out there remembers the blaze. It looks like some parts of the complex survived…

8 Responses to Studebaker Factory – Then and Now

  1. Brendan on March 25, 2013 at 1:57 pm

    Andrew, the top picture is of another Studebaker facility, just south of the location that the insurance map shows. The old factory pictured is indeed the building that burned to the ground in November of 1987, but the insurance map and the recent pictures show buildings that are still around. I should know, because I currently work in them! We use the old Studebaker buildings as warehouses and maintenance rooms now. The main facility that is shown from that great old picture was on St Luke, just south of Wyandotte on a parcel of land that is now vacant, and not a trace of that old beauty is left. My company occupied some of the floors of that plant up until it burned down, and we moved our operations across Wyandotte to what is pictured in the Sanborn Maps here. The rail tracks you see in the photo might be of the old spur that ran over the old underpass that was filled in some years ago.

    In the office we have a great aerial photo of the old plant from a different angle than you have here. I’ll be in today, and I’ll snap a photo of it if I can.

  2. Shawn on March 26, 2013 at 7:56 am

    Yes Complete Packaging uses these buildings now.
    I was in there for an order and I had the privilege of seeing these buildings, and inside the warehouse. I also saw the old picture hanging up in the offices of what it used to look like.
    It’s in really rough shape, but it’s very impressive and looks older than it really is.

  3. JeffS on March 26, 2013 at 10:00 am

    Looking at the Google satellite photo of St. Luke south of Edna, there appear to be ghosts of factory floors. Would that have been the Studebaker factory?

    I remember the MacDonald-White paint building fire in the late 1980′s but not this one.

  4. Freeman on March 26, 2013 at 9:05 pm

    Quoted from this page”http://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/showthread.php?p=5077327″

    “In late 1909 the American company E-M-F opened a branch plant in Walkerville and began the manufacture of E-M-F 30 and Flanders 20 Automobiles.
    Not long after their move into Canada, E-M-F and Studebaker (who at the time distributed E-M-F cars in the States) got into a dispute which led to Studebaker acquiring E-M-F in a take-over. The Studebaker Corporation of Canada was formed, the E-M-F 30 and Flanders 20 were renamed the Studebaker ’30′ and ’20′ and sold until the end of 1912.
    One of the more interesting cars manufactured by Studebaker was the E.K. Big Six, so named because of its 7-passanger size and ability to reach speeds of 80 miles per hour. Rum runners of the day did much of their business with this vehicle–so much so, that in 1921 the Windsor Police Department bought a $3,000 Big Six of their own just to keep up with the Runners.
    Studebaker enjoyed a successful Canadian run until the late-1920′s when it released the Erskine, a European-style six that no one wanted to buy. A few years later, it purchased the Pierce-Arrow Motor Car Co., which had for years been in a state of decline. The cars did not sell and Studebaker unloaded the company in 1934. Studebaker continued to manufacture a full line of cars in Windsor until 1936, when Canadian tariff protection was parred down. “

  5. Brendan on March 26, 2013 at 9:07 pm

    JeffS – yes that’s exactly where the Studebaker facility was. The fire occurred in November of 1987.

    Yes Shawn, the old building has seen better days. The current main buildings which aren’t shown on the insurance map and that are “across” Montreuil Ave back in the 30s were once a manufacturing facility for Graham-Paige Motors, a long-defunct car company that bit the dust during the Depression. Looking inside the plant you’d have no idea cars used to be built there, save a few tracks in the floor that have been worn down to nothing and the ghost of a show room in the part of the building facing Wyandotte. This was covered in a previous IM article. I’d link it, but I’m on a phone.

  6. Aaron on March 28, 2013 at 6:05 am

    Huh….I had no idea so much of the complex is still around!

    Seems that everything but what is in yellow, plus the main building pictured in the postcard is still there (garage, No.3 & service department)

    Something that is confusing me however in the postcard, is to the left of the main building, there is a multi storied building, where building #3 on the map is. No 3 still remains as the white building w/ arched windows.

    Also Brendan, regarding the lot on St Luke south of Edna: I thought that was the Fisher Body plant site…No? I beleive all those ghost floors are Fisher Body, and at the southern end of that property (on google maps), on the west side of the abandonned Pere Marquette right-of-way (which you refered to as a rail spur) you’ll see a collection of truck trailers. I beleive that is the Studebaker site. Just south of a twin peaked wearhouse, and across from the Seagrave site.

  7. VP on March 30, 2013 at 11:05 pm

    I worked with someone in Toronto at the time of the fire. Her husband apparently had an financial interest in the building. I remember her telling me that there were a number of antique cars stored in the building that were destroyed. I seem to recall it was discussed as being a suspicious fire,

  8. Brendan on April 17, 2013 at 8:12 am

    Aaron, there are no multi – storied buildings on the property today, nor have there ever been. The building with the arched windows is one of our “assembly rooms” and it’s very old, complete with wooden beams and probably a ton of asbestos. I still maintain that what is pictured on the postcard and what is pictured on the Sanborn drawing are two separate locations. They are close together, but the buildings on the postcard burned down in 1987. Yes VP there was quite a large collection of stored classic cars and boats on the third floor of the building.

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