|Source: Aurora (1925) Ad:
OUR AIM is
to operate the "Big Brick Garage" on Mill Street in such
a way as to make it a real asset to the people of this
OUR SHOP is being equipped with modern
shop equipment which means efficiency. Only skilled
mechanics are employed. Bring in your car for that
OUR WRECKING CAR is at your service day
or night. When the unexpected happens and you must have
help, call Eel River Phone number 45.
OUR SALESROOM is stocked with the best
merchandise available in its line. A few items are:
Firestone Gum-Dipped Cords and Balloons
Veedol Motor Oils and Greases
Electric Supplies and Fixtures
LEEDY MOTOR COMPANY
Chevrolet Sales and Service
LEEDY MOTOR COMPANY
for Economical Transportation
Harry E. Leedy of the Leedy Motor Company is one of our
college and Aurora boosters. His place of business is
the most modern one of its kind in the city. He has a
beautiful, modern salesroom and when it is dotted with
new Chevrolets, including Landaus, Coupes, and Sedans,
it is still more attractive.
One has only to observe the large percentage of
Chevrolets in North Manchester's car population to
realize the volume of business done by the Leedy Motor
Company during its short career in this city.
The mechanics at Leedy's are automobile experts and when
your car is repaired by them you have the satisfaction
that accompanies perfect workmanship.
Besides Chevrolet Cars, Mr. Leedy sells Day Fan Radios
and all kinds of auto repairs.
For his help we are grateful.
Source: Ravelings (1942) Ad:
Phone 45 Open Day and Night
Wheel Aligning Wheel
Wheel Balancing G.E. Fast
Body and Fender Work
CARBURETOR AND ELECTRICAL WORK
LEEDY MOTOR CO.
Source: NMHS Newsletter August 1987
THE LEEDY MOTOR COMPANY
105 North Mill Street
MEMORIES OF HOWARD C. WARREN
The building that was occupied by the Leedy Garage was
built by the Knull Motor Company, Inc. in 1919.
This company formed by people in Fort Wayne and North
Manchester, had businesses in Fort Wayne and in
Pierceton. They sold Reo cars and trucks and a few
Chevrolets. The Chevrolet cars were not very
popular because the Ford Model T was still offering
strong competition. Karl Knull, president, was
quite a promoter but not very successful as a
businessman. His brother, Franz Knull, was the
sales manager. The firm went into receivership in
about 1924 with Karl leaving for California and Franz
taking over the obligations. At about that time,
Harry Leedy purchased the building.
Harry and his brother, Homer, had lived in Cerro Gordo,
Illinois, where they had been engaged in the electrical
contracting business and also operated a Chandler
automobile business. While they still lived in
Illinois, Homer had gone into military service.
When he returned from the war he was surprised to find
that Harry had sold the business and moved to North
Manchester. Here they continued to work in the
electrical business, but after Harry purchased the Knull
property and had been granted a Chevrolet franchise,
they set up separate businesses. Homer continued
in the electrical business. They each brought
their personal Chandler cars with them. They were
fine cars and the only ones that I ever saw.
Harry soon developed his business to cover the general
repair of all makes and models of automobiles and to
provide storage space for some of the cars owned by
people who lived in town.
The repair shop was upstairs in the building and that
created quite a problem in getting disabled cars up and
down a steep ramp between the first and second floors.
The damage caused by the ramp sometimes exceeded the
benefits of the work done in the repair shop. In
1930, Harry changed all this and located the repair shop
on the first floor. The storage area was on that
floor too. I was always interested in the cars
that were stored because of their variety and the
individuals who owned them.
Gene Oppenheim had a Packard Sport Sedan. It was
red and a real snappy automobile. Each fall we
would load it on a railroad boxcar and ship it to
Florida. He would not drive it that far. He
would ship it back each spring.
Ben Oppenheim was more conservative. He was not
much interested in automobiles, but he had a Packard
Sedan and did not seem much interested in driving it. Mannie Leffel, who worked in the Oppenheim store, was
his chauffeur when Ben went to Fort Wayne and other
places out of town.
Isaac Oppenheim, not to be outdone, owned a Cadillac.
His chauffeur was Louie Conner, the town taxi driver.
John Snyder, who lived on South Maple Street and owned a
cabinet factory in Huntington, drove a Pierce Arrow.
I always admired that car. It was a beauty.
Josh Billings, the newspaper editor, had an Apperson
Jackrabbit, the only one I have ever seen.
Actually, I never saw him drive it. It was a
top-heavy thing and when Josh would get it out on the
road with a high crown, he would frequently upset the
thing. It was not one of the best cars in town.
Worth Walrod had a Hupmobile Sport Coupe and that was a
Max Drefkoff drove a Peugeot. He owned the
Syracuse Cabinet Factory on South Wabash Street.
Max was a Russian Jew and an outstanding individual.
I recall that he had trouble turning his head because of
arthritis. He would scare me to death by remarking
that he could not see behind the car in backing up and
then, back he would go like a shot! During World
War II he served in some official capacity in
Washington, D. C.
The large, well-equipped repair shop was the main source
of income. I started keeping books for Harry in
1928. It was sort of by accident, having come to
town to install a set of General Motors accounting books
that were new to the dealership. Walter Boyer had
been keeping books, but he had just been elected to the
office of Town Clerk. I told Mr. Leedy that I
would keep the books until he could find some other
person to do the job, and so I was with him for fifteen
The annual sales during the period from 1928 to about
1930 were something like 150 new cars and trucks and
about 600 used cars. Today that would hardly be a
month’s work. A new Chevrolet cost about $600 and
a Buick about $1,000. Of course, the price
depended on the way the car was equipped – a trunk on
the back, bumpers front and rear, a spare tire, a
rearview mirror, and a windshield wiper.
Mr. Leedy expanded into the bulk gasoline and oil
business mostly to meet the competition of the Wilcox
brothers who came to town and offered to sell six to
seven gallons of gas for $1.00. Harry’s brother,
Elda Leedy, was manager of this business and the drivers
who served the farm and the heating trade were Otto
Perry, Lloyd McFarland, and Artie Lowman.
In those days cars were not brought to town on big
trucks. The dealer had to send or take drivers to
Flint, Michigan, to drive them home. Harry had a
regular crew of boys, mostly from Liberty Mills, that he
would load into his Chandler Sport Sedan and drive them
to Flint. He was particular about this car and no
one else could drive it. The Morrisey boys and
others drove the new cars home and in all that time that
I worked there, I cannot recall that they ever put a
scratch on any of those cars.
Individuals who worked in the sales department were:
F. S. Knull, Sales Manager, a very efficient operator
and to my knowledge, a man who never mistreated a
customer; George Winesburg, a professional salesman;
Paul Park; Melvin Heeter; Walter Metzger, well known as
a good salesman for many years; Dean Hill of Silver
Lake; Floyd Carver of Roann; and Clair Snodgrass of
Pierceton. In the office, in addition to myself,
were: Margaret Little, Norma Deck, Irene Leedy,
and Donna Mae Jerew. Those in the repair
department were: Vinson Stuckey, senior mechanic;
Rudy Stuckey, brother of Vinson; Robert Floyd, whose son
now operates a service station in town; Roy Nichols, and
paint man; Russell Kreamer, in charge of used car
repairs; and Lamoine Enyeart. Those in the repair
department later included: Paul Hostetler, Service Manager;
Vern Hostetler, his brother; Bill Weesner; Art Morrisey,
Harold Tyner; Lloyd Bolan, frame alignment; and Arden
Carter, who established a dealership in Wabash.
Homer Leedy was in charge of the parts department.
The lack of new cars, tire rationing, and the mechanics
going to the armed services and to Baer Field during
World War II, put an end to the agency and the garage.
There was almost nothing left to be done.
In 1943 the building was leased to the Bryan
Manufacturing Company which has since become United
Harry Leedy retired to his farm near Bippus and that
ended my very interesting career with the Leedy Motor
[Note: Howard C. Warren, age 83, lives on his farm
about a mile west of Liberty Mills, Indiana.]