AAA Editor Notes
Studebaker National Museum is at 201 S. Chapin St. The moment you walk through the museum's doors you'll be convinced you've just stepped into a 1920s or 30s Studebaker dealership. Here you can explore Studebaker history, from brothers Henry and Clement Studebaker's 1852 blacksmith shop to the evolution of the 1868 Studebaker Brothers Manufacturing Company to the 1963 South Bend plant closure to the last vehicle to bear the company's emblem—a 1966 Cruiser manufactured at the Ontario plant. You'll also discover the South Bend area of yesterday and trace its industrial and economic development through the years.
The Studebaker Corporation, which ran a museum of its own for several years, began cultivating a private collection in the 1890s. When the company halted production in 1966, the 37-vehicle collection was bestowed upon the town of South Bend.
Among the horse-drawn and motorized treasures you'll find within the 55,000-square-foot facility is the first carriage produced by the Studebaker brothers and the Conestoga wagon in which the family traveled west. Some of the motor vehicles manufactured in the South Bend plant set speed and endurance records in the 1920s.
Another must-see is the presidential carriage collection showcasing original rigs belonging to Presidents Lincoln, Grant, Harrison and McKinley. Lincoln's carriage is the same one that transported him to Ford's Theater just hours before his assassination. Military vehicles represent six wars and include a 1950 "Bullet Nose" Commander—the World War I collection is particularly impressive.
Time: Allow 2 hours minimum.