Efforts underway to restore Studebaker tree sign at Bendix Woods

It's a landmark known as the world's longest living advertising sign, but the lines are getting a little fuzzy.

That's why efforts are on to restore the historic Studebaker tree sign at Bendix Woods of the St. Joseph County Parks Department.

The historic Studebaker tree sign is considered a national landmark.

“It really is part of our community, cultural heritage,” says St. Joseph County Parks Director, Evie Kirkwood. “The Studebaker Corporation left its mark on South Bend and the community at large through churches and building hospitals and some of their homes are still around and this is one icon that is generally open to the public. People can visit it anytime.”

It's on the National Register of Historic Places and well known by local pilots that can spot the ten letters that span half a mile from the air.

It's also a tourist attraction for people visiting the park. Each letter is marked on the ground and some families have been drawn to certain letters over the years for special events like weddings or family reunions.

75 years ago an engineer from Studebaker designed a pattern and planted five thousand pine trees, spelling out the company's name.

Over the years the trees have become overgrown and the letters aren't as defined as they once were when first planted.

This restoration effort is being done in coordination with Indiana Landmarks.

The group often works with the Jeffris Family Foundation of Wisconsin to help fund historic preservation projects with grants.

The park hopes to raise at least 18 thousand dollars and it cost two thousand dollars to sponsor a letter.


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