8. Studebaker, 615 West 131st Street

A blue banner shaped ghost sign that says Studebaker in peeling letters

The Studebaker brand originated in 1852 when the five Studebaker brothers manufactured Conestoga Wagons. The company moved to electric, then gas-powered cars in 1902, which they produced until 1966. Studebakers are remembered as reliable cars that featured innovative designs. 

The brick Studebaker Building in Manhattanville was built in 1923 with a white porcelain trim across its roofline. Two Studebaker terra cotta “turning wheel” logos used by the company between 1923 and 1934 are still visible on the southwest corner near the top. Cars were shipped from here to local dealers.

Customers could buy used Studebakers at the site. “A good car for your vacation can be secured for from $50 to $200,” read a 1926 New York Daily News ad. “Serviceable, sweet running automobiles — open or closed — are available at wholesale. Studebaker Pledge to the Public on used car sales guarantees you satisfaction.”

A decline in sales precipitated by the 1929 stock market crash forced Studebaker to sell the building to the Borden Milk company, which used it as a processing plant. The building later served as a warehouse for the American Museum of Natural History and other companies. Columbia University bought the building in 2000 and today its Computer Center and other departments are housed there.