Firsts in South Bend

This is a timeline that shows some of the historic ‘firsts’ in our town.

1820-First settler of European heritage, Pierre Navarre

1820-First trading post

1824-First woman of European heritage to settle in South Bend, Frances Comparet Coquillard

1829-First Post Office

1830-First Postmaster, Lathrop M. Taylor

1831-First jail

1831-First practicing lawyer, Elisha Egbert

1831-First keel boat for delivering freight on the St. Joseph River

1831-First drygoods merchant, Horatio Chapin

1831-First log grade school (not public)

1831-First hotel, The American Hotel, built by Peter Johnson

1831-First newspaper, The Northwestern Pioneer and St. Joseph Intelligencer

1831-First county courthouse

1831-First church organized, Methodist Church

1835-First church built, Methodist-N.B. Griffith, Minister

1835-First incorporation of South Bend

1836-First child born, J.W. Camper

1841-First deputy county auditor, Schuyler Colfax

1843-First Congressman, Hon. Samuel C. Sample

1844-First St. Joseph River dam

1847-First bridge, Marion Street

1848-First telegraph, Mrs. J.B. Reynolds received the first message

1854-First railroad, New York Central

1855-First fire department

1861-First local citizen to die in the American Civil War, John Auten (some believe first Indiana soldier to die in the war)

1863-First public school, Jefferson

1865-First Mayor, William G. George

1866-First school board

1867-First historical society (second historical society in the state of Indiana)

1873-First daily newspaper, The Tribune

1880-First telephone exchange

1880-First Artesian well sunk

1882-First electric trolley streetcar system in the United States!

1889-First city park, Howard Park

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