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Oliva Home Buyers, LLC 424 S. Michigan st. #683 South Bend IN 46601
(574) 970-5557
EVENT AUDIO / Elite Events South Bend / Granger South Bend IN 46617
(574) 287-0954
Crowe Horwath LLP 320 E Jefferson Blvd, South Bend, IN
(574) 289-0036
Great Clips Ironwood 54586 Ironwood Rd, South Bend, IN
(574) 271-6058
Robert L Shreiner, CPA 218 W Washington St #300, South Bend, IN
(574) 288-8320
The South Bend Chocolate Company 3300 W Sample St #110, South Bend, IN
(574) 233-2577
Inn at Saint Mary's Hotel and Suites 53993 Indiana 933, South Bend, IN
(574) 232-4000
Nadwe Zibe Tattoo Studio LLC 56977 S Mayflower Rd, South Bend, IN
(574) 289-3615
The Vine 103 W Colfax Ave, South Bend, IN
(574) 234-9463
Memorial Hospital of South Bend 615 N Michigan St, South Bend, IN
(574) 647-1000
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About South Bend

South Bend is a city in St. Joseph County, Indiana, United States. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total of 107,789 residents; its metropolitan area had a population of 316,663. It is the fourth largest city in Indiana. The city is the county seat of St. Joseph CountyGR6. It is the economic and cultural hub of the region commonly known as Michiana.

South Bend from above



St. Joseph County courthouse.
St. Joseph County courthouse.

South Bend officially began as South Hold as designated by the United States Postal Service in 1829. The Post Office changed the name to South Bend in 1830. The name was changed in order to ease confusion as several other communities called South Hold existed at the time. [3] In 1831 South Bend was laid out as the county seat and as one of the four original townships of St. Joseph County. Around 128 people lived in the area at the time, mostly fur traders, merchants, and innkeepers. South Bend was organized as a town in 1835 and was incorporated as a city in 1865.

During the late 1830s through the 1850s, much of South Bend's development centered around the industrial complex of factories located on the two races (man-made canals along the St. Joseph River in South Bend). Of the two, only the East Race remains as a visible reminder of the past. The East Race was converted to an artificial whitewater course in 1984. The West Race, was purchased in 1903 by the Oliver Chilled Plow Company and utilized to produce power for numerous structures throughout South Bend. Currently only parts of this plant and dam remain, as the Century Center converted it into a tourism and business venture. In 1962, the Stepan Center, one of the world's first geodesic domes, was constructed on the University of Notre Dame campus. The Stepan Center is a multi-purpose auditorium which serves as host to athletic, fine arts and religious events.

On October 4, 1851, the first steam locomotive entered South Bend. This led to great interest in the possibility of transportation throughout South Bend by locomotives, and in 1882 the South Bend Street Railway Company attempted the first service of electrified streetcars anywhere in the world. Initially a failure, electric current problems were fixed in late 1882 to connect Mishawaka and South Bend.

St. Joseph County in 1875
St. Joseph County in 1875

These industrial connections and developments soon led the brothers Studebaker to take up shop in the city of South Bend. Founded by Henry and Clem Studebaker, the Studebaker Manufacturing Company was one of a handful of wagon making companies in the world to successfully transfer their business from the building of wagons to the building of automobiles. Being a major automobile manufacturing company, it often outsold in terms of numbers the Ford Motor Company in the first few decades of the 20th century.

Their connection with South Bend industry was massive, leaving a permanent imprint on the skyline of western South Bend. However, due to economic difficulties, the Studebaker Company closed its automotive manufacturing plants in South Bend in December of 1963.[4]

Other companies involved in the development of South Bend include the Oliver Corporation, the Birdsell Manufacturing Company, the Bendix Corporation, Honeywell, AlliedSignal, the Robert Bosch GmbH, Uniroyal, Singer Sewing Machine Company, South Bend Lathe Works, the O'Brien Paint Corp., and the South Bend Toy Company.

During World War II, the South Bend Blue Sox All-American Girls Professional Baseball League team was formed in South Bend. The team participated in all the league's seasons from 1943-1954.[5]

Current companies to note that have developed in the area are Tire Rack and Woodwind & Brasswind.


25-story Chase Tower, the tallest building in South Bend.
25-story Chase Tower, the tallest building in South Bend.

South Bend's location on the St. Joseph River led to an industrial based economy in the late 1800s and early to mid 1900s. By the end of World War II that economy began to diminish.[6] Remnants of the old economy can still be seen in the abandoned industrial buildings around the city. Since that time education, health care, and small business have come to the forefront of South Bend's economy.

Nearby University of Notre Dame is a large contributor to the local economy. The university is the largest employer in St. Joseph County, employing 4,758 people.[7]

Health care is another major contributor to the South Bend economy. Memorial Health Systems is the largest employer in the city.[7] Other notable businesses include the AM General headquarters, Crowe Chizek, and Honeywell.

Efforts are underway to spur economic growth in South Bend. The St. Joe Valley Metronet is not for profit organization attempting to create a more robust telecommunications infrastructure capable of inexpensive high speed data transmission. It is thought this could bring more high tech firms to the city and surrounding area.[8] Redevelopment is underway for some of the abandoned industrial facilities, with the abandoned Oliver Corp. buildings being the most recent example of reclaimed property.[9]

Museums, arts and entertainment

The South Bend Regional Museum of Art is located in the Century Center in downtown South Bend. The Museum was opened to the public in March of 1996, and features a variety of artists from South Bend and the Michiana region. Currently, over 850 works are featured in the permanent collection. The museum also offers several classes and workshops for adults and children.

Studebaker National Museum in South Bend, Indiana.
Studebaker National Museum in South Bend, Indiana.

Copshaholm is one of the central features of the Northern Indiana Center for History. The 38 room mansion built in 1895 and is currently listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The history museum is composed of several buildings on its campus. It includes areas dedicated to the history of the St. Joseph River Valley, the University of Notre Dame, the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, and the Kidsfirst Children's Museum.[10]

The Studebaker National Museum is a large collection of wagons and automobiles from the 150 year production history of the Studebaker company. The museum began as a collection of wagons and automobiles produced by Studebaker, including the Presidential carriages of Lincoln, McKinley, Harrison and Grant. The company donated the collection to the city of South Bend in 1966. The collection was housed in various locations from the Century Center to its current location in downtown South Bend adjacent to the Northern Indiana Center for History. The two museums share one campus, and together form The Museums at Washington and Chapin.

South Bend is also home to the Morris Performing Arts Center. The center was built in 1922 and included The Palace Theater which featured vaudeville acts. The theatre saw its heyday in 1940 with the premiere of Knute Rockne, All American which starred Ronald Reagan. A crowd estimated at 24,000 gathered outside the event. The theater was scheduled for demolition in 1959, when E.M. Morris purchased the facility and sold it to the city for one dollar. The Palace was then renamed the Morris Civic Auditorium. A total renovation was completed in 2000. The Morris Performing Arts Center also includes the Palais Royale Ballroom, on which restoration was recently completed. The center serves as home to the South Bend Symphony Orchestra, as well as the Broadway Theater League.

Other points of interest

South Bend is home to the Century Center, a large convention center downtown that hosts many business, public and private functions. Schuyler Colfax, the 17th Vice President of the United States, is interred in the city cemetery.

South Bend has been revitalized in recent years as a financial center of the Michiana area. South Bend is the center of its immediate metropolitan area.

The Potawatomi Zoo opened in 1902. Potawatomi is the oldest zoo in Indiana, and features over 400 animals in its 23 acres. The zoo is run by the South Bend Parks and Recreation Department which maintains a variety of parks and facilities for the city.

Other points of interest include:

Higher education

University of Notre Dame in Notre Dame, Indiana--just to the north of South Bend
University of Notre Dame in Notre Dame, Indiana--just to the north of South Bend
Notre Dame Stadium, the 80,000 seater home of the famous Fighting Irish
Notre Dame Stadium, the 80,000 seater home of the famous Fighting Irish

The South Bend area is home to several institutions of higher learning; the most famous of which is the University of Notre Dame. The university is located to the north of South Bend in Notre Dame, Indiana, possessing its own ZIP code (46556). The University of Notre Dame was founded by Father Edward Sorin, a French priest, in 1842 even before South Bend was incorporated as a city in 1865, and has been an intrinsic part of the South Bend area with great effect on its culture and economy.

Other South Bend area universities include:


  • City of South Bend
  • City of South Bend Police Department
  • Century Center
  • Downtown South Bend
  • South Bend Tribune
  • WNDU-TV Newscenter 16
  • 22WSBT
  • Michiana Shopper Newspaper
  • The Morris Performing Arts Center
  • The Broadway Theatre League
  • The South Bend Civic Theatre
  • SouthBendForum.com Local news and discussion forums
  • GMap with stats and info for South Bend Schools
  • St. Joseph County Public Library
  • The snakes of Indiana,St. Joseph County

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