Well now I know a little bit more about the Studebaker AND the Studebaker family… Right here, just around the corner in South Bend, Indiana, sitting on the shores of the beautiful St. Joseph River, home to a long lineage of wonderful history, and the very famous University of Notre Dame. Now you can’t say the name Notre Dame without thinking about the legendary football coach Knute Rockne. Well Knute Rockne not only made a name for himself on the football field, he made a name for himself with the Studebaker family and the Studebaker automobile. He was a spokesman and salesperson for the Studebaker automobile factory AND he even had a car that was designed especially for him and the world around Knute Rockne.
Today we spent a FULL day walking the halls and isles of the Studebaker National Museum and Center for History Museum, which are shared in one building. I’ll tell you right now, this was one of THE BEST museums we’ve ever visited…it was “well done !!!”. We spent the first 2/3rd of the day walking through the fantastic Studebakers
and other items that the Studebaker Corporation (the largest wagon manufacturer in the world starting in 1884) manufactured, such as the huge motors that powered the B-17 and the Jeep during WWII to name a few. My number one Studebaker is the 1953 red convertable...amazing car. They also manufactured the horse carriage and the horse LESS carriage. One of the carriages that they had on display for us was the one that President Lincoln took to the Ford’s Theater to see the performance of “Our American Cousin”.
Unfortunately at approximately 10:00 pm, John Wilkes Booth fatally shot President Lincoln. Leaving the museums for the day, we drove down the street about 50 yards for a very good lunch. Tippecanoe Place Restaurant was once the “Tippecanoe Mansion”.
The mansion of the Studebakers is the embodiment of everything great wealth could bring in the late 1800’s AND today it’s a great place to have either lunch or dinner for a surprisingly reasonable price. With a rather small square footage of only 26,000, a finished construction price in 1889 of $250,000, the Clem Studebaker family lived quite well and after we ate, we had a chance to see just how well with a self-guided tour of all 4 floors.
St. Paul’s Memorial United Methodist Church was completed in 1903 after nearly two years of construction.
The church structure was a gift to the congregation from Clement Studebaker and his wife, Ann. After construction started the Studebakers went to Europe and while there they visited and re-visited churches of all ages and types to see if there was some idea that they had left undone back home. In Munich, Germany they came upon a glass works that impressed them very much, so much that they contracted with him to design and build the 30X18’ key window for their church in South Bend. This window shows Peter preaching at Mars Hill in Athens. After returning home Clem became ill and died before the church was finished. Designed into the window we could see where Clem was placed (right side of the picture with a beard and wearing a blue robe) so that he will be forever immortalized.
At the left corner of the sanctuary sits a baptismal font (12th -13th centuries)
that was presented to the church by J.M. Studebaker in loving memory of his brother Clem Studebaker. It is believed to be the oldest baptismal font still used in the US.