South Bend History & Culture
Enrich your vacation with a glimpse into our legendary heritage.
The greater South Bend area has been attracting travelers for hundreds of years. Many of them have contributed to our history. Our tradition. Our culture. Our heritage is proud and determined but more than that—it's spirited.
History & Heritage
As the shortest portage point between the St. Joseph River and the Kankakee River, this area was well known among native Americans, fur traders and missionaries who traveled from eastern shores to the Mississippi River and beyond. Since then, notoriety has stayed with us.
Officially established in 1830, St. Joseph County was home to the Studebaker family and their iconic Studebaker Automobile Company. It was here that James Oliver developed his Chilled Plow into the most popular plow in the world. And it was a South Bend resident, Frank Herring, who first requested that a special day be set aside to honor all mothers.
We are a regional center for higher education. In addition to the University of Notre Dame, the greater South Bend area welcomes students to Bethel College, Brown Mackie College-South Bend, Holy Cross College, Indiana University South Bend, Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana, Saint Mary's College and Trine University South Bend/Mishawaka. Each campus brings a rich variety of visual and performing arts, sporting events and year-round cultural activities. Learn More