“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Indianapolis in Marion County, Indiana — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)

Manufacturing for Transportation

Manufacturing for Transportation Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones, April 20, 2019
1. Manufacturing for Transportation Marker
Parry Manufacturing Company (Buggies & Wagons: 1884-1905)
Overland & Parry Automobiles (1905-1917)
Martin-Parry Company (Custom Truck Bodies: 1919-1930)
General Motors Corporation (Chevrolet Truck Bodies: 1930-1022)
and the architecture of Albert Kahn

An entrepreneurial spirit seized the city at the start of the 20th century which saw the start-up and failure of nearly 70 different steam, electric, and gasoline automobile manufacturers. During those first three decades, Indianapolis was the known center for hand-crafted and high-priced automobiles such as Stutz, Duesenberg, Cole, National, & Marmon. The roots of this explosion were based on a concentrated mix of skilled labor employed in bicycle, carriage, and machinery manufacturing, of innovators and inventors, and of visionary wealthy businessmen. Parry Manufacturing Company, at 900-1300 West Henry Street, was typical of those early enterprises, shifting from a highly successful buggy and wagon manufacture to producing the Overland, Parry, and Pathfinder automobiles, offering several advanced body innovations, and going
Manufacturing for Transportation Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones, April 20, 2019
2. Manufacturing for Transportation Marker
Click or scan to see
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through merger, bankruptcy and receivership. Parry is also the exception, of all the facilities where automotive manufacturing occurred in Indianapolis it is the only site where automotive operations continued until 2011. In part this is due to its location next to a major east-west rail line, but perhaps as importantly it was the purchase and major reinvestment by Chevrolet in the early 1930's. The construction of the Chevrolet Motor Division Commercial Body Plant in 1934-1935 also gave Indianapolis its only built work of America's foremost industrial architect, Albert Kahn (1869-1942). An architect for modern times his career is inseparable from the rapid rise of the early 20th century automobile industry, and his international frame was propelled by his pioneering and innovative daylight motorcar factories for Packard, Pierce-Arrow, Ford, and General Motors.

The new Chevy plant was in operation less than five years when war broke out in Europe. In 1941 production shifted away from consumer trucks as critical war manufacturing contracts began to be issued by the Roosevelt administration. During WWII the plant was engaged in the production of gun mounts for armored cars, bearings for Allison engines, and parts for the Pratt & Whitney aircraft engines. So successful was the production effort that the workers of this plant were awarded the Army-Navy "E" flag
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and the coveted lapel badges in December 1943. Thereafter, for the duration of the war, an efficiency star was added to the flag every six months. Of the huge war production efforts nationwide, only 5%, about 4,280 plants, received the "E" award, and of those the Chevy plant was the only one of 820 plants to receive more than 4 stars.

Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Industry & CommerceRoads & VehiclesWar, World II. A significant historical month for this entry is December 1943.
Location. 39° 45.704′ N, 86° 10.511′ W. Marker is in Indianapolis, Indiana, in Marion County. Marker is on South White River Parkway West Drive south of West Washington Street, on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Indianapolis IN 46221, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Federal Field (a few steps from this marker); Greenlawn Cemetery (a few steps from this marker); The Pumphouse (approx. 0.4 miles away); a different marker also named The Pumphouse (approx. 0.4 miles away); McCormick Cabin Site (approx. 0.4 miles away); Washington Park Baseball (approx. half a mile away); Macedonian Tribune (approx. 0.6 miles away); Civil War Training Camp (approx. 0.6 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Indianapolis.
Credits. This page was last revised on April 26, 2019. It was originally submitted on April 26, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 82 times since then and 9 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on April 26, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.
Editor’s want-list for this marker. Clear, daylight photo of the marker • Clear, daylight context photo of the marker • Can you help?

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Sep. 28, 2022