Thursday, July 28, 2016

This Day in Indiana History - July 28, 1969 - The Auburn Automobile Heritage Corporation was formed

Exploring Indiana's Historic Sites,
Markers & Museums
 North East Edition
July 28, 1969 - The Auburn Automobile Heritage Corporation was formed
The Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum grew out of the Auburn's owners’ formation of a club in 1952. The club, Auburn Cord Duesenberg Club, staged an Auburn owner reunion that grew over the years to become an event called the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Festival in 1969. This event led to the formation of the Auburn Automobile Heritage Corporation in 1969. The corporation purchased the old manufacturing plant of the Auburn Automobile Company. The museum opened on July 6, 1974.
Auburn Automobile Company
The Auburn Automobile Company rose out of the Eckhart Carriage Company, founded by Charles Eckhart in 1874.
Charles Eckhart (February 24, 1841 - Sep. 30, 1915)
The son of John and Catherine (Fraley) Eckhart, Charles was a native of Germantown, Pennsylvania. the family moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1856 where he worked in a woolen mill. In 1861, he enlisted in the Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry and served in the Civil War. A disability from the war caused his discharge on May 20, 1863. After migrating to Indiana, where he met his future wife, he reenlisted and served guard duty until his discharge in November 1865. He gained employment at Studebaker in Elkhart. By 1874, he moved to Auburn and started the Eckhart Carriage Company. His two sons, Morris and Frank, took over the carriage business in 1893.
Experimenting with Automobiles
Like many carriage makers of that age, the Eckhart brothers began experimenting with the newly developed automobile in 1900, building their first one that year. The brothers experimented with different models over the years The company saw modest success until World War I, when material shortages slowed production. A postwar recession further eroded sales until Erret Lobbing Cord purchased the company in 1926. The expensive automobiles that Cord produced did not sell well, a situation complicated by the Great Depression. The company ceased operation in 1937.
The Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum in Auburn preserves the heritage and history of the Auburn Cord automobile. For more information, contact:
Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum
1600 S Wayne St
Auburn, Indiana
(260) 925-1444
info@automobilemuseum.org

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