Take a History Tour of The Bend
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An iconic moment in the Civil Rights Movement has connections to The Bend.

Unveiled in June 2017 at Leighton Plaza in downtown South Bend, a statue (pictured above) commemorates a historic photo capturing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Fr. Theodore Hesburgh, former president of the University of Notre Dame, arm-in-arm singing “We Shall Overcome.”

The statue is a perfect place to start your daylong history tour of The Bend. Here’s a stop-by-stop guide.

Civil Rights Heritage Center

NOTE: In response to the coronavirus pandemic, the Civil Rights Heritage Center remains closed.

Start by traveling west on Washington Street to the Civil Rights Heritage Center. The CRHC is housed in a former public pool. It educates on contemporary issues of social justice and civil rights. It documents, preserves and shares our area’s civil rights history. Included in that is the movement to desegregate the natatorium.

RELATED CONTENT: The Bend’s Civil Rights Museum

Studebaker National Museum 

Just a couple blocks from the CRHC, gearheads are likely to find Studebaker National Museum an ideal destination. It’s home to roughly 120 vehicles across multiple collections, including special exhibits. Woven into this is the story of the Studebaker family, which permeates so much of South Bend’s history and growth.

Among the museum’s exhibits is the largest collection of presidential carriages anywhere, including the one that carried Abraham Lincoln on the night of his assassination.

RELATED CONTENT: Explore the Studebaker-Bendix Heritage Trail

The History Museum 

Getting here from the Studebaker museum is easy. They’re on the same campus. Perhaps no attraction tells a fuller story of The Bend’s history – from pre-history, to French exploration, to industrial growth and beyond. Permanent exhibits include a closer look at the area’s growth and South Bend’s connection to the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League.

On the museum grounds you’ll also find the Oliver Mansion, a pristine home with original furnishings. The mansion was in the family of J.D. Oliver, a local industrialist, for years.

RELATED CONTENT: A Guide to Museums in The Bend

Studebaker Grill and Brewing Co. 

Tippecanoe Place Restaurant emerged from coronavirus-related closure in spring 2020 with a new name — Studebaker Grill and Brewing Co. It’s now leaning into a more casual atmosphere while continuing to embrace the building’s rich history. Just down the street from the museums, Clem Studebaker built the 40-room mansion the late 1800s. After grabbing a bite to eat, take a self-guided tour of the mansion