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February 1, 2020
Studebakers: the brothers, the cars and the legacy
It all began in 1852 when the two oldest of five Studebaker brothers - Henry and Clement - opened a blacksmith shop, pursuing a trade they had been taught by their father. By the 1880s, Studebaker was the largest maker of vehicles - wagons, carriages and sleds, at that point - in the world.
Then came the heyday of auto production, with models like the Commander, the President, the moderately-priced Erskine and the luxurious Pierce-Arrow during the 1920s; the Land Cruiser in the 1930s; Champion Regal coupes in the 1950s; and the Avanti and the Daytona during the 1960s.
Although the final Studebaker car to be assembled in South Bend rolled off the production line in 1963, thousands of aficionados around the world continue to drive them.
Among the most popular destinations for visitors to South Bend is the three-story Studebaker National Museum, where galleries include exhibits of U.S. presidential carriages. Among the crown jewels displayed at the Studebaker museum: the Barouch carriage that transported the Lincolns to Ford's Theatre on the the night of the president's assassination in 1865.
For a motoring excursion through a broad landscape of Studebaker history, our two guests will be:
Family connections have been part of the Studebaker heritage since the beginning. The fortunes of the wagon-making business are said to have been jump-started when John Mohler (J.M.) Studebaker, the third of the five brothers, returned from California to invest in his siblings' company. J.M. (1833-1917) had become wealthy by selling wheelbarrows to miners during the Gold Rush.
At various times, all five Studebaker brothers were involved in the business, although Clement (1831-1901), J.M. and Peter (1836-1897) were most closely associated with it. Clement's mansion, built during the 1880s and christened Tippecanoe Place, is now home to a popular restaurant in South Bend.
During World War II, Studebaker manufactured trucks and other vehicles used by the military. After the war, the company returned to making popular cars for middle-class Americans; our guest Bob Palma notes their 1947 models were touted with the slogan "first by far with a postwar car."
Other history facts:
Roadtrip: Culbertson Mansion in New Albany
As Kisha tells us, the Culbertson Mansion was built in 1867 by William S. Culbertson, who had worked his way up from a lowly clerk in an Albany dry-goods store to own an investment company worth millions. He was the richest man in Indiana at the time of his death in 1892.
The opulence of the Culbertson Mansion reflects the wealth of the man who built it: hand-painted ceilings, a carved staircase, marble fireplaces and elaborate plasterwork are among the details that delight modern-day visitors. Size alone is an impressive feature: The Second-Empire style mansion contains 25 rooms that encompass more than 20,000 square feet.
But Kisha assures us that this Roadtrip isn't just about the architectural bling: as an official State Historic Site, the Culbertson Mansion seeks to educate visitors about the lifestyle of the Victorian-era moneyed class, as well as that of the servant staff who were responsible for maintaining the affluent household.Sounds like a bit of Downton Abbey right here in Indiana! Be sure to tune with Kisha for this dramatic Roadtrip!
In 1959, Studebaker Corp. introduced a compact model car. According to our guest Bob Palma, Studebaker's compact model beat the "Big Three" automakers - General Motors, Ford and Chrysler - to the growing small-car market.
After the South Bend plant stopped making cars in 1963, the compact model continued to be built for a few years at Studebaker's smaller assembly plant in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
Question: What was the name of Studebaker's compact model car that debuted in 1959?
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February 8, 2020 - coming up
The life and impact of Rev. Boniface Hardin
With what was often described as a "cloud of white hair" and a distinctive beard, Rev. Boniface Hardin would have drawn attention even if he had not emerged during the 1960s as one of the most prominent civil rights activists in Indianapolis.
As Hoosier History Live salutes Black History Month, we will explore the impact of Father Hardin (1933-2012), the founder of Martin University, the only predominantly African-American institution of higher learning in Indiana. He was among the first wave of black students to attend St. Meinrad Seminary in southern Indiana during the 1940s and '50s; when Father Hardin was ordained in 1959, he was one of only 88 black Catholic priests in the country.
The nearly 50 years he was based in Indianapolis were eventful, to say the least.
Because of his outspoken support of teenage protestors during the late 1960s, some civic leaders urged the Archbishop of Indianapolis to have him recalled to St. Meinrad. When that seemed likely, dozens of his supporters at Holy Angels Parish walked out of Mass on Easter Sunday in 1969, drawing national media attention.
In addition to Father Hardin's unflagging advocacy on behalf of disenfranchised people - and his crusade to provide new educational opportunities - he was well known in later years for his public re-enactments of one of his role models: 19th-century abolitionist Frederick Douglass, to whom he bore a remarkable physical resemblance.
To share insights about Father Hardin, who had a soft voice but a compelling, folksy speaking style, three guests will join Nelson in studio:
Father Hardin was born and grew up in Kentucky. He came to Indiana, as our guest Nancy Chism reports in her biography, after he was "excluded from the seminaries in Kentucky because of his race."Father Hardin's impact on his adopted home state resulted in honors such as being named a Living Legend by the Indiana Historical Society in 2002.
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