Historic Structures

Building Description Duesenberg Automobile Company, Indianapolis Indiana

The Duesenberg Automobile and Motors Company site development began with the construction of a gasoline tank, November, 1920. Additional frame stables and temporary construction sheds were erected in December, 1920. These structures located along an east-west axis south of Building attached Building #2 were the first permanent structures on the site, 1920-1921. Building #2, a one-story, steel framed structure originally thirteen bays in length, is finished . with industrial glased curtain walls set in red brick framing. A centered, six foot high glazed monitor provides additional lighting for the open plan. A concrete floor is covered with cross-grain cut wood blocks. An additional one-story, frame structure was sited immediately adjacent to Harding Street at the intersection of W. Washington Street. By c. 1922, this building had been stuccoed. It was demolished by 19^0. In 1922-23, Building #3, a ten bay, one-story, red brick, curtain-walled factory building with a six foot high glazed monitor was constructed along Harding Street. It served as the finishing room and road testing department, By 1927, an additional five bays were added to the south.

This complex of buildings and large, open site served all aspects of production and local sales promotion for the various models produced from 1921 to 1937. Building #1, often bedecked with bunting and flags was the corporate symbol of the company. Its location on W. Washington Street, an industrial corridor and major highway leading from the city, made the headquarters and its attached factory one of the most highly visible automobile manufacturing concerns in Indianapolis. The visible connection between the structures emphasised the closeness between the management and the production line. Fred Duesenberg maintained his office in the southwest corner of Building #1. The curtain wall to the west overlooked the chassis production. The fully glazed bay to the south overlooked the delivery area.

Following the purchase of the site by the Marmon-R errington Company, all the buildings on the site were enlarged and additional buildings constructed. In 1940, the factory area was enlarged (Building #2 became Building A) with the addition of eleven western bays. Buildings B, C, C-D, D and E were built in three sections. These one-story, red brick buildings all sharing common walls repeat the configuration of the initial factory building. This range continues due south of Building A, fronting on an access parallel with Building #3. All have large, overhead doors set in fully glased elevations which feature stepped and arched parapets. Four small, ironcladded warehouse sheds and a three-story, brick-faced, concrete office are aligned along the east side of the access. The office with a rounded northwest corner is attached to the northwest corner of Building #3. A two-story, red brick, four bay by three bay time office which faces Harding Street was also constructed in 1940. A red brick, one-story boiler house and separate smoke stack were constructed to the west of Building C-D, replacing the original heating plant which was attached to the south side, west end of Building A. Between 1941 and 1949 a water tower and testing building were constructed on the southern portion of the site.

All buildings except Building #3 were demolished, June, 1984.