Thursday, February 7, 2013

Can You Spell Studebaker In 5,000 Trees or Less?

When Bendix Woods opened as a county run park just south of New Carlisle, Indiana it was a welcomed gift to the locals provided by the company who's name was literally made in the automobile industry. Accordingly, when Studebaker went searching for a suitable place in 1926 to build their proposed test track "Million-Dollar Outdoor Testing Laboratory" the 840-acre parcel of land land essentially had their name written all over it. Of course we are speaking figuratively here but the marketing heads at Studebaker apparently were quite literal thinkers and devised a plan to plant 5,000 pine trees (gotta look good in the winter time too) in such a pattern so as to spell out "STUDEBAKER" to any and all who could... see the land from high above, which was admittedly few people in that era. They still managed to beat Packard, who was also building a test track north of Detroit, by a year tho that is largely academic since the companies later partnered up.

Public Domain image by "Junkyard karhs"
Eventually Studebaker fell but the trees remained. A living testament to the enduring image the Studebaker brand surely hoped to impress upon the public when they began the project. Here, 87-years later, the grove of carefully arranged evergreens remind us of not only the once great car maker, but also of the "go big" spirit of innovation and daring that swept the nation in the new and exciting era of the automobile. Ironically, the organic signage is visible to many times more people now than it was in it's day thanks to air travel being so commonplace.

In 2011 a grant was made available for the continued preservation and care of these silent witnesses to our sacred past.

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