History Around The Bend

From engaging museums that tell the story of South Bend to a statue of one of the most influential Americans in this country’s history, South Bend is filled with history around every turn! Step back in time and experience it today!

On June 21, 1964, amid severe racial inequality in our country, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. sought out several prominent figures to join him during a civil rights rally at Soldier Field in Chicago. Many turned down his invitation, but when Dr. King called former University of Notre Dame President Father Theodore Hesburgh, Father Hesburgh simply replied with “What time do you need me?” At the rally, Dr. King and Father Hesburgh were pictured arm in arm singing “We Shall Overcome.”

This historic photograph was brought to life in downtown South Bend, IN on June 21, 2017 when the statue of the famed picture was unveiled on Main Street 53 years to the day Father Hesburgh and Dr. King took their iconic photo. Now you can get your photograph holding hands with Dr. King and Father Hesburgh to remind ourselves of the work these two great humanitarians did for us in the past and the work we must do to continue their mission in the future.

To continue your historical exploration through downtown South Bend, travel up Washington Street for the Civil Rights Heritage Center. This center is committed to educating on social justice and civil rights. Once a segregated public swimming pool, the center is also committed to documenting the local civil rights history of Northern Indiana in partnership with Indiana University – South Bend.

Afterwards, learn more about the history of the South Bend community at Studebaker National Museum and The History Museum. Studebaker was once a household name in the automobile industry. Learn about the Studebaker story and see over 30 classic Studebaker cars and wagons in addition to the largest President carriage collection in the country that includes the carriage Abraham Lincoln rode to Ford’s Theatre the night he was assassinated in 1865. The History Museum tells the story of the region with a chance to take a trip back in time as you tour the elegant 38-room Oliver Mansion. This mansion is one of three historic houses in South Bend owned by the museum and includes all original furnishings so you can get an idea of what it was like to live in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

To round out your day, enjoy a fine dining experience like no other when you have a meal at Tippecanoe Place Restaurant. Indulge your taste buds with American cuisine in the 40-room mansion that was once home to Clem Studebaker of the Studebaker Corporation. Have a meal in the library, sun porch, or even the ballroom. After you finish your meal, take a self-guided tour of the mansion itself to find out how lavish Tippecanoe Place truly is.

There is plenty more to discover in The Bend! For a full list of fun events, go to the events calendar.