Quirky Attraction: The Studebaker Museum in South Bend, Indiana

studebaker

The Studebaker National Museum
Location: South Bend, Indiana (201 S Chapin St.)
When to visit: Open daily 10 am to 5 pm (Noon to 5 pm on Sundays)
Cost: $10 for adults, $6 for students
Time needed: 30-45 minutes
Website: www.studebakermuseum.org

Studebaker is a name associated with classic American cars. Pretty much the only thing I know about Studebakers is that they are vintage automobiles that look really cool. And that’s all you need to know to visit the Studebaker Museum in South Bend, Indiana, where dozens of the old rides are on display.

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For more than 60 years, Studebaker produced cars from its headquarters in South Bend (and at other factories in North America.) Those here at the museum are in pristine condition. Walking around in here transported me to an earlier time, an era of drive-ins and soda shops.

Here’s a glimpse of what you can find inside the Studebaker Museum, a three-level, 55,000-square foot facility.

Studebaker Museum Sights

This 1927 Studebaker Commander sedan set the all-time record for fastest cross-country commute when Ab Jenkins took it from New York to San Francisco in 77 hours. Looks comfy to me – I’d be willing to make that drive in this vehicle!

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I’m not sure I’d feel quite so comfortable in this 1904 Studebaker:

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Say hello to Fozzie Bear! This 1951 Studebaker Commander was one of two featured in the 1979 Muppet Movie. That’s Kermit riding shotgun.

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These classic cars look sweet. Many of them still run and are taken out of the museum for appearances in the area from time to time.

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Studebaker carriages

Studebaker was around decades before cars came along. In the 1850s, the company made horse carriages, and many of them were used by American presidents. There are carriages on display here that were used by Presidents Harrison, Grant, and McKinley.

And then there’s the one used by President Lincoln. Not just any carriage – this was the one Abe rode to Ford’s Theater on the night he was assassinated. It’s tragic history, but it’s moving to see.

president lincoln carriage

The Studebaker Museum is a fascinating place. It definitely ranks as one of the coolest things to do in Indiana.

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Studebaker Museum in South Bend

4 Comments

  1. It amazed me that the Studebaker brothers were running a million dollar business exporting wagons/carriages over seas in the 1890’s! Great museum!!

  2. Who knew there was such a place as a Studebaker Museum and that Lincoln’s carriage would be there?! Seems kind of out of place, but why not?

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