If you haven’t visited Downtown Rome recently, a new piece of history has been revealed. During renovations, contractors peeled-back the stucco facade over the Levy Building at 527-529 Broad St., uncovering an old automobile dealership sign and hidden columns belonging to the DeSoto-Plymouth Sales & Service Packard. The DeSoto was an American automobile brand that was manufactured and marketed by the DeSoto Division of the Chrysler Corporation from 1928 to the 1961 model year. The brand was officially dropped Nov. 30, 1960, with over two million vehicles built since 1928.
The DeSoto make was founded by Walter Chrysler on Aug. 4, 1928, and introduced in 1929, and named after the Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto.Many historians agree that his was the earliest recorded European of the interior of the Southeast. They believe that DeSoto visited this general area in August 1540.
The DeSoto logo featured a stylized image of the explorer who led the first European expedition deep into the territory of the modern day United States (Florida, Georgia, and Alabama), and was the first documented European to have crossed the Mississippi River.
Chrysler wanted to enter the brand in competition with Oldsmobile, Mercury, Studebaker, Hudson, and Willys. DeSoto served as a lower priced version of Chrysler products, with Dodge and Plymouth added to the Chrysler family in 1928.
According to city directories, in 1934 the building was home to the Adams-Andrews Motor Company. It was then known as Andrews Motor Company and also housed Andrews Taxi, Black and White Cab and Yellow Cab companies in 1940. Around 1952, the building was the site of Andrews Uptown Motor Co. At some point between 1955 and 1959 the building was home to the Atlanta Gas Light Company.
Currently, the contractor plans to repaint and restore the facade to preserve its historical significance for the downtown area. The building has been renovated to include seven apartments on the second level, with three business-office tenants on the ground floor. Stop by Downtown Rome to see a piece of history uncovered.