Part 2 - South Bend to Bryan
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#20a
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Bryan to Sandusky
Chicago to South Bend
AMTRAK ROUTE GUIDE #20a -- Chicago, Illinois to Buffalo, New York

mileage

84      SOUTH BEND station, 2702 W. Washington Avenue.  Elevation approximately 721 ft. South Bend is the county seat of St. Joseph County, and the 4th largest city in Indiana.  It was named after its location on the southernmost bend in the St. Joseph River.

          The first permanent white settlers of South Bend were fur traders who established trading posts in the area.  In 1823, a trading post called Big Saint Joseph Station was established by Alexis Coquillard, an agent from John Jacob Astor’s American Fur Company.  Then, In 1827, Lathrop Minor Taylor established a post for the Samuel Hanna and Company fur business.  Taylor was soon appointed postmaster, and the post office was designated as Southold.  In 1830, the name was changed to South Bend, and the city was then laid out in 1931, then first incorporated in 1835, then re-incorporated as a city in 1865.  The University of Notre Dame was established in 1842 as a mission for the Pottawattomi people, and as a center for both religious and secular education.

         The manufacture of transportation equipment and farm machinery in South Bend dates from the 1850’s, when Henry and Clement Studebaker opened a blacksmith and wagon shop here, then formed a partnership to manufacture plows and other farming machinery with a new steel-hardening technique.  In time, the Studebaker Brothers became major manufacturers of wagons, and in the 20th Century, cars, and Studebaker was a leading producer of automobiles.  The Studebaker Company ceased manufacturing cars in 1963.  In addition, 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.  In the early 20th Century, other companies, such as Honeywell, Bendix, and Allied Signal began manufacturing in South Bend.

          South Bend is the home of the University of Notre Dame, St. Mary’s College, and a campus of Indiana University, established in 1940.  South Bend is also the home of the Northern Indiana Center for History, the College Football Hall of Fame, Studebaker National Museum, Pottawattomi Zoo, and the East Race Waterway, an artificial whitewater rafting attraction.  Notable alums of the University of Notre Dame include former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, television star Regis Philbin, and legendary college football coaches Knute Rockne and Lou Holz.

86     On the right here (eastbound) is part of the former Studebaker manufacturing plant.  On the left is the former South Bend Union Station, which hosted trains of the New York Central and Nickel Plate Railroads.  The former station is now used for information technology businesses.  Beyond the station is the Stanley Coveleski Regional Stadium, home of South Bend’s minor league Silver Hawks baseball team.  The stadium was opened in 1987, and is named after Stan Coveleski, Hall of Fame pitcher who played for the Cleveland Indians, Washington Senators, New York Yankees, and Philadelphia Athletics early in the 20th Century.  Coveleski primarily pitched the “spitball.”

          In the distance on the left (eastbound), you may be able to see the “Golden Dome” from Notre Dame University.

88.5   The St. Joseph River is visible on the left (eastbound) beyond the buildings.  The hills to the south (right if eastbound) are composed of till from the Saginaw Lobe of the last Wisconsin glacial advance.

91-94                      Pass through Mishawaka.  One legend holds that the city is named after Mishawaka, daughter of Shawnee Chief Elkhart.  According to the story, the Shawnee were permitted to settle on Pottawattomi lands in the late 18th Century, and Pottawattomi Chief Grey Wolf soon fell in love with Mishawaka.  She rejected his advances and pledged her love to a white trapper, known only as Deadshot. A war between the two tribes ensued, and Grey Wolf captured Mishawaka and threatened to kill her unless she married him.  Deadshot followed him, however, and the two men fought to the death.  Grey Wolf died, but not before stabbing Mishawaka in the breast. She recovered, but died in 1818 at age 32.  She was supposedly buried near Lincoln Park, where a bronze marker recounts the legend.  Most sources, however, say the name of the city was derived from a Pottawattomi Indian word meaning “country of dead trees.” in reference to a clear-cut area which existed in 1833.

          In 1832, deposits of bog iron ore were discovered here, and the settlers arriving to mine the ore established the town of St. Joseph Iron Works in 1821.  In September, 1872, a fire destroyed ¾ of the city’s commercial district; however, the citizens rebuilt the city and attracted new industry.  The Dodge Manufacturing Company, Perkins Windmills, and the Mishawaka Woolen and Rubber Company (later Ball Band, then Uniroyal) all helped the town to prosper.  The town also grew agriculturally, and in the late 1800’s, it was known as the “Peppermint Capital of the World,” due to the rich black loam found in the area which yielded great quantities of the mint.

          Mishawaka was incorporated as a city n 1899.  From 1906 to 1915, Mishawaka was the manufacturing home of the luxurious American Simplex motor car.  Four American Simplex autos entered the first Indianapolis 500 in 1911.  One Simplex crashed, killing the mechanic riding with the driver, while the other Mishawaka cars finished 6th, 8th and 20th.

          Mishawaka is the home of Bethel College, established in 1947.

95-96                      Pass through Osceola, named after the famous Seminole Indian Chief, who was the recognized leader of the Seminole Tribe, and who strongly objected to negotiating with the U.S, Government in 1835 for the westward relocation of the tribe.  The town was platted in 1856.

96     Cross Baugo Creek and enter ELKHART County.  Elkhart County is named after the Elkhart River, which was likely named after Shawnee Indian Chief Elkhart, cousin of Chief Tecumseh, and father of Princess Mishawaka, for whom the nearby city to the west was named (see MP 91 above).  Elkhart County was organized on January 29, 1830, and its original county seat was Dunlap.  Later, after a number of western townships were ceded to adjacent St. Joseph County (see MP 71.5 above), it became necessary to find a more centrally located county seat; therefore, the city of Goshen was chosen as county seat on February 10, 1831.

97-98                      Pass through the large Norfolk Southern Robert Young Memorial freight yard.  We are still traversing the valley of the St. Joseph River, which is part of the Kankakee Outwash Plain (see MP 53 above).

101    ELKHART station, 131 Tyler Avenue. Elevation approximately 753.  Elkhart is located at the junction of the Elkhart and St. Joseph Rivers.  Its name is of the same origin as the county (see MP 96 above).  It was incorporated as a city in 1865, and is known for the manufacture of musical instruments, mobile homes, recreational vehicles, and pharmaceuticals.  The city is sometimes referred to as the “RV Capital of the World,” or as the “Band Instrument Capital of the World.”  It is also the home of Miles Medical Company, the makers of Alka-Seltzer, which was purchased in 1979 by the Bayer Company.

          Elkhart was purchased from the Pottawattomi people in 1831, and was once a busy railroad junction.  It is also located in a region inhabited by the Amish and Mennonite people.

          The first hydroelectric power dam across the St. Joseph River was built here in 1867, and is still in use today,.

          Just past the AMTRAK station on the right (eastbound) is the New York Central Railroad Museum, which contains 2 rail coaches visible from the train, as well as an old stationmaster’s office and numerous displays about railroading and the NYC Railroad.  Elkhart is also the home of the Midwest Museum of American Art and the Ruthmere Museum, a 19th Century Beaux Arts style home built by A.R. Beardsley, one of the founders of Miles Laboratories.

103.5 Pass beneath U.S. 20.  The hills to the southwest (right if eastbound) are end moraines deposited by the Saginaw Lobe of the last Wisconsin glaciation.

104-105 Pass through Dunlap, the original county seat of Elkhart County.  It was named after a railroad official.  The town started as a small farming community; however, by the 1980’s, it had become a suburban community to both Elkhart and Goshen.  Most of the town was destroyed by two violent F4 tornadoes during the Palm Sunday Tornado Outbreak on April 11, 1965.  Both tornadoes killed over 60 in the region.

106    The Elkhart River is now adjacent to the railroad on the left (eastbound).

107    Pass through Midway.

109-111 Cross the Elkhart River and pass through Goshen, the county seat of Elkhart County.  The city was platted in 1831 and named after the biblical land in Egypt, from which the enslaved Hebrews left during the Exodus.  Like Elkhart, the region is known for its manufacture of recreational vehicles.  It is also a rich agricultural region, and, in addition to being an agricultural region, the city has a number of industries, including brush and sash factories, stove and iron works, flour, saw, and rubber mills.  It is also the home of Goshen College, a small Mennonite liberal arts college.

          The Goshen Historic District was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1983, and in April, 2006, the city was the site of an immigration march.

112    On the left (eastbound) are the Elkhart County Fairgrounds.  On the right is Fiddler’s Pond.

115   At approximately here, we are leaving the Kankakee Outwash Plain, and entering a region known as the Steuben morainal lake area, which is characterized initially by a mixture of glacial till and outwash from the Saginaw ice lobe.  This transitional area will eventually lead into an area of morainic topography deposited by the Huron-Erie ice lobe, which is characterized by numerous kettle lakes (see MP 58 above).

118.5-119 Pass through Millersburg, which was platted in 1855 and named after land owner Solomon Miller.  The town was originally known as Cook’s Station.

120    Cross Stony Creek, which flows into the Elkhart River just south of the railroad.

121.5 Cross the Elkhart River, a tributary of the St. Joseph River.  Enter NOBLE County, named after Noah Noble, former Governor of Indiana.  The county was organized in 1836.  The county seat is Albion.  Noble County was one of the last counties to be vacated by the Indians, and as late as 1848, there were villages of both Miami and Pottawattomi Indians in the county. There is also evidence that some of these Indians were mound builders.

122-123 The Elkhart River is again adjacent to the railroad here.

123.5 Cross the Elkhart River once again.  Hills adjacent to the railroad are composed of mixed glacial deposits from the Huron-Erie ice lobe.

125-126 Pass through Ligonier, which was founded in 1835 by Isaac Calvin, who named the new town after his home town of Ligonier, Pennsylvania, which was named after an English soldier of French ancestry.  Between the 1850’s and the 1940’s, many Jewish citizens inhabited the city.  Ligonier’s industry consists of lumber mills, cooper shops, flour mills, and the manufacture of quilts, carriages, auto bodies, road machinery, and refrigerators.

          Ligonier is known as the “City of Murals,” after several old murals which are displayed on buildings in the downtown area.

128.5 Cross North Branch of Elkhart River, which joins the main branch of the river just south of the railroad.

129    South of the railroad (right if eastbound), you may see a large conical hill in the distance,  This is Diamond Hill, which is known as a kame. Kames are small conical hills composed of ice-contact stratified drift, that is, generally well sorted sand and gravel which was deposited in contact with a melting chunk of glacial ice, being sorted by the action of glacial meltwater.

131    Pass through Wawaka, which was laid out in 1857.  The name Wawaka means “big heron” in some Indian languages.

133    The flat topography here is likely composed of ground moraine deposits, which, unlike end moraines which were deposited during temporary “standstills” of retreating glaciers, were deposited directly by glacial ice as it retreated to the north.  Many small valleys in the ground moraine have been filled in with outwash deposits from streams flowing away from the retreating glaciers.

135.5-136 Pass beneath U.S. 6 and through the small agricultural; town of Brimfield, which was laid out in 1861 and likely named after an English village.

138   A couple miles north of the railroad is Sylvan Lake, home of American naturalist, wildlife photographer, and novelist Gene Stratton-Porter, who wrote “A Girl of the Limberlost.”  Stratton-Porter was an avid conservationist of wetlands such as the Limberlost Swamp here in Indiana.  The Gene Stratton-Porter National Historic Area contains her 16-room cabin and wildflower gardens.

142-144 Pass through Kendallville, which was named after Postmaster General Amos Kendall, who served under President Andrew Jackson.  The city was settled in 1833.  Kendallville is the home of a large refrigerator manufacturing plant, and also produces iron goods, motor trucks, windmills, stock tank heaters, clothes racks, store display cases, brooms, flour, feed, hospital tables, and other products,

         Kendallville is the center of Indiana’s Amish country, and it is not uncommon to see Amish people traveling along county roads in their simple black garments and horse and buggies.

146.5 Enter DE KALB County, named after Bavarian General Johann de Kalb, an officer in the Continental Army who fought for America in the Revolutionary War.  De Kalb was killed in 1780 at the Battle of Camden. The county was organized on February 2, 1837, and Auburn was named the county seat on May 1 of that year.  On February 8, 1913 ,a disastrous fire occurred, which destroyed many of the county’s early records.

         DeKalb is the last county through which we will be traveling in Indiana.  Between here and the Ohio border, we will continue to traverse glacial deposits laid down by the Huron-Erie ice lobe of the Wisconsin glaciation.  Most of the landforms we will be seeing will be end and ground moraines.

149    Pass through Corunna, likely named after the city of the same name in Michigan, but could also refer to a Spanish city.  The town was settled around 1855.

151.5 North of the railroad (left if eastbound) is the small community of Sedan, formerly known as Iba.  In 1871, the name was changed to Sedan, likely named after the French city of the same name.

153.5 Pass beneath Interstate 69, which connects Indianapolis to the south with Lansing, Flint, and Port Huron, Michigan to the north.  We are now traversing a part of the Wabash Moraine, a Huron-Erie ice lobe end moraine within the Steuben Morainal Lake area.

155    WATERLOO station, Lincoln and Center Streets.  Elevation approximately 916.  Waterloo is the closest AMTRAK station to Ft. Wayne.  Waterloo was platted in 1841 and named after the Belgian village where Napoleon was defeated in 1815.  Since there is another Waterloo in Indiana, in Fayette County, this Waterloo was originally named Waterloo City.  It is a small agricultural town, but is also a crew change point for AMTRAK crews.

         For the next few miles, we are traversing a valley filled with outwash deposits located within the Fort Wayne Moraine, a prominent end moraine of the Huron-Erie ice lobe.

157    On the left (eastbound) is the very small Walker/Rowe Waterloo Airport, a privately owned public use airport with one runway.

158    Behind the gain elevators on the right (eastbound) is Anderson’s Nutrient Plant.

163    Pass through Butler, the last city in Indiana through which we will be passing.  Butler is named after pioneer David Butler, a prominent early settler.  It was originally called Norristown, named after real estate promoter Charles Norris, then the name was changed in 1859 to Jarvis, then to Butler in 1868.  Around 1880, the town became the division point for the Wabash Railroad when the railroad was extended to Detroit.  We cross the former Wabash Railroad line on the east side of town.

166.5 Enter WILLIAMS County, OHIO.  The county was named after Revolutionary War hero David Williams, who was one of the captors of the British spy Major John Andre, who was part of American General Benedict Arnold’s treacherous plot to surrender the strategic American fortification at West Point to the British.  Arnold delivered key information about West Point’s weaknesses to General Clinton through Andre.

          The original county seat of Williams County was Defiance; however, Bryan is now the county seat.

          As we cross Ohio, we will continue to travel across glacial deposits from the Wisconsin glaciation between here and Cleveland.  After Cleveland, we will be traveling across the northern edge of the Allegheny Plateau.

169.5-170 Pass through Edgerton, named after land owner Alfred P. Edgerton, who donated land for a public square.  The city’s Village Park now occupies that public square.  The village was laid out by John H. Sargent, a civil engineer with the Michigan Southern & Northern Indiana Railroad (now a part of NS). Sargent and other railroad insiders would often purchase parcels of land at approximately 10-mile intervals along the proposed rail route.  This process made any new town just far enough away from other towns to warrant a good location for marketing products by rail to the larger cities.

170    Cross the St. Joseph River again – this is the same river which flows through South Bend, Indiana.

172    Pass through Mina.  Between here and Bryan we will be crossing the Fort Wayne Moraine.

175   Pass through Melbern, a small unincorporated community, in which the children who live here attend school in Edgerton, 5 miles west.

178   Miller Creek flows along the railroad through the trees on the south here (right if eastbound).

         Note vast array of solar panels on the ground on the left (eastbound) .  These panels are used to power a local radio station

180   BRYAN station, Paige & Lynn Streets.  Elevation approximately 774 ft.  Bryan is the county seat of Williams County. The Capitol Ltd does not stop at Bryan; however, the Lake Shore Ltd stops here.  Bryan was settled in 1840 and incorporated as a village in 1841.  It was reincorporated as a city in 1941.  It was named after the Honorable John A. Bryan, a judge and also Ohio Secretary of State.  At one time, Bryan was known as the “Fountain City,” after its many artesian wells.  Lester’s Diner, built here in the 1960’s, is believed to be the inspiration for “Mel’s Diner,” from the 1970’s sitcom “Alice.”

               The 40+ mile stretch of nearly curveless railroad track between here and the western suburbs of Toledo is known as the “air line.”
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