Milwaukee’s contribution to auto manufacturing features a century-old manufacturing facility in Bay View | WUWM 89.7 FM

As vehicle firms pledge to take a significant step towards manufacturing of electrical automobiles, we thought it was a superb time for Bubbler Discuss to have a look at a part of Milwaukee’s historical past of creating vehicles.

Particularly, a plant that was on the 3200 block of Clement Avenue on the far south finish of the Bay View neighborhood.

The three-story pink brick constructing and smaller concrete buildings with sawtooth roofs nonetheless stand.

Factory on Clement Avenue

The Google Maps view of the constructing situated on South Clement Avenue in Milwaukee.

As we stood throughout the road, retired educator Joel Eul requested if vehicles have been actually made there. As a result of that is what he was instructed rising up.

Bubbler Discuss: What have you ever at all times needed to know in regards to the Milwaukee space that you just’d like WUWM to discover?

“As a younger man, I went to highschool at St. Thomas Extra [High School], glided by this space [and] at all times dreamed of getting my very own automobile as a result of I used to be on the bus,” Eul remembers.

Eul says he just lately labored on the college for a yr and drove by the previous plant on Clement Ave, “and you already know, I mentioned, ‘I would prefer to know.'”

Effectively, this is what historians say they know:

In 1916, former Buick and Common Motors govt Charles W. Nash based the Nash Motor Firm in Kenosha. He additionally managed Indiana-based Lafayette Motors, and, whereas some accounts from auto historians fluctuate, based on Wisconsin Historic Society property information by 1922 Nash had moved Lafayette manufacturing to the then new-building on Clement Avenue.

By 1924, Nash briefly retired the Lafayette title and made solely Nash model vehicles on the manufacturing facility till about 1930.


From the Archives Division, College of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Libraries.


Man stands subsequent to a Nash vehicle in 1928 on Lincoln Ave. in Milwaukee.

Jim Dworschack says these have been excellent automobiles. Dworschack is a former Milwaukee-area resident who now lives in southwest Wisconsin. He is a member of the Nash Automobile Membership of America, and is aware of the distinction between overhead and flathead valve six cylinder engines.

“Nash competed in the identical class as Buick, and principally the identical buyer base. Principally, it was an higher center class automobile. Nash supplied issues that only a few different producers did on the time. For example, each the Nash Particular Six and Superior Six have been overhead valve engines, which is a way more environment friendly design than the flathead, however costlier to make,” Dworschack tells WUWM.

Dworschack even owns a Particular Six, made in 1929 on the Clement Avenue plant. He says a pair years in the past he and another Nash house owners made a visit to briefly stand exterior the previous manufacturing facility.


Courtesy of Jim Dworschack


Former Milwaukee space resident Jim Dworschack stands subsequent to his 1929 Nash Particular Six at his house in southwest Wisconsin.

“We type of shared what we every knew and what we speculated in regards to the place and type of marveled that there was a check monitor there,” he says.

Overhead pictures on Google Earth present the check monitor is gone, and MOPAR, the corporate now on the web site, didn’t reply to WUWM’s requests for info. However Dworschack says the buildings that stay seem like the final intact manufacturing facility of Nash Motors.

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This overhead picture on Google Earth reveals the auto components distribution heart on Clement Avenue that produced Nash automobiles a century in the past.

Since automobile manufacturing ceased, the Clement advanced has been an auto components warehouse or distribution heart, presently for Fiat Chrysler, which just lately grew to become Stellantis. And, in fact, Nash finally grew to become a part of Nash-Kelvinator, American Motors, then Chrysler, then Fiat, because the auto trade went by means of main mergers and acquisitions over the many years.

However you’ll be able to nonetheless discover Nash automobiles, together with on the Wisconsin Automotive Museum in Hartford.


The Nash automobile exhibit on the Wisconsin Automotive Museum in Hartford, WI.

A video taking part in a promotional movie is a part of the Nash exhibit. The narration goes: “Then, there’s the Nash Climate-Eye Conditioned Air System. It is thermostatically-controlled, so in even sub-zero climate, you’ll be able to drive comfortably in your shirt sleeves.”

Twenty-one colourful vehicles from Nash, Lafayette or one other Nash predecessor, Jeffery, are additionally on show.

The museum’s govt director, Daybreak Bondhus, says she thinks of the employees at Clement Avenue and different factories who made the vehicles so long as a century in the past.

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Courtesy of Roger Florindo


The Nash-Kelvinator Guard Power throughout World Warfare II. Nash and Kelvinator merged in 1937 or so and finally American Motors was fashioned within the Fifties.

“I believe they’d be very completely happy that they are nonetheless round, and they’d be thrilled that folks nonetheless respect them and revel in them, and to see these little tidbits that present up in trendy vehicles — whether or not it is a shade that comes again or a design function. It is good to see that connection and appreciation,” she says.

And it prompts the thought — will at the moment’s automobiles, fuel or electrical, nonetheless be honored by automobile golf equipment and museums in 2122?

Here is hoping Bubbler Discuss could have the reply for you in 100 years.

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