South Bend City Directories Tell the Story

This short history was researched and written by Grace Osterhus and appeared in the “Indiana Magazine of History” which was published by the Indiana Historical Society. There was no date recorded.


The northern part of Indiana was not settled permanently as early as the rest [of the state] although it really had in a way, the earliest start. LaSalle came through the South Bend area in 1679, but it was not until 1820 that the first white settler, Pierre Navarre, built his little cabin by the side of the St. Joseph River. In 1823, when Alexis Coquillard came to this spot as agent for John Jacob Astor’s American Fur Company, South Bend had its real beginning. Four years later, Lathrop M. Taylor arrived as agent for Samuel Hanna. These two men founded South Bend.


Coquillard tacked this sign over his first trading post-“Big St. Joseph’s Station.” The “Big,” of course, was to distinguish from the St. Joseph’s station at Ft. Wayne which was on the little St. Joseph River. In 1827, Taylor wrote “St. Joseph’s, Indiana” at the top of his account book. In 1829, the government granted a post office to the little community, the commission reading: “Lathrop M. Taylor, Postmaster, Southold, Allen county, Indiana.” None of these three names was satisfactory. The place had been known locally as “The Bend” or “South Bend” for some time, due to its location at the southernmost point on the St. Joseph River. In 1830, the government changed the name to South Bend, St. Joseph County, Indiana, and thus it has been known ever since.


The county was organized in 1830; the town in 1835. The first city charter was granted in 1865. Two years later, the first directory was issued. This contains the first printed history of South Bend. It was printed by the Western Publishing Company of Chicago, and was known as Holland’s City Directory of South Bend. It runs to 175 pages, and is dedicated to the mayor and businessmen of South Bend as a slight token of the publisher’s esteem. That it was not looked upon with favor by all, is plainly evident for now and then as we leaf over the pages we find a name and after it this phrase enclosed in brackets “Don’t care to have their name in the directory.” Early settlers believed in taking no risks! The wording of some of the advertisements is very quaint and many of the things advertised are unnecessary in our present day life. Take livery stables for example-the coming generation will not know what such a place was and yet what a thrill some of our older citizens can remember riding in a livery rig such as is pictured in these early directories.

The First 1867 City Directory

The introduction says:


The business of making a directory, compiling and publishing the same, is at best an arduous task. Those not conversant with the complicated nature of the work cannot form anything like an adequate idea of the labor connected with it and the care and system required in the printing and getting out of the book in order to be accurate and satisfactory in all its details.


Our advertising department is a feature well worthy of the notice of every class of buyer. It shows the spirit of the go-a-head-activeness in our merchants and business men who desire to make known the wares and commodities they have for sale. These enterprising men may well be distinguished from their old fogy neighbors by the prominence of their signs in the pages of this first directory of South Bend.


Bound in the front of the directory proper is a little booklet about 3-1/2 by 4-1/2. Its title is “Ladies Guide to M. Campbell’s Self Instructor in the Art of Hair Work.” It contains instructions for braiding all kinds of hair into any “pattern or style that can be desired for chains, bracelets, pins, necklaces, armlets, braids, etc.” No contract bridge or golf in those days. Our grandmothers contented themselves with making hair ornaments. What an indoor sport!


The first few pages of this first directory are given over to a descriptive historical and business review of South Bend at that time. A look at it will be of interest:


South Bend is the capital of St. Joseph County. The site of the city is on a commanding bluff on the west bank of the St. Joseph River. This is South Bend, proper. An addition to the city has recently been made by annexing the village of Lowell, on the east bank of the river St. Joseph, which has increased the population about 1,000 souls and which now makes a total of 9,700 souls.


The river bending northward enters the state of Michigan about six miles from South Bend. We believe the name of South Bend was given the city from the fact of its being located on the river at its extreme southern bend. Hence the name South Bend. The site of the city is elevated, the soil is a sandy loam, the surface level; thus making the finest natural streets and sidewalks to be found anywhere.


Notice the wording, “natural streets and sidewalks,” of course this was long before the days of asphalt or cement. “The city,” the directory continues, “enjoys a high character for the healthiness of its inhabitants and the purity and salubrity of the atmosphere.”


Of the public buildings in use in 1867, especial mention is made in the first directory of the Court House which today serves as a historical museum [no longer]. It was built in 1857-1858, “of cut Athens stone, of a very beautiful appearance and we believe at a total cost of over $40,000.” In our day, when we read more often than not of court houses costing a half-million or more, $40,000 seems like a rather insignificant sum. “The lower floor of the building is used for office purposes,” the directory states, with the capacity “to accommodate the whole of the county officers, while the upper floor is devoted exclusively to the court and jury rooms. A valuable and handsome clock has been placed in the cupola at a considerable height so that the correct time of the day may be seen for a good distance. This is a boon which is appreciated by all.” This was clearly before the day of wrist watches.


The jail, erected in 1860, of Athens stone and brick, is described as presenting “a very handsome appearance and being well adapted for the purpose for which it was built.” One wonders if the following should be taken with some grain of allowance: “It is kept in a clean condition which goes far toward assuring the health of those poor wretches who are unfortunate enough to be confined within its walls. The internal arrangements of the building are very complete and we think could not very well be improved, the cells are well ventilated, admirably arranged and kept scrupulously clean.” The authors were not just writing a directory: “We will conclude by hoping that the jail may not have many tenants in the future. People will do well to give it a wide berth.”


The Post Office, erected two years before the directory was issued, was located on the corner of Main and Market (now Colfax) streets. It, too, was a “handsome building, being built of brick. The editors say:


We believe no better arranged post office exists in the state and for tasteful appearance and for adaptation to the purpose for which it was built, can scarcely be excelled in the West. The whole of the lower floor is used as a post office while the upper front rooms are occupied as offices by the mayor. The rear room is used as the city council chamber.


In this day and age, we mail a letter and expect it to be delivered as soon as possible with no thought of the days on which mail is sent out to a certain place. In 1867 this was not the case. The Post Office advises that mail goes to “North Liberty at 1:00 p.m. on Mondays and Thursdays and to Plymouth on Thursday only at 5 in the morning.” North Liberty is a little town about 14 miles southwest of South Bend, and Plymouth, on the Dixie Highway, is just 24 miles south. It hardly seems possible that mail from South Bend reached it but once a week just 70 years ago.


Even if the mails were slow, people must have done quite a little traveling for the back cover of the first directory advertises a number of hotels: The Island House, at the depot in Toledo; Spencer House, Cincinnati; Milburn House, Mishawaka; Biddle House, Detroit, and the Western Hotel in New York.


The Michigan Southern and Northern Indiana Railway is given almost a page of publicity. Its cars are described as being “of modern construction well warmed and ventilated and every comfort and convenience being provided and all annoyances incident to traveling with families are prevented. Eating places are provided along the line and most luxurious sleeping cars accompany all night trains with no change of cars between Chicago and Cleveland and only one change between Chicago and Buffalo. Salisbury’s Patent Dusters are used on all day trains.” One wonder just what Salisbury’s Patent Dusters were like. [note: these dusters were compartments under each of the train cars that allowed a train worker to remove dust and debris underneath the floor of the train car where its wind-tunnel-like design (as the train was moving) harmlessly blew the dust and debris out the back of the train car.]


The year 1867 was before the day of street numbering and we find a store or residence located thus: “w.s. Wayne,” (west side of Lafayette between Jefferson and Wayne Streets); or, “s.s. Market be. William and Gen Taylor” (south side of Market Street between William and General Taylor streets). Another way of marking the residence of a citizen was by its location, thus: “John Smith, Goose pasture,” referring to that part of South Bend then known as the “Goose Pasture.”


A little later as more houses appeared in the block, the directions became more explicit, for instance: “s.s. Market 4 d.w. Laf” (south side Market Street, 4 doors west of Lafayette Street). Some system of numbering was begun about 1871 for the directory of that year shows such numbers as “34 General Taylor,” “15 Columbia,” etc. In some instances these places were quite far out. For example, “184 W. Washington” was nine blocks from the center of town and not between Michigan and Main streets as such a number would now indicate.


The directory of 1883 was the first to give street numbers as we know them today. It was a year earlier, when free mail delivery by the Post Office Department was commenced, that William Whitten, then city engineer, submitted a plan to the council assigning numbers to houses and store buildings. With few changes, the numbering has remained the same as adopted at that time. How nice it would be if the same could be said of the names of streets, but alas, many of these have undergone sad changes! Gone are the Market, Water, Pearl, Day, Alexis, Baker, Sanger, Vistula and Division streets of yesterday.


The first directory credits South Bend with 9 churches while the one published 2 years later, lists 13. Glancing over the directory of 1938, we find 99 churches, accommodating the worshipers of South Bend: 79, Protestant; 4, Jewish; 2, Greek; and 14, Roman Catholic.


Our present Y.M.C.A. is the outgrowth of the Young Men’s Association about which comment is made in the first directory. The organization was instituted in 1866 and held meetings “for business and literary exercises every Wednesday evening and religious meetings on alternate Sundays in their [Y.M.C.A.] rooms at the north-east corner of Main and Washington Streets.” The Association also had a reading room in connection with the organization, and boasted a president, vice-president, corresponding and recording secretaries and a treasurer.


South Bend’s efficient school system was started before 1867, but at that time a Mr. [George] Sumption was the school examiner and we read: “The city enjoys a wide reputation for the excellence of her educational institutions and is second to no city in the West in the interest taken in all matters pertaining to the education and proper training of her children. There are four large public schools in the city, three of them being of brick, and will accommodate about 400 scholars each.” Today there are about 5,000 pupils enrolled in parochial and over 16,000 in the public schools.


The Northern Indiana [Normal] College, established in 1866, held forth at that time in a “fine brick edifice, capable of accommodating a large number of pupils.” An advertisement reads: “Northern Indiana College, for Male and Female. West end of Washington Street. Faculty, D. Holmes, president assisted by five department teacher.” The calendar year was divided into two sessions of 20 weeks each and the expenses listed as follows:


Board in the college building with the use of room, per week $3.00; light and fuel will be charged extra but in no case to exceed $1.00 per week. Washing, $.60 a dozen; janitor’s fees per term, $1.00 payable when the name is enrolled. Each student is expected to furnish 1/2 the bedding for one bed except the straw mattress.


Notre Dame and its sister institution, St. Mary’s, were flourishing even in 1867. The directory says:


In the year 1836, the Rev. S.T. Badin, of venerable memory, while traveling through the northern section of the state of Indiana, visited the spot now known by the name of Notre Dame but then lying unnoticed in its native forest wilderness and beauty. Struck by its loveliness, or to speak more correctly, influenced by that Providence which directs the most apparently unimportant events for the accomplishment of its own eternal designs, Father Badin resolved at once to secure this place to the church as the site of a future college. This resolution he executed. Not long after it passed into the hands of Father Sorin, priest of the congregation of Holy Cross who, with a few brothers of the same order had come to America. They took possession of it in 1842.


undThe University was incorporated in 1844 and enlarged in 1866. The announcement of 1867 says that “board, bed and bedding, tuition (Latin and Greek included) washing and mending of linen, doctor’s fees, medicine and attendance in sickness” were all to be had at Notre Dame for 5 months for $152.50. Each students was required to bring with him the following, which certainly is not the list a modern college boy would make out: 6 shirts, 6 pocket handkerchiefs; 6 pairs of stockings; 6 towels; 6 napkins; 3 pairs of boots or shoes; 2 suits of clothes for winter and 2 suits of clothes for summer; 1 overcoat with shawl; 1 hat; 1 cap; 1 table knife; 1 fork; 1 teaspoon; 1 tablespoon; and 1 comb and brush.


One of the outstanding features of the University was a new telescope which had been acquired recently and which had inscribed upon it in French: “Presented by His Imperial Majesty Emperor Napoleon II to the Catholic University of Notre Dame du lac, Indiana, United States.” It was valued at about 25,000 francs and “is claimed to have far greater powers than other instruments of the same size.”


South Bend boasted a business college even in that early day for Mr. Sumption, the school examiner, in conjunction with a Mr. Adams conducted a Spencerian Commercial College in the St. Joe block. That was the day of fancy writing, elegant with its many curves and flourishes. Many a person can remember laboring over the intricacies of a Spencerian copybook.


Just as a present directory lists the names of the city and county officials, so we find them listed in the first directory, that of 1867: William G. George, Mayor (South Bend’s first); Jacob Hustor, Marshall; Joe Hagerty, Clerk; Joseph B. Eaker, Treasurer; Matthias Stover, Engineer; Joe Hartman, Street Commissioner. The city council was composed of the following members: John Klingel, Seth Myers, Thomas Stanfield, David Stover, Alanson Merritt, Wilkinson DeFrees, Andrew Russwurm, and S. Perry. John Brownfield is listed as chief engineer of the fire department with Nathan Marsh and William Mack as his assistants. It is interesting to note that no mention is made of a police department, though among the names in the directory, however, that of Alexis Theodore Coquillard is given as chief of police. The sheriff and marshall were evidently able to cope with any law breakers to be found in the peaceful little city.


IMG_218The manufacturers of South Bend of 1867 are described as being almost in their infancy and yet the flour mills did a business of approximately $560,000 in a year. In that year Studebaker Brothers had an “extensive works located in the city for the manufacture of every variety of carriage, buggy and farm wagon.” They did “an immense business and employed several hundred hands.” The present Oliver Farm Equipment Company was then Oliver, Bissel and Company, the firm made up of T.M. Bissel, George Milburn and James Oliver. The factory was located on the mill race between Market and Michigan Streets.


Very few places listed in the directory of 1867 are still doing business under the same name. One of the few is the McDonald Studio which did a flourishing business even back in 1867. At that time, it was located in the Barrett Building and was conducted by Albert McDonald, who, in the directory says, “does a very satisfactory work for the obvious reason that he always secures a good negative of a person before printing cards, vignettes or other pictures and thereby secures accurate likenesses whereas we believe it to be the common practice with second rate artists to take just one negative and print the picture from it be it good or not.” Mr. McDonald had for his motto the word “Excelsior.”


George Wyman and Company, and the Ellsworth store, then owned by John Chess, grandfather of J.C. Ellsworth, are still two of South Bend’s big business houses but Klingel’s shoe store and Livingston’s clothing store closed their doors with the last few years as did the Coonley drug store which for many years occupied the south-west corner of Michigan and Washington streets. Of this drug store the 1867 directory says that it had a “fine marble soda fountain all silver mounted.”


The younger generation of today may think of soda water as a rather modern, 20th century concoction but our grandmothers regaled themselves with this favorite drink. A Mr. Hume kept an “ice cream saloon” in that day and he advertised “separate rooms for ladies and gentlemen.” Now what fund could there have been going to an ice cream parlor in those days? Did a young man leave his “sweetie” at the door and meet her there again after she had refreshed herself in solitude? Just how does anyone suppose Mr. Hume managed to keep all customers satisfied with his “separate rooms for ladies and gentlemen?”


The diction in some of the advertisements seems odd and stilted to us today. Here is one which reads: “J.A.M. LaPierre has disposed of his candy factory to O.H. Palmer, who prosecutes the business at 57 Michigan St.” The barber shops were all spoken of as tonsorial parlors presided over by tonsorial artists. An advertisement of a music teacher reads: “In the vocal department I call special attention to the cultivation of the voice.” A photographer advertised that “all those wishing to secure the shadow ‘ere the substance fade’” should call on him and he will do his best “to give them a picture that they will find hard to beat for truthfulness and artistic finish.”


J.C. Knoblock, father of the late Otto Knoblock who did so much toward preserving local history, kept a grocery store in 1867, so the directory that year says that “all those seeking choice groceries, flour, etc., should call on our friend J.C. Knoblock on Washington St. To our certain knowledge this house occupies the front rank in the grocery business and this their sales will testify.”


What does the “etc.” stand for in the expression “choice groceries, flour, etc.”? The classified part of the directory indicates just what goods were sold at a grocery store in 1867. Evidently J.C. Knoblock was not “an old fogy merchant” referred to in the introduction for his store was listed under all of these headings: “Ammunition and sporting goods; ” “Bakers;” “Brushes;” “Children’s carriages;” “china, glass and Queens ware;” “Cigars and tobacco;” “Commission merchants;” “Confectioners;” “Cutlery;” “Earthen and stoneware;” whatever one would want!


Many of the headings in the classified section of that first directory which seems odd to us today. Here are a few noticed: Axes, Balances, Bar and Rod iron, Basket stores, Bathing Rooms, Bellows, Blacksmith Shops, Brittania-ware, Buckskin Goods.


How strange some of the classified headings in the present directory would have seemed to the makers of the first one.

Holland’s City Directory of South Bend and Mishawaka, volume II, published in 1869, numbered 204 pages and the population had grown to 10,200. The next 6 directories for the years 1871 to 1880 were gotten out by Mr. T.G. Turner. He was one of the city’s early lawyers. He was considered both brilliant and shrewd. After reading his remarks in the various directories that he published, it is safe to say that he was also very sarcastic.

The 1871 City Directory

He began the Historical and Business Review of 1871 with:


Were any apology necessary for the publication of this volume, it would be found in this: two directories of South Bend have hitherto been compiled and circulated by persons from abroad, neither of which has proved satisfactory to those most interested. Recognizing the fact that the interests of our growing city demand an accurate and reliable directory, we have listened to the oft repeated desires of many of our best citizens and now submit the results of our labors to the consideration of the public. The necessity for a new and correct directory is best proved by the fact that the corrections, alterations and additions, viewed in reference to Holland’s publications, exceed 1,500. This in a city the size of ours, is sufficient to establish the worthlessness of the old publications even if it fails to prove the value of this.


A street directory was compiled which begins on page 145 of the volume of 1871. The author says the street names were “from Smith’s new map (now in the press)”. There were at that time quite a number of streets-a four-page list. The array contained many short ones, whose names are now unknown. The preceding directory had listed only 54 streets. Evidently these are some of the 1,500 errors to which Mr. Tuner referred. He further said:


In effecting this compilation we have to acknowledge the assistance of several of our best citizens, who have made a careful canvass of the city and the kind cooperation of all, especially of our business men and those who are using their best efforts to advance public interests. Fortunately we have in our midst but few of those public leeches who desire to grow rich upon the generous efforts of others–who stand idly by in the hope to ‘reap where they have not strewn.’ This class of parasites has never been large in South Bend, has always been despised, and is constantly diminishing in numbers, influence and successful swindling. We could name them all in a brief space, but we do not wish to encumber our pages with further allusions to such trash. The mutations of life, the resistless course of enterprise aided by the ‘sickle of the great reaper’ will soon effectively dispose of them all and their fossilized remains and their names will be equally forgotten.


It must have been the fashion in those days to “take a crack” at all who failed to enter heart and soul into the new directory scheme.


Each year, Mr. Tuner also published a paper bound pamphlet, called Turner’s South Bend Annual. It gave a survey of the town for the year just passed and contained interesting historical data. In the backs of the directories which he published, Mr. Turner often quoted from these annuals. In the 1871 directory, he gave a survey of business for 1870 as it appeared in the annual:


The industrial condition of the city taken from the official census is presented thus:


Capital invested………………………………………………………$1,508,525
Number of hands employed……………………………………… 1,344
Wages paid per annum…………………………………………….. 698,758
Production for the year…………………………………………… 2,493,910
Wages paid operatives per week……………………………….. 13,400
Average wage to hand per year………………………………… 520


With such an array of workers and with such results who can wonder that South Bend has distanced all competitors in the St. Joseph Valley or in northern Indiana?


An interesting advertisement in the issue of 1871 was for a patent peat cutting machine invented by Herman Mielisch and manufactured by Mielisch and Rilling of South Bend. The manufacturers of these machines were using several of them at their peat fields near South Bend and all interest were urged to come and see the machine in operation. According to the advertisement, 1,600 had been sold in Europe. Mr. Turner added his comments to the advertisement:


Mielisch and Rilling have commenced the manufacture of a superior peat machine, the invention of Mr. Mielisch, and have also begun, vigorously, to make peat from the great fuel reservoir of the Kankakee. If not destroyed by the great bogus drainage humbug and manifest swindle now sitting like an incubus on northern Indiana, they were greatly benefit the public and work out a fortune for themselves.


It is very interesting for us to remember that after years of labor in draining the Kankakee swamp, the conservation department and the Isaac Walton League are now contemplating restoring the swamp as a bird refuge. Evidently Mr. Tuner was not so far wrong after all when he said the drainage of this swamp was a ‘bogus humbug.’


In 1871 the manufacture of wagons and carriages is given as the leading industry of South Bend, Studebakers doing about $500,000 worth of business in a year, while the business of the Coquillard Wagon Works aggregated $150,000. The Coquillard Works led in the manufacture of sleighs and sleds. Now and then a city family owned a horse and buggy but the ones who did not, or who wanted to drive out in a “hired one” could be accommodated, according to an advertisement by David Winter who “accommodates the public with a splendid new hack.”


Mrs. Nellie Pine, a Clairvoyant Physician carried quite an impressive advertisement in the directory for 1871. She requested “that those who are afflicted with disease send a lock of their hair, their photograph or autograph, give age and on receipt of this information, she will examine their case, describe symptoms and diseases and state whether she can help or cure.” She claimed to have had 12 years of practice, 5 of them in South Bend. “Examination in the office $1.00. Examination by mail and stamp $2.00.” Two things are plainly evident. One is that the early settlers were very gullible or they would not have supported a “Clairvoyant Physician” for 5 years. The other, postage must have been high in those days, or else she charged for the mental energy used in the “examination by mail” for it cost one dollar more than the examination in the office.


Something must have gone wrong with the Hoosier Fly Catcher, advertised in the same directory, for there still are plenty of flies in Indiana:


The Hoosier Fly Catcher. It catches them in…The flies like it. No more trouble with flies. This invention was made after studying closely for years the habits of the pestiferous house-fly and is offered to the public with the perfect assurance that it will accomplish all that it is claimed for it.

The 1873-1874 City Directory

The introduction to the directory of 1873 begins like this:


Had a directory been issued 46 years ago, the whole thing would have read about as follows: “A. Coquillard, Indian trader, west bank St. Joe River.’ Even in 1850 any school boy would have laughed at the thought that he did not know the face, name and residence of every person in the corporation. Not so now, however, when a full population of nearly 13,000 makes this directory become a necessity.


In 1874, Mr. Turner declared that “the footprints of improvement and progress are all around us.” In spite of the fact that the financial storm of 1873 burst upon the country “scattering industrial debris in every direction,” and suddenly ruining thousands of the well to do and severely crippling many of the towns and cities, amid the disaster “South Bend stood more firm and undisturbed than most of her compeers.” It never pays to boast, however, as the forces of the storm struck South Bend a little later.


“The Pleiades Club, a literary institution composed of some of our most intelligent and aspiring young people of both sexes, has become defunct,” wrote Turner, “chiefly on account of the marriage and dispersion of most of its members. It had a brilliant and useful career and although dead will not soon be forgotten. The Women’s Literary Club, instituted within the past year, has already become a power and a blessing in the intellectual circles.” Then Mr. Turner added, with characteristic irony, that “perhaps some day, the men in our city, with their giant intellects and proud preeminence, may unitedly attempt some sort of a mental advance.”

The 1875 City Directory

Under the heading “Schools,” the 1875 directory reports:


The recess question has bothered the people for the past year. It is now to be finally disposed of. The preposterous idea of keeping young children in a close room for three hours continuously, we think, is about ‘played out.’ At any rate it ought to be. The experience of mankind should have some weight in the present, although it may appear ‘old foggy.’


The following statistics were given:


Whole number enrolled for the year……………………………1,460
Number of sittings……………………………………………………1,575
Number of visits………………………………………………………2,701
Number who attended from 1 to 8 months………………………996
Number who attended less than 1 month………………………..101
Total enumeration for whites…………………………………….3,235
Total enumeration for colored……………………………………….30
Total 3,265

The 1876 City Directory

In the preface to the 1876 directory, Mr. Turner said: “With best regards for our patrons and a well matured hope that the worst of these cruel times is over, we leave our work in the hands of a generous public to whom it is respectfully dedicated.”


The depression had struck South Bend for the “Business Review” at the front of this directory began in this way:


It is hard to write of doubts and uncertainties, of reverses and bankruptcies. Yet this year as never before, South Bend withstood the financial storm as very few other places did, but at length the cirocco struck her with unparalleled force and crushed several industries in a moment. Men propose but a higher power disposes. It is useless to say that South Bend has not received a shock. She has-Men out of employment. Capital unproductive and in some cases gone to the winds. This is the dark side. The tone of most kinds of trade has been and is vigorous and hopeful, although the volume has been slightly decreased.


In 1876, South Bend had 96 brick business houses, three substantial bridges across the river, one of them being made of iron, 16 churches, and six “elegant” public schools. The foreign population , which now numbers 29,051 born of foreign parents and 14,020 foreign born, was then small. Mr. Turner says: “By employing an intelligent polander [sic] to canvass certain localities we have been able to include a large number of names never before printed in a South Bend directory and to get them substantially correct.”

The 1877 City Directory

The “Introduction” to the 1877 directory might have been written in a more recent year:


For four long, dreary years our country has languished under such financial and industrial reverses as seldom overtake a people. During all these years the relation of capital and labor has vacillated from the horrid kind of sympathy which springs from mutual prostration to that senseless and useless antagonism which is suicidal to both. The sun of our national prosperity which shone so long with resplendent lustre, has been sadly darkened by mysterious spots and thick clouds have cast their shadows over places that were formerly bright.


The year 1877 was in the midst of the depression that followed the Panic of 1873.


Evidently temperance workers of the Carrie Nation type were busy in 1873, for in the classified section of this directory, under the heading “Liquors,” this occurs:


The “red ribbon” tornado struck our city last spring and made it lively for a while both for the tipplers and venders of the ardent. Many suddenly abandoned their habits of inebrity and have faithfully adhered to their resolutions. Undoubtedly less liquor is consumed in our city than before the awakening referred to, but enough is even now used to give support to over thirty saloons and drinking places. The injury done to the cause of temperance by the “Crusaders” has been repaired and a small stock of goods left over. It has been found that not every man who sells liquor is a scoundrel nor every reformed drunkard a saint.


Mr. J.C. Knoblock, who it will be remembered did such extensive advertising in the very first directory, had a most unusual advertising scheme in that for 1877. The names in the directory being arranged alphabetically, he arranged to have the first line after each letter, used to advertise his store. The A’s begin with “All hail the Knoblock grocery store.” The B’s with, “Buy your groceries at J.C. Knoblock grocery store.”-and so on through the alphabet.

The 1879 City Directory

The economic depression continued. In fact it hit South Bend so hard that no directory was issued in 1878, and the one for 1879 is th smallest of the entire collection. The upgrade, however, was near. The “Historical Business Review” introducing the 1879 directory, includes the following:


After a long and dreary night, who does not hail with delight the first faint gleams of light which betoken the opening day? Very similar are the emotions universally felt as the dawn of prosperity dispels the shadows which have for years enveloped our industrial affairs in darkness and gloom.


The question so long and so often asked, “Watchmen, what of the night?” has ceased to be appropriate, for the day is here. To moralize upon the distress of the past; to keep alive the memories of departed horrors; to drink again from the challice whence our lips have drawn so many bitter draughts; or even to pride ourselves with the fortitude with which we have met and overcome misfortunes, would now be a waste of effort when the cause of grief no longer exists. That we have suffered long and terribly cannot be denied; but there is compensation in the thought that we have only felt the just penalty of broken laws.


Three disastrous fires struck South Bend in 1878, but by the time the 1879 directory was issued, the damage had been more than repaired. The St. Joseph Hotel block burned on Christmas Eve but as the Oliver House it became “more substantial, imposing and useful as ever.” The Keedy Flouring Mills also burned but were rebuilt almost immediately. On April 23, the main edifice of Notre Dame and some of the smaller college buildings were burned to the ground. The ashes were hardly cold before the reconstruction was commenced, resulting in Notre Dame University as we know it today.


Mr. Turner was not fully satisfied with the public school system of 1879, judging from his remarks:


The condition of our public schools is excellent according to popular view, that is to say, the machinery works well, with plenty of funds and all which that implies, which is most ingenious, the machine into which you put a whole hog and turn out sausages or that which by the turn of a crank, as it were, ejects what are called scholars. The conundrum has not yet been answered. In our city, an able Board of Trustees are extracting all the good there is in the system. In this they are seconded by a competent force of teachers and by a public sentiment which needs enlightenment.


The advertisements in the 1879 directory are few and small. Mr. Knoblock however, continued to run his slogans at the beginning of each letter of the alphabet. The New England Tea and Grocery House gave him a little opposition, it seems, for they advertised “Fine family groceries at bottom prices.”

The 1880 City Directory

In 1880, Mr. Turner found fault with the tree shaded streets of South Bend: “For the benefit of those whom it may concern…South Bend is one of the most thoroughly shaded cities in the country, indeed unless a pruning and thinning process is speedily resorted to, it will soon be not so much a forest city as a city in a forest.” He continued to be out of sorts with the school system. “The public schools,” he said, “are in a flourishing condition, viewed from the popular standpoint. As the system is one of almost absolute gratuities, we get, if anything, something for nothing. The annual enumeration of scholars gives 4,267 against 3,824 for 1879, an increase of 443. Of course natural causes would produce nothing like this. It is largely due to immigration.”


This directory records that several of the county roads leading to South Bend have been greatly benefited by graveling. Just think! Less than 60 years ago there were not only no pavements on the county roads, but gravel was just beginning to be used. Before that time, “vehicles were dragged through sand and mud to the detriment and disgust of all, especially the poor beasts,” a la Turner.


There is not much advertising in the 1880 directory and what there is, is confined to small space and terse statements. Here is an example: “George W. Reynolds’ new livery stables, 66 Jefferson near Lafayette. Splendid horses; elegant turnouts; neat buggies; new harness; no old plugs; fair prices; honest dealing and satisfaction.”

The 1881 City Directory

With this 1880 directory, Turner seems to have retired from the field. The directory for 1881 was issued by Hupp and Greene. They continue Mr. Turner’s numbering and call it volume VIII. The 1881 directory is of course the tenth directory of South Bend issued to that time, as there were two published by the Western Publishing Company of Chicago before the Turner series was started.


It is slightly smaller dimensions than its predecessors, but it boasts 246 pages, and many advertisements occupy a full page. Hupp and Greene continued on the same general plan as Turner and in the “Introduction” give a resume of South Bend and its business conditions. “It must be a matter of pride, ” say the editors, “to every citizen that a directory of this size can be made in South Bend. There is no better evidence of a city’s magnitude, enterprise and growth than a list of bona fide residents.” They evidently approved the school system, for they said:


South Bend’s pride does not center in her manufactures. There is too much here that is admirable and good and beneficial to mankind to allow any one department of industry and progress to absorb all our pride. We point with a felling akin to exultation to the educational institutions that raise their towering walls on every hand. The present flourishing condition of our Public Schools is such that every one even the most fastidious person must look upon them with pride.

The 1882 City Directory

The 1882 directory was issued by the Register Printing Company. Its resume notes many improvements in South Bend. Here are a few:


Vacant lots have been filled up with neat and in a number of instances handsome residences and hundreds of property owners have made substantial additions to their residences and beautified their premises. The principal public work of the year was the erection of an iron bridge across the river at Jefferson street and the recent order for numbering of the houses of the city in preparation for the free delivery of mails. Before the close of 1882 the city will have the Gamewell fire-alarm system in use.


Under the heading “Worthy Institutions,” we read:


Within the past few months there has been organized the Building and Loan Association of South Bend, Indiana. It is needless at this late day to descant upon the merits of Loan Associations. Tested by an experience of half a century in Philadelphia, they have spread through out the country and their beneficial influence is apparent in the fact that through their agency thousands of people have been enabled to procure homes.

The 1883 City Directory

The 1883 directory was the first one issued by William Farr. The Y.M.C.A., organized in March of the preceding year, advertises that it offers, “mental, physical and social attractions and religious meetings.” Frequent receptions and entertainments, lecture courses and educational classes were held. Free reading rooms and writing material were provided. Religious meetings were held on Sunday for everyone, on Monday night for boys, and on Wednesday for young men, with a Bible class on Saturday night. Quite a full program.

The 1884 City Directory

The editorial “Business Review” in the 1884 directory is very complete. Many of the advertisements are illustrated and the pictures of the high, button shoes for ladies, cause one to smile. They are not exactly in style today. This was the last of the small directories. With the year 1885, South Bend’s directories took on a citified look, the whole make-up being similar to those of today.


The advertisements continued to be interesting. One page was given over to the “Andrews folding bed.” The directory says that “it is the only perfect folding bed on the market. Closed it resembles an organ; with the front section, down, behold it is a wonderful bed.” No mention is made, however, of what became of the ink bottle when the bed was opened. “A fine point about this piece of furniture,” declared the merchant, ‘is that it occupies only ¼ the space of a clumsy common bed and when moving or in case of fire, both bed and bedding can be easily and instantly rolled out of the room.”


The 1884 directory also contains an advertisements for patent sliding blinds that were the cheapest and best and not so apt to get out of order as the old fashioned folding blinds. Outdoor advertising was coming into style in 1885 for this directory listed “Bill posters” for the first time in the classified business section. Here are a few other headings that attract attention: “Aurists,” “Costumiers,” “Dress and Cloak Makers,” “Oil Dealers (illuminating) and Well Sinkers.”

The 1886-1887 City Directory

The directory of 1886-1887 is very similar to the one of 1885. Volume XIV, issued in 1889, gave South Bend a population of 25,000. It also stated that there were 7 public schools and a high school which boasted a principal and 3 assistants. And so we begin on the years of the gay nineties.


Mr. Farr continued to edit the directories, but from 1891 on they were printed by the Hibberd Printing Company. Mr. Farr’s last issue, the one of the 1898, is a most pretentious book. It numbers 700 pages and is the first attempt at issuing a complete county directory. Besides listing the names of the residents of South Bend and each of the smaller towns in the county, every township is taken up. Consider Liberty township, for example, with “Smith, John fr 40 A jd w Susan P.O. North Liberty.” Interpreted this entry means John Smith, farmer, owns 40 acres of land in joint deed with his wife Susan and their mail address is North Liberty. No free rural delivery at that time.

The 1899 City Directory

In 1899, the Hibberd Company took over the editing as well as the publishing of local directories. The first one is very complete. It is a directory of both South Bend and the remainder of St. Joseph County. It lists officials of the city, township, county and state; names the schools and all the teachers; and is the first one to contain a street directory giving streets, numbers and the names of those residing at any given number. It also is the first directory to list, in its information about the city, the name of the Public Library which had been established in 1888 and had occupied its own building since 1895. This directory is also the first to have pictures of the following: the St. Joseph County Court House; the Public Library; the Oliver Chilled Plow Works; the Birdsell Manufacturing Company; the Epworth Hospital; and the Studebaker factory.

The 20th Century Directories

As the twentieth century began, there seems to have been a little feeling between two rival printing companies, each thinking they could get out a better directory than the other. The result was that for each of the years 1901, 1904, 1906, South Bend was blessed with two directories. The Hibberd Printing Company bound its directory in red while the Tribune Printing Company resorted to blue. They were referred to, respectively, as “The Red Book” and “The Blue Book.”


“The Blue Book” gives just South Bend and Mishawaka, and, in an “Introduction,” says: “It will be well to remember that the ‘Blue Book’ was and always has been the first to introduce the new and up-to-date features of the directory field. This year an * is placed after each residence in the street directory, which has telephone connections and as soon as any other new ideas appear, this book will have the preference.” The “Red Book” says in the “Introduction”: “Bear in mind the Hibberd is the only complete directory of the entire county. It is bound in RED.”


A street and person directory of Mishawaka is included in all the directories from 1900 to date. This is as it should be, for Mishawaka adjoins South Bend so closely that one cannot discern the dividing line between the two cities. A special feature of the 1908 directory gives the “location, kind of phone and number of all parties over 14 years whom it is possible to reach by phone.” During the early 1900s, two telephone companies were in competition in South Bend as in many other cities. The Home Company (Citizens’ Company in many cities) and the Bell Company fought a hard fight but the Bell Corporation won. During the warfare between local organizations and the Bell System, two phones were maintained in many homes and business places. Especially were both necessary in the offices of merchants and professional men in many cities of the country.


In the front of the “The Red Book” of 1908 is a bibliography of all preceding South Bend directories; beginning with Holland’s publication of 1867. It is amusing to see that those issued by the Tribune Printing Company, and known as “The Blue Book,” are listed as “volumes 23-1/2, 25-1/2 and 27-1/2,” at least a more charitable way of handling them than that of ignoring them completely as Mr. Turner had ignored the first two directories issued by the Western Publishing Company of Chicago.


During the years 1917 and 1918, no directories were issued in South Bend. In 1919, R.L. Polk and Company presented their first edition of the “South Bend and Mishawaka Directory,” having acquired the right to publish by agreement with Mr. John Hibberd, owner of the Hibberd Directory Company. The 1919 directory lists the electric street railways and the interurban lines. Today street cars are being replaced by buses and all of the interurban lines, except for the one to Chicago, have been discontinued. This is the age of the automobile. Items of interest in this directory include names, location, and a few facts about: 14 public parks; 8 playgrounds; 24 clubs and societies; 64 office buildings and flats; 10 fire stations; 161 fire alarm boxes; and the 7 wards into which the city was divided at the time. Since 1919, all of the South Bend directories have been issued by the efficient firm of R.L. Polk.


The directories of the city from 1867 to date constitute a little historical library in themselves. They show how South Bend has grown from a trading post in the wilderness to an industrial city with products known all over the world. In closing, Mr. Turner’s remarks at the end of the “Introduction” to the 1880 directory must be quoted: “And thus ends our gossiping and we launch our little craft on the waters of public favor and pray for pleasant gales and a smooth sea.”

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