The city of South Bend is the county seat of St. Joseph County, Indiana, United States, on the St. Joseph River near its southernmost bend, from which it derives its name. As of the 2010 United States Census, the city had a total of 101,168 residents; its Metropolitan Statistical Area had a population of 316,663 and Combined Statistical Area of 544,582. It is the fourth largest city in Indiana and the economic and cultural hub of the Michiana region, with the University of Notre Dame located just to the north in unincorporated Notre Dame, Indiana.
The area was originally settled in the early 19th century by fur traders, and established as a city in 1865. The St. Joseph River shaped South Bend's economy through the mid-20th century. River access assisted heavy industrial development such as that of the Studebaker Corporation, the Oliver Chilled Plow Company, and other large corporations.
The population of South Bend has declined since a peak of 132,445 in 1960, chiefly due to migration to suburban areas with lower property taxes as well as the demise of Studebaker and other heavy industry. The 2000 U.S. Census recorded a population increase of 2.2% from 1990, the first since 1960. Today, the largest industries in South Bend are health care, education, small business, and tourism. Remaining large corporations include Crowe Horwath, Honeywell, and AM General.
The earliest European settlements in the area were fur trading posts. In 1820, Pierre Frieschutz Navarre arrived, representing the American Fur Company (AFC) of John Jacob Astor. He settled near what is now downtown South Bend. Alexis Coquillard, another agent of the AFC, passed through South Bend in 1823 and returned in 1824 with his family to make it his home. At the time, the post was known as Big St. Joseph Station. In 1827, Lathrop Minor Taylor established a post for Samuel Hanna and Company, in whose records the name St. Joseph's, Indiana was used. By 1829, the town was growing, with Coquillard and Taylor emerging as leaders. They applied for a post office. Taylor was appointed postmaster, and the post office was designated as Southold, Allen County, Indiana. The following year, the name was changed to South Bend, probably to ease confusion, as several other communities were named Southold at the time.
In 1831, South Bend was laid out as the county seat and as one of the four original townships of St. Joseph County. Soon after, design began on what would become the town of South Bend. The town was formally established in 1835 and rapidly grew. In 1856, attorney Andrew Anderson founded May Oberfell Lorber, the oldest business in St. Joseph County. He compiled a complete index of South Bend’s real estate records.
During the late 1830s through the 1850s, much of South Bend's development centered on the industrial complex of factories located on the two races (man-made canals along the St. Joseph River in South Bend). Several dams were created, and mills were built on each side of the river. On October 4, 1851, the first steam locomotive entered South Bend. This led to a general shift of businesses from the river toward the railroad. In 1852, Henry Studebaker set up a wagon shop in South Bend. Studebaker became the world's largest wagon builder and the only one to later succeed as an automobile manufacturer. The Singer Sewing Company and the Oliver Chilled Plow Company were among other companies that made manufacturing the driving force in the South Bend economy until the mid-20th century.
Other industries developed in South Bend in the early 20th century, including Birdsell Manufacturing Company, the Bendix Corporation, Honeywell, AlliedSignal, South Bend Lathe Works, the O'Brien Paint Corp., and the South Bend Toy Company. Fast development led to the creation of electric rail transportation throughout the area and, in 1925, the South Shore interurban streetcar service was established from downtown South Bend to downtown Chicago.
On June 30, 1934, the Merchants National Bank in South Bend was the last bank to be robbed by the notorious "Dillinger gang".
By 1950, more than half of all employment was in the manufacturing sector. Due to economic difficulties, Studebaker closed its automotive manufacturing plants in South Bend in December 1963. A general decline in manufacturing soon followed as industry was being restructured nationwide. By the year 2000, manufacturing was only 16% of the local economy. Due to the severe loss of jobs, the city's population decreased by nearly 30,000 during that period.
In 1984, South Bend community leaders began seeking a minor league baseball team for the city. A stadium was constructed in 1986 and a 10 year player development contract was signed with the Chicago White Sox. The team would be known as the South Bend White Sox. In 1994, the team's name was changed to the South Bend Silver Hawks. The Silver Hawks are a Class A minor league affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks in the Midwest League.
1978 Senior Class wills, Washington High School (1st half)
1978 Senior Class wills, Washington High School (2nd half)