History

A six-story building at 615 West 131st Street was constructed in 1923 as a state-of-the-art Studebaker automobile finishing facility. The original purpose of the building – to put the final touches on newly manufactured Studebaker cars before shipping to East Coast dealers – is evident in its dimensions and solid, all-concrete structure. The Studebaker logo that was used on car models between 1912 and 1934 is still visible on the top of the building exterior.

 

After Studebaker moved out in the late 1930s, the building became a Borden milk processing plant.

Studebaker as Borden's dairy plantAn old image of the Studebaker Building, c. 1940, when it was used as a milk-processing plant by the Borden's Dairy Company.

 

bottling milk at Studebaker

Bottling milk at the Borden's Dairy Company.

 

Later, a variety of small businesses occupied office space in Studebaker including the Madame Alexander Doll Company, which painted interior floors and columns an eye-catching pink to match the color of their famous doll boxes.

Columbia University staff members have been working in Studebaker for about 20 years in departments from data processing to printing. Another recent building occupant was the Museum of Natural History, which housed part of its Polynesian antiquities collection on the first floor; the collection was relocated before renovations began on upper floors.