South Bend Metro

About the South Bend, Indiana Metro Area

South Bend is a city in, and the county seat of, St. Joseph CountyIndiana,[5] on the St. Joseph River near its southernmost bend, from which it derives its name. As of the 2010 census, the city had a total of 101,168 residents; its Metropolitan Statistical Area had a population of 318,586 and Combined Statistical Area of 721,296.[6] It is the fourth-largest city in Indiana, serving as the economic and cultural hub of Northern Indiana. The University of Notre Dame is located just to the north in unincorporated Notre Dame, Indiana, and is an integral contributor to the region’s economy.

The area was originally settled in the early 19th century by fur traders[7] and was 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 declined after 1960, when it had a peak population of 132,445. This was chiefly due to migration to suburban areas as well as the demise of Studebaker and other heavy industry. Today, the largest industries in South Bend are health care, education, small business, and tourism. Remaining large corporations include CroweHoneywell, and AM General.

Recently, the city population has started to grow for the first time in nearly fifty years.[8] The old Studebaker plant and surrounding area, now called Ignition Park, is being redeveloped as a technology center to attract new industry.[9]

The city has also been featured in national news coverage for Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who has achieved recognition for his various economic development projects within the city, his position as the youngest mayor to be elected in a city of more than 100,000 residents, and his essay in which he came out as the first openly gay executive in the state of Indiana.[10][11] The city attracted further attention when Buttigieg announced he would campaign in the 2020 Democratic Party presidential primaries.[12]

History

Early history[edit]

The St. Joseph Valley was long occupied by Native Americans. One of the earliest known groups to occupy what would later become northern Indiana was the Miami tribe. Later, the Potawatomi moved into the region, utilizing the rich food and natural resources found along the river. The Potawatomi occupied this region of Indiana until most of them were forcibly removed in the 1840s. The South Bend area was so popular because its portage was the shortest overland route from the St. Joseph River to the Kankakee River.[13] This route was used for centuries, first by the Native Americans, then by French explorers, missionaries and traders.[14] The French explorer René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, the first white European to set foot in what is now South Bend,[15] used this portage between the St. Joseph River and the Kankakee River in December 1679.

Recent history[edit]

In 1949, legendary percussionist Lionel Hampton was informed that his concert at South Bend’s Palais du Royale would be a blacks only event; he threatened to call for a boycott of the venue, and the affair proceeded as an integrated evening, which newspapers said led to all attendees breaking out in “paroxysms of ecstasy.”[38]

By 1950, more than half of all employment was in the manufacturing sector.[39] Due to economic difficulties, Studebaker closed its automotive manufacturing plants in South Bend in December 1963.[40] A general decline in manufacturing soon followed as industry was restructured nationwide. By the year 2000, manufacturing was only 16 percent of the local economy. Due to the severe loss of jobs, the city’s population decreased by nearly 30,000 during that period.[39]

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,[41] and then to The South Bend Cubs in 2015. They are a Class A minor league affiliate of the Chicago Cubs in the Midwest League.

In 2015, the City of South Bend celebrated its 150th birthday. The yearlong festival culminated with the ceremonial illumination of the first River Lights along the St. Joseph River. Mayor Pete Buttigieg welcomed the coming of the next 150 years of South Bend’s heritage accompanied by five previous South Bend mayors: Steve Luecke, Joe Kernan, Roger Parent, Peter Nemeth and Jerry Miller.[42]

In 2015 the city’s population increased by 286, the largest one-year growth in over twenty years.[8] The old Studebaker plant has been developed as the Ignition Park center to attract new businesses, especially in the tech industry.[9] South Bend has also seen new developement, particularly in the tech field, a decline in unemployment, and a renewal of the downtown area under Buttigieg’s tenure, which has been described as a revival and South Bend as a ‘turnaround city’.[43][44][45][46][47]

Demographics:

2010 census[edit]

As of the census[3] of 2010, there were 101,168 people, 39,760 households, and 23,526 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,440.1 inhabitants per square mile (942.1/km2). There were 46,324 housing units at an average density of 1,117.3 per square mile (431.4/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 60.5% White, 26.6% African American, 0.5% Native American, 1.3% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 6.9% from other races, and 4.2% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 13.0% of the population.

There were 39,760 households of which 33.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 34.9% were married couples living together, 18.9% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.4% had a male householder with no wife present, and 40.8% were non-families. 33.3% Of all households were made up of individuals and 11.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.48 and the average family size was 3.19.

The median age in the city was 33.3 years. 27.3% of residents were under the age of 18; 10% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 27.1% were from 25 to 44; 23.1% were from 45 to 64; and 12.5% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 48.4% male and 51.6% female.

South Bend’s location on the St. Joseph River led to an industrial-based economy in the late 19th century and early-to-mid-20th century. In 1923, industrialist and entrepreneur Vincent H. Bendix selected South Bend as the site of his new manufacturing plant for automotive parts.[57] He chose South Bend primarily because it was on a rail line midway between Chicago and Detroit, the two automotive manufacturing centers of the United States at the time.[57] Eventually, the Bendix corporation built a vast manufacturing complex on its South Bend acreage served by the major railroads, including a huge shipping and receiving building where railroad cars could enter at one end, unload, and depart at the opposite end.

By the end of World War II, manufacturing began to diminish.[58] The Studebaker plant, which had at one time employed 45,000 persons, closed in 1963; its engine block plant shuttered the following year. Parts of the Bendix factory complex were later acquired and subdivided between Honeywell Corporation and Bosch Corporation respectively. Honeywell Aerospace continues to manufacture aviation products at its former Bendix facility. In 2010, Bosch announced that it would cease all operations at its Bendix plant location in South Bend by the end of 2011.[59] Bosch vacated the building entirely in October 2012. Curtis Products of South Bend moved into the building in May 2013.

Employers[edit]

Since the 1960s, education, health care, and small business have come to the forefront of South Bend’s economy, though the city has never regained the level of prosperity it enjoyed before that time. Nearby University of Notre Dame is a large contributor to the local economy. The university is the second largest employer in the city and in St. Joseph County, employing 6,086 people.[60]

Health care is another major contributor to the South Bend economy. In 2012, Memorial Health System announced that it was merging with Elkhart General Hospital, located in Elkhart County, to form Beacon Health System.[61] Beacon is the largest employer in the city and in St. Joseph County, employing 7,088 people.[62] Other notable businesses include Honeywell, Bosch, and PEI Genesis. AM GeneralCrowe HorwathTire Rack, and Martin’s Super Markets all have corporate headquarters in South Bend.

Culture[edit]

South Bend was influenced by a large influx of Polish Catholic immigrants in the late 19th century.[81] Dyngus Day is widely celebrated on the Monday after Easter and it is the beginning of the city elections campaign season.[82] Fat Tuesday is also celebrated in South Bend, with paczkis being a staple food product in the city for the day.[83] The city and surrounding county have 23 Catholic churches, 11 Catholic schools and three Catholic universities (the University of Notre Dame, Holy Cross College, and Saint Mary’s College, all located in the adjacent unincorporated area of Notre Dame).[84]