2040-2052 Broadway
Graphic for The Boulevard Encore
B&W NYC Tax Photo of 2040-2052 Broadway

View of 2040-2052 Broadway from west; Image Courtesy NYC Municipal Archive 

2040-2052 Broadway – The Studebaker Building

by Tom Miller

In 1906, as Broadway north of Times Square morphed into what would be called Automobile Row, the architectural firm of Lamb & Rich designed a two-story “showroom and garage” for the Winston Motor Carriage Company at the northwest corner of Broadway and 70th Street.  At the time, the general office and showroom of the Studebaker Automobile Company at Broadway and 54th Street.  Originally a manufacturer of buggies, carriages, and wagons, Studebaker had only begun making automobiles four years earlier.

Studebaker’s success by 1922 was such that a second showroom was necessary.  On July 16, the Bisbee, Arizona newspaper, the Bisbee Daily Review, reported that Studebaker had purchased the former Winton building.  “This is one of the finest and most desirable showrooms in the city and has been purchased by the New York branch of the Studebaker corporation for use as a branch new-car salesroom of the main building on the corner of Fifty-fourth street,” said the article.  It added that the structure would be enlarged.

Studebaker commissioned Tooker & Marsh to remodel the 1906 structure.  The architects doubled its height and clad it in terra cotta with colorful inset panels and corbels.  In March 1923, the firm announced the building had been “entirely remodeled” and “is being occupied as sales headquarters, in addition to the Studebaker Building at Fifty-fourth street and Broadway.”

Showroom Interior

Image courtesy The Saturday Evening Post, ca. 1926

Lloyd Acker Elevation

Image by Lloyd Acker, Courtesy Office for Metropolitan History, ca. 1953

A subsequent remodeling three years later resulted in what an advertisement on March 30, 1926 called “a great automobile ‘Department Store’—a direct factory branch where both new and used cars are offered for your inspection under ideal conditions.”  Additionally, the upper floors now held the firm’s general offices and retail sales department.

Customers browsing the showroom here were financially comfortable.  The factory price for a 1929 “President Eight Brougham” for five passengers was $1,785—more than $30,000 by a 2024 conversion. 

Studebaker remained at the address through the Great Depression years, but by 1941 signage announced, “Rudy Stern – Used Cars.”  Another sign on the corner of the building, however, read, “To Lease.”  Nine years later, the “Nardin-Hudson Used Car Department, Inc. occupied the building.

Tooker & Marsh’s handsome terra cotta structure survived until 1987, when it was demolished to make way for the 21-story Coronado apartment building designed by Schuman, Lichtenstein, Claman, & Efon.

Tom Miller is a social historian and blogger at daytoninmanhattan.blogspot.com


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