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Tuesday, August 01, 2017

More Avanti, please

The plan called for covering a certain number of miles each day—South Bend was in the right place, so we stopped there. I knew nothing about South Bend. Now I know a bit more.

We spent the night at Avanti House and I’m glad we did. It’s a bed-and-breakfast that doubles as a mini museum. If you’re a car buff you’ll know that the Avanti was the last model Studebaker sold. Its ahead-of- its-time design failed to save Studebaker but its memory is preserved in the memorabilia displayed in the guest house.

I enjoyed our stay there. Don is a gracious host and our room was comfortable and well supplied with snacks. The beds are covered with Route 66 themed quilts and items from old Studebaker crates and Don’s doorknob collection are incorporated into some of the fixtures. The Studebaker Museum is just across the street and the Studebaker Mansion is only a block further. This was a business trip so we couldn’t stay until the museum opened at ten. But, now I’m curious about South Bend and I'd like to visit again some time soon.

At one time, Studebaker was South Bend’s largest employer. Now it’s Notre Dame University. The decline of manufacturing in the United States brought unwelcome changes to many American cities. Those interested in post industrial American cities might benefit from this 2015 article in which The Economist describes how South Bend fared once its main employer closed its doors.

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