Mishawaka, Indiana
City of Mishawaka
Mishawaka downtown, south of the St. Joe River
Mishawaka downtown, south of the St. Joe River
Flag of Mishawaka, Indiana
Official seal of Mishawaka, Indiana
The Princess City
Location of Mishawaka in St. Joseph County, Indiana.
Location of Mishawaka in St. Joseph County, Indiana.
Coordinates: 41°39′15″N 86°09′48″W / 41.65417°N 86.16333°W / 41.65417; -86.16333
CountryUnited States
CountySt. Joseph
 • MayorDave Wood (R)[1] [2]
 • Total18.25 sq mi (47.26 km2)
 • Land17.90 sq mi (46.35 km2)
 • Water0.35 sq mi (0.90 km2)
Elevation738 ft (225 m)
 • Total51,063
 • Density2,853.16/sq mi (1,101.61/km2)
Time zoneUTC−5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
ZIP codes
Area code574
FIPS code18-49932[5]
GNIS feature ID2395354[4]

Mishawaka /ˌmɪʃəˈwɑːkə/ is a city on the St. Joseph River, in Penn Township, St. Joseph County, in the U.S. state of Indiana.[6] The population was 51,063 as of the 2020 census. Its nickname is "the Princess City". Mishawaka is a principal city of the South Bend–Mishawaka, IN-MI, Metropolitan Statistical Area.


Mishawaka's recorded history began with the discovery of bog iron deposits at the beginning of the 1830s. Settlers arriving to mine the deposits founded the town of St. Joseph Iron Works in 1831. Within a few years, the town had a blast furnace, a general store, a tavern, and about 200 residents. Business prospered, and in 1833 St. Joseph Iron Works, Indiana City, and two other adjacent small towns were incorporated to form the city of Mishawaka.

The Mishawaka post office has been in operation since 1833.[7]

On June 27, 1859, a bridge carrying a train, which had over 150 people on board, collapsed, killing 60.[8]

In September 1872, a fire destroyed three quarters of Mishawaka's business district. However, the citizens rebuilt and attracted new industry.[9] The Dodge Manufacturing Company, Perkins Windmills and the Mishawaka Woolen and Rubber Company (later Ball Band, then Uniroyal) all helped the town to prosper. Mishawaka grew through both industry and agriculture. In the late 19th century, Mishawaka became known as the "Peppermint Capital of the World", since the area's rich black loam produced great quantities of mint.

From 1906 to 1915, Mishawaka was the manufacturing home of the luxurious American Simplex motor car. Ball Band made rubber garments and was hit by a major strike in 1931. It flourished in the 1940s, finally closing in 1997 in the face of cheaper imports. Manufacturing in Mishawaka peaked in the 1940s and began a slow decline due to industrial restructuring. The economic base shifted to retail services and small industry.

In 1979, University Park Mall opened in the far northern portion of Mishawaka. In 1990, AM General began producing the Hummer in its Mishawaka plant. The MV-1 is a purpose-built taxicab and replaces the planned Standard Taxi; it was developed in collaboration with AM General.[10] The car is built in Mishawaka at an AM General plant. AM General has begun making Mercedes vehicles at this plant since 2015.[10][11]


One theory for the word Mishawaka proposes that it derives from the name of a Potawatomi village at the junction of the Elkhart and St. Joseph rivers, where there were many dead trees.[12] The village's exact name in the Potawatomi language may have been *mšwakig ("at the firewood-tree land").[12] In the Miami-Illinois language, which historically was also spoken in the area, the corresponding placename is mihswaahkwahkiki ("it is firewood-tree land").[12]

Another possible origin of the word comes from the city's government website, where in a history of Mishawaka paper written by local historian Peter DeKever states between page 2 and 3 "The Potawatomi had numerous villages in the region, including one on the south bank of the St. Joseph River located in the area bounded today by Lincolnway West and North Main and West Streets. The Potawatomi were drawn to this location by the ease of transport the river provided, a ford near a natural rapids, abundant fish and game, and access to timber. Their term for the area, M’Shehwahkeek, translates as swift flowing water or heavy timbered rapids.” This theory is also mentioned by The History Museum of South Bend, and other sources. [13] [14]

The nickname "Princess City", however, derives from a different account of the name's origin.[15] According to this story, "Mishawaka" or something similar was the name of the daughter of a Shawnee chief named "Elkhart".[16] A love triangle between Mishawaka, a white trader named "Dead Shot", and a Shawnee warrior named "Grey Wolf" led to various adventures. This story originated with Flavius J. Littlejohn, a Michigan politician and judge, who published a collection of such stories in 1875; in Littlejohn's account, the woman's name was "Mishawaha".[17][18]


Neighborhoods, leisure and sports heritage

Old-fashioned neighborhoods are found across the city. Many of the newer residential subdivisions that have been developed within the city in recent years have adopted design guidelines to produce the "hometown" neighborhood feel and encourage community spirit.

The city continually upgrades and develops new neighborhood park and recreation facilities. A total of 29 parks allow Mishawaka residents to golf, play ball, fish and exercise. In 1968, the city opened an outdoor Olympic-size swimming pool and an adjacent ice skating rink at Merrifield Park.[20] On the south side, Mishawaka's George Wilson Park is home to the city's most popular winter toboggan spot,[21] as well as an 18-hole frisbee golf course. Some of the city's Italian immigrants and their descendants still play traditional games such as bocce. A number of residents of Belgian descent play traditional Rolle Bolle[22] and a few ethnic Belgians continue to raise and race homing pigeons. The city also hosted the nation's oldest and largest wiffleball tournament, the World Wiffle Ball Championship,[23] from 1980 to 2012 and again in 2020.

The city's three high schools (Mishawaka High School, Penn High School, and Marian High School) have won a combined 11 state championships in football since 1920.

International Sister cities

Points of interest

The Battell Park Historic District is one of nine sites in Mishawaka listed on the National Register of Historic Places

Notable people

* Robin Hood (golfer), LPGA Tour golfer


According to the 2010 census, Mishawaka has a total area of 17.348 square miles (44.93 km2), of which 17 square miles (44.03 km2) (or 97.99%) is land and 0.348 square miles (0.90 km2) (or 2.01%) is water.[35]


Historical population
Source: US Census Bureau

As of 2000 the median income for a household in the city was $33,986, and the median income for a family was $41,947. Males had a median income of $33,878 versus $23,672 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,434. About 7.3% of families and 9.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.7% of those under age 18 and 7.3% of those age 65 or over.

2010 census

As of the census[36] of 2010, there were 48,252 people, 21,343 households, and 11,730 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,838.4 inhabitants per square mile (1,095.9/km2). There were 24,088 housing units at an average density of 1,416.9 per square mile (547.1/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 86.1% White, 6.9% African American, 0.4% Native American, 1.9% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 1.6% from other races, and 2.9% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.5% of the population.

There were 21,343 households, of which 28.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 35.5% were married couples living together, 14.4% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.1% had a male householder with no wife present, and 45.0% were non-families. 37.4% of all households were made up of individuals, and 12.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.21 and the average family size was 2.92.

The median age in the city was 34.7 years. 23.1% of residents were under the age of 18; 11.4% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 28.3% were from 25 to 44; 23.7% were from 45 to 64; and 13.6% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 47.1% male and 52.9% female.


Mishawaka is served by TRANSPO municipal bus system, which also serves South Bend and several smaller suburbs in South Bend-Mishawaka metropolitan region. The Interurban Trolley's Bittersweet/Mishawaka route stops at Martin's Supermarket, connecting riders to the city of Elkhart and the town of Osceola. The closest Amtrak station and the closest commercial airport are both located in western South Bend.

Major highways


Public schools

Mishawaka High School, of the School City of Mishawaka

Public schools in Mishawaka and/or serving Mishawaka are operated by several school districts. School City of Mishawaka serves the central part of the city. Other sections are within the Penn-Harris-Madison School Corporation and the South Bend Community School Corporation.[37] Mishawaka High School is the sole high school of the Mishawaka school district.[38] School City of Mishawaka (School District of Mishawaka) contains a total of 9 Schools including 2 secondary Schools: Mishawaka High and John Young Middle School, and 7 Elementry Schools witch includes the following: Battle, Beiger, Emmons, Hums, LaSalle, Liberty, and Twin Branch.

Penn-Harris elementary schools serving sections of Mishawaka include Walt Disney (in the Mishawaka city limits), Elm Road, Meadow's Edge, Prairie Vista, and Elsie Rogers; the middle schools respectively are Schmucker and Grissom.[39] Penn High School, outside of the city limits, is the sole public high school of the Penn-Harris-Madison school district.[40] Aside from Walt Disney Elementary, none of the other respective schools are in the Mishawaka city limits. The school zonings for the South Bend School Corporation area are as follows (none of the schools are in Mishawaka): Darden Elementary School[41] Edison Middle School[42] and Adams High School.[43] The section was in 2020 zoned to Tarkington Elementary,[44] which closed in 2021.[45]

Private and tertiary education, and libraries

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend operates four private Catholic schools in Mishawaka, including Marian High School.

Bethel University is an accredited evangelical Christian liberal arts school with 1,700 students.

Mishawaka has a public library, a branch of the Mishawaka-Penn-Harris Public Library system.[46]


One major daily newspaper serving the South Bend and Mishawaka metro area, the South Bend Tribune. It is distributed in north central Indiana and southwestern Michigan.

Mishawaka has a wide variety of local radio broadcast available in the area. Stations' programming content contains a wide variety including public radio, classical music, religious, country, and urban contemporary among others. For more information, see List of Radio Stations in Mishawaka, Indiana.

As of 2013, the South Bend-Mishawaka-Elkhart designated market area was the 95th largest in the United States, with 319,860 (0.3% of the US population) homes.[47] Most of the major television networks have affiliates in the Michiana area.

Mishawaka located stations include WSBT-TV (CBS), WBND-LD (ABC), WCWW-LD (CW) and WMYS-LD (My Network TV). Stations located in nearby South Bend, IN include WNDU-TV (NBC), WNIT-TV (PBS) and WHME-TV (LeSEA).

Legend of "Princess" Mishawaka

One legend holds that the city is named after Mishawaka, daughter of Shawnee Chief Elkhart. Although Native Americans do not have royalties, in the 19th century, "princess" was a term often used to describe a tribal Chief's daughter. According to the story, the Shawnee were permitted to settle on Potawatomi lands in the late 18th century, and Potawatomi 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. The legend was first mentioned in 1875, as a story in a book by Michigan author Flavius J. Littlejohn and later popularized. [48] [49]


  1. ^ https://www.southbendtribune.com/elections/results/local/
  2. ^ https://mishawaka.in.gov/government/elected-appointed-officials/mayor/
  3. ^ "2020 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved March 16, 2022.
  4. ^ a b U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Mishawaka, Indiana
  5. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  6. ^ "Mishawaka, Indiana". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey, United States Department of the Interior. Retrieved November 5, 2016.
  7. ^ "Saint Joseph County". Jim Forte Postal History. Retrieved November 6, 2016.
  8. ^ "History of Mishawaka, Indiana". HistoryMuseumSB. Retrieved June 2, 2023.
  9. ^ "Mishawaka 1872 Fire History". South Bend Tribune. Retrieved June 2, 2023.
  10. ^ a b Korzeniewski, Jeremy (October 21, 2009). "AM General to build VPG MV-1 people-mover at Hummer H2 factory". AutoBlog. Aol. Archived from the original on June 30, 2012.
  11. ^ Coxworth, Ben (September 22, 2011). "MV-1 van is designed specifically for wheelchair users". gizmag.com. Archived from the original on February 11, 2012. Retrieved April 3, 2012.
  12. ^ a b c McCafferty, Michael (2008). Native American Place-Names of Indiana. University of Illinois Press. p. 15. ISBN 9780252032684.
  13. ^ https://mishawaka.in.gov/our-community/about-mishawaka/history/
  14. ^ https://www.historymuseumsb.org/history-of-mishawaka-indiana/
  15. ^ Baker, Ronald L. (1984). Hoosier Folk Legends. Indiana University Press. p. 179. ISBN 0253203341.
  16. ^ "History of Mishawaka, Indiana". The History Museum. Retrieved May 3, 2023.
  17. ^ James, Sheryl (2013). Michigan Legends: Folktales and Lore from the Great Lakes State. University of Michigan Press. ISBN 9780472051748.
  18. ^ Legends of Michigan and the Old North West; Or, a Cluster of Unpublished Waifs, Gleaned Along the Uncertain, Misty Line, Dividing Traditional from Historic Times. Allegan, Michigan: Northwestern Bible and Publishing Company. 1875.
  19. ^ "Best Places to Raise Your Kids: 2010". BusinessWeek. Archived from the original on November 21, 2009. Retrieved December 23, 2020.
  20. ^ outdoor Olympic-size swimming pool Archived June 29, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  21. ^ George Wilson Park Archived January 12, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  22. ^ http://www.bkclub-mishawaka.com/bolling/
  23. ^ "Welcome to Whiffleball.org". worldwiffleball.org. Retrieved May 26, 2015.
  24. ^ Beutter Park Archived April 28, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  25. ^ Battell Park's Band Shelter Archived April 8, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  26. ^ Shiojiri Garden (16 April 2015)
  27. ^ The Beiger Mansion Archived February 2, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  28. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  29. ^ Cinema Treasures: Mishawaka’s Tivoli Succumbs to Wrecking Ball
  30. ^ Conte Candoli Archived 2014-07-23 at the Wayback Machine
  31. ^ Pete Candoli Archived December 25, 2005, at the Wayback Machine
  32. ^ Kennedy, Mark (October 14, 2011). "In the driver's seat: Adam Driver's hot career". Reading Eagle. Retrieved January 20, 2014.
  33. ^ "Ridan Author Todd A Fonseca". Ridan Publishing. October 1, 2009.
  34. ^ "George Gulyanics". databasefootball.com. Archived from the original on February 17, 2015. Retrieved May 26, 2015.
  35. ^ "G001 - Geographic Identifiers - 2010 Census Summary File 1". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved July 29, 2015.
  36. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved December 11, 2012.
  37. ^ "2020 CENSUS - SCHOOL DISTRICT REFERENCE MAP: St. Joseph County, IN" (PDF). U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved February 25, 2022.
  38. ^ "School City of Mishawaka". mishawaka.k12.in.us. Retrieved May 26, 2015.
  39. ^ "District Boundaries & Map". Penn-Harris-Madison School Corporation. November 20, 2015. Retrieved February 25, 2022. - Expanded map with key - Street guide
  40. ^ "Penn-Harris-Madison School Corporation". phm.k12.in.us. Retrieved May 26, 2015.
  41. ^ "Elementary school map 2021" (PDF). South Bend Community School Corporation. Retrieved February 26, 2022. - Generated from this school boundary locator.
  42. ^ "Middle school map 2021" (PDF). South Bend Community School Corporation. Retrieved February 26, 2022. - Generated from this school boundary locator.
  43. ^ "Clay High school map 2021" (PDF). South Bend Community School Corporation. Retrieved February 25, 2022. - Generated from this school boundary locator.
  44. ^ "Elementary map 2020" (PDF). South Bend Community School Corporation. Retrieved February 26, 2022. - Generated from this school boundary locator.
  45. ^ Scwiercz, Greg (February 23, 2021). "South Bend school board votes to close Hay, Tarkington elementary schools". South Bend Tribune. Retrieved February 25, 2022.
  46. ^ "Homepage". Mishawaka-Penn-Harris Public Library. Retrieved March 15, 2018.
  47. ^ The Nielsen Company. "Nielsen Reports 1.1% increase in U.S. Television Households for the 2006-2007 Season Archived 2009-07-05 at the Wayback Machine." Nielsen Media Research. Retrieved on January 26, 2008.
  48. ^ Allison, Harold (1986). The Tragic Saga of the Indiana Indians. Turner Publishing Company, Paducah. pp. 99–100. ISBN 0-938021-07-9.
  49. ^ https://archive.org/details/legendsmichigan00littgoog/page/n8/mode/2up

Further reading