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End on an era for Studebaker in Hamilton

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  • End on an era for Studebaker in Hamilton

    Several weeks ago there was some information out there that the Hamilton Studebaker plant was being torn down but I was unable to uncover details until now.

    My local source (very authoritative) advised me this morning that the current owner, who has had the property for many years, has simply found the the monthly cost of maintaining it, i.e. property taxes and utilities, simply didn't justify continuing. It had been used as a storage facility for a number of products. Although there had been a number of proposals for its use in recent years, nothing had actually been successful. The property, which also includes the Otis Elevator building, has been on the real estate market for years, again without success. Studebaker had sold its property to Otis in 1967.

    Apparently there was a recent offer submitted for the 25+ acre brownfield site, however it was rejected and the owner has made the decision to demolish both the Studebaker and Otis buildings. The utilities have been turned off and it is expected that the wrecker's ball will move in sooner rather than later. Once cleared, the land will be likely divided into 2 acre industrial building lots.

    We hope to receive advance knowledge of the demolition plans in order that suitable photography may be accomplished, perhaps even with local Studebakers present as a tribute to history. Then we will only have our memories.

    Stu Chapman

  • #2
    Thanks Stu. Our club should have another visit before the wrecking ball.
    sigpic
    55 President Deluxe
    64 Commander
    66 Cruiser

    37 Oldsmobile F37 4 Door

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    • #3
      A Final Tour of Studebaker Hamilton?

      Originally posted by 2moredoors View Post
      Thanks Stu. Our club should have another visit before the wrecking ball.
      If...I was able to convince the current owner to let us have a final tour of the Studebaker Hamilton premises just before demolition begins, who out there would like to participate? You can respond to this message or you can email me at
      schapman5@cogeco.ca
      and I will make sure you are contacted if we can pull it off. If cooperation from the owner is available then this could be a huge media event for Studebaker. Any thoughts?

      Stu Chapman

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      • #4
        Stu , you know you can count on me....nothing more I'd like then to have my 66 coming out the final assembly door !
        sigpic

        Home of the Fried Green Tomato

        "IF YOU WANT THE SMILES YOU NEED TO DO THE MILES "

        1960 Champ , 1966 Daytona , 1965 Daytona Wagonaire

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        • #5
          On our way to South Bend in 2002, we went to the Hamilton plant so that my '65 Wagonaire could have its picture taken in front of its birthplace. The plant was being used as a warehouse for Rheem water heaters back then. RIP Hamilton plant!

          Gary Ash
          Dartmouth, Mass.

          '32 Indy car replica (in progress)
          ’41 Commander Land Cruiser
          '48 M5
          '65 Wagonaire Commander
          '63 Wagonaire Standard
          web site at http://www.studegarage.com

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          • #6
            I'm taking a family vacation to Toronto July 5th through the 10th or so. I was planing on at least driving past the Hamilton plant to take a picture or two. If a tour were to happen during that time I would like to participate.

            Thanks,

            Chad Huth

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            • #7
              The question here is why?...
              That building looks to be in fine shape, for something. I despise when history gets demolished in the name of saving some cash!! History+demolition=I don't get much sleep at night...
              It's too bad the building can't be devided and leased out like the Chippewa plant is being used.
              Chris Dresbach

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Chris_Dresbach View Post
                The question here is why?...
                That building looks to be in fine shape, for something. I despise when history gets demolished in the name of saving some cash!! History+demolition=I don't get much sleep at night...
                It's too bad the building can't be devided and leased out like the Chippewa plant is being used.
                There are lots of buildings in Hamilton that could face the Stdebaker building demise. Hamilton was once an industry rich city but over the years there has been an exodus of manufacturing companies, indeed the whole of Hamilton/Niagara area has a reduction in manufacturing so the question is "who could the building be leased to in its present state?".
                sigpic
                55 President Deluxe
                64 Commander
                66 Cruiser

                37 Oldsmobile F37 4 Door

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                • #9
                  Many of the old cotton mills in my area are being converted to residential use. Would that area of Hamilton be suitable for that purpose? Hate to see it go!

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                  • #10
                    Stu, last years trip to the Hamilton Plant was among the highlights of my summer outings. If we were able to get in the gates this year, let alone get into the building this could possibly double the interest in a club tour. I would be there with out a doubt. Perhaps the other Chapters would put out a shout as well (and/or attend), to show the owner just how much passion Studebaker owners are about the history of the brand.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by qsanford View Post
                      Many of the old cotton mills in my area are being converted to residential use. Would that area of Hamilton be suitable for that purpose? Hate to see it go!
                      Interesting thought, particularly since it is residential across the street. However, my understanding is that the owner is planning on going for an industrial land division of 2 acre lots. But specific information for the property has never been easily available so I've had to get it through the back door so to speak.
                      Stu Chapman

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by 2moredoors View Post
                        There are lots of buildings in Hamilton that could face the Stdebaker building demise. Hamilton was once an industry rich city but over the years there has been an exodus of manufacturing companies, indeed the whole of Hamilton/Niagara area has a reduction in manufacturing so the question is "who could the building be leased to in its present state?".
                        My contact also told me that the Firestone facility will likely face the wrecker's ball as well. Apparently there is no indurtial demand for these huge buildings in their present state.
                        Stu Chapman
                        Stu Chapman

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Chad Huth View Post
                          I'm taking a family vacation to Toronto July 5th through the 10th or so. I was planing on at least driving past the Hamilton plant to take a picture or two. If a tour were to happen during that time I would like to participate.

                          Thanks,

                          Chad Huth
                          Chad....check you PMs for a note.
                          Stu Chapman

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Stu Chapman View Post
                            Interesting thought, particularly since it is residential across the street. However, my understanding is that the owner is planning on going for an industrial land division of 2 acre lots. But specific information for the property has never been easily available so I've had to get it through the back door so to speak.
                            Stu Chapman
                            There is a "loft mentality" in big cities like Toronto where industrial type buildings are converted into residential living quarters but as long as land can be developed why would anyone want to live in a converted factory. Some buildings have been spared the "wreckers ball" in the Niagara area being converted in seniors homes or in one or two cases restaurants but I do not see many if any complexes like the Chippewa Avenue Plant.
                            Anyway Stu, I would certainly like to take a tour of the facilities and thanks for your efforts. Let's hope it can be done.
                            sigpic
                            55 President Deluxe
                            64 Commander
                            66 Cruiser

                            37 Oldsmobile F37 4 Door

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                            • #15
                              Stu et al--

                              Very sorry to hear this, even if it's not a complete surprise. As to the residential idea, the Stude plant anchors what has become about the toughest neighbourhood in Hamilton; of course change is possible (as once-hardscrabble but now tony northwest Hamilton shows), but it takes decades, and the old plant seems to be out of time.

                              (The loft idea has another Stude link: the building on Dundurn Street, once leased for product planning use by Studebaker--and visited by the SDCers on the same day as our Hamilton assembly-plant visit last September--was long slated for conversion to lofts...but it never happened, in in the shape that structure is now in, it never will.)

                              If I can be at the plant for a final visit I certainly will be; should be able to arrange for my Hamilton-built Lark to be there at least, even if I'm not free on the day.

                              S.

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