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The Elgin Car Service and Parts Corporation

The Elgin Car Company was started by several executives who had previously worked for the Elgin Watch Company, in 1916. The firms first home was Argo, Illinois, but it ended up in Indianapolis for its last two years of 1923-1924.

The car they manufactured was like many others made at the time. A good conservative car that was quite popular in the mid west. The company also ended in the same way that many smaller car companies did, they became a victim of the post WWI recession.

This photo is of a regional service and parts depot operated no doubt in one of the big midwestern cities. For our readers that enjoy mysteries to solve, this one was located at a gritty looking 52 East 51st St., according to the lettering on the truck. Photo courtesy of The Revs Institute.

                         

9 responses to “The Elgin Car Service and Parts Corporation

  1. That address put the dealership in what was (and is) a very desirable residential neighborhood. For basketball fans it’s just a stone’s throw from Butler University.

  2. There is no way an automobile parts and service store was ever located at 52 East 51st Street in Indianapolis. As Jeff noted above, such an address (if it existed) would be just a few houses east of upscale North Meridian Street in a residential neighborhood called Meridian-Kessler. The area where such an address would be has consisted of upscale, single-family, residential properties since most of the homes were built a century ago. 51st Street does not intersect Meridian Street and never has, so there cannot ever have been an addess of 52 E. 51st Street in Indianapolis. The nearest east-west streets that do go through are 49th Street and 52nd Street.

    My guess is that the Elgin Motor Car facility pictured above was at 52 East 51st Street in Chicago. Such an address would have been between Interstate 90 (aka the Dan Ryan Express) and Michigan Avenue. That location would have been due east of the town of Argo, Illinois (now called Summit Argo), and due south of downtown Chicago. Today that location is the site of the Erie Vehicle Company, which has been making truck parts since 1917: http://www.liftgatepart.com.ws012.alentus.com/shopcontent.asp?type=aboutus .

  3. Just found an article about homesteaders moving to northern Canada in an Elgin Six in 1928! That was one tough car!

  4. Confirmed that this Elgin Motor Car facility is indeed in Chicago proper. Included link is a JPG of a classified ad from the Chicago Tribune newspaper dated October 1, 1919, looking for a bookkeeper at this location.

  5. I found some 1923 newspapers articles in The Indianapolis News about the Elgin Car Company. It was located at 1142 North Meridian Street during the time that it was in Indianapolis. Today that location is under the elevated westbound lane of Interstate 65.

  6. Not sure how I stumbled onto this site , but how fun to see the photos and wished I could have printed them in an 8X10 size. My Grandfather was President of the Elgin Motor Car Company at one time, as was my Uncle Charles. Every once in a great while I search the name Elgin, as I would really enjoy having an Elgin Motor Car Badge. Does anybody have one they’d like to sell? Feel free to publish my email address, still looking for that badge.

    Marilynn Lieurance, Scappoose, Oregon.

    • Hello

      I don’t have spare badge but I do have an Elgin Six motor car … It runs fine and we took it to a vintage hill climb event at Saltburn in UK recently. It created lots of attention … I keep looking for pictures of it on the internet with very little success.
      I’m happy to share some pictures and details should you wish. I would also appreciate any other pictures of Elgin’s and details of the mid west endurance races in which they were used.

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