Old Cars & Comic Book History on One Corner in Poughkeepsie, NY
You can thank my looking at cars online, then going down then internet rabbit hole for this one. What does the property at North Rd (Route 9) and Fulton St? Have in common with hardware, cars, and comic books?
Soooo many things!
This whole thing started with me trying to find Fiat cars for sale. I just wanted to look at them. What I was finding was details about them being downsized in the US, models being discontinued, some being still available, but when I put the words Fiat and Poughkeepsie into The Google, I found so much more.
Turns out the building that I knew as the "Western Publishing" building when I first moved here. The building that was torn down so a Home Depot and a Staples could be built, was at one point a Fiat factory. Yep. Here is what I stumbled upon will checking out Motortrend:
The first Fiat was exported to the U.S. in 1908, and a plant in Poughkeepsie, New York, started making Fiats including the Fiat 60 HP and Fiat 16-20 HP in 1909. The Italian vehicles were expensive and coveted, costing about five times as much as a Ford Model T. The Fiat plant was closed in 1917 after the U.S. entered World War I.
Then somehow I ended up at Hemmings Motor News, and that is where I found that they had more info about what happened with the Fiat plant.
Apparently, when Fiat packed their bags, they sold the factory to the Duesenberg Motors Corporation, which bought it solely for the machinery, which they promptly moved to their Elizabeth, New Jersey, factory. So far I've yet to confirm that in any of our Duesenberg literature.
Ok, so what's next with this corner and factory in Poughkeepsie, across from Marist College? This is where comics, Disney and a publisher appear.
So at some point, that old (or should I say former?) Fiat factory becomes a Western Publishing location, there was also one in Racine, WI. What was one thing that this particular Western Publishing location became known for?
Comic books. Yes, the company printed many things but the Poughkeepsie location, it looks like was the main hub for comics drawn by Carl Barks. According to the Carl Barks website and various other searches:
Western Publishing - Poughkeepsie, New York.
This was the place where most of Barks`stories were printed.
Not being a 'Comic Book Person' I then had to do a little more research as to why this was a 'big deal.' Turns out that Carl Barks was one of the illustrators and writers of the Scrooge McDuck series, becoming known as "The Duck Man" as he had worked anonymously as one of the many illustrators for Disney until the early 1960's. As, I continue to look into the many hundreds of works that Mr Barks did and start to realize that I recognize his works, and the subtle tribute to Barks that appeared in Spielberg and Lucas movies. I wish I could accurately sum up his career other than sharing he is Scrooge McDuck. If you find yourself with a few minutes, click here to check out The Complete Carl Barks Fan Library, it is so cool to see just a smidgeon of the titles that he worked on.
Who would've thought that one building, that had sat empty for so many years then torn down in the late 1990's would have held so much history. If those walls could talk.
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