Is South Bend a Prosperous College Town or a Struggling Rust Belt City?

Two very different perceptions have taken hold of the place Pete Buttigieg has made a centerpiece of his campaign.

Comments: 125

  1. I will be voting for Mayor Pete. I looked into most candidates" policies. My views are aligned with Mayor Pete. I believe he is the only candidate who is calm, sane and smart. We will be very proud of him as President Pete

  2. @Brooklyn T., Calm, sane and smart are nice but competent is even better. Mayor Pete hasn’t covered himself in glory addressing South Bend’s problems. His mishandling of race relations suggests he’s an empty suit. A fancy resume that’s painfully short of actual accomplishments that matter to his constituents.

  3. @Chris I disagree. He's done a lot to address a lot of South Bend's problems; the contrast between the city before and the city after his tenure is striking. I do not think he has "mishandled" race relations; race relations in South Bend are poor, as they are in a lot of towns. I'm one of his constituents and I regard his accomplishments very highly.

  4. @Chris How should he have handled a 360 concentrated attack to label him as having mishandled race relations? What would you have done?

  5. I came to Notre Dame in the 80s as a foreign grad student and the dichotomy was evident then. There wasn't much of a downtown and if we wanted to experience a real city we'd go to Chicago. That being said, it still had a pretty good symphony orchestra and other "Big City" features as all three major networks having stations. There were a few old line factories such as the Bendix brake plant, but it was definitely a town in decline. What struck me as a newcomer was the overall friendliness and welcoming nature of the people.

  6. As a mid-westerner who grew up in a town similar to South Bend, but significantly larger (Population of 147,000 compared to 102,000), I find Buttigeig's effrontery hilarious. In my hometown, there were people with Buttigeig's academic credentials (no Rhodes Scholars, but plenty of Ivy Leaguers and Ph.Ds) and we would have been laughing our heads off to think that after one term running our town they felt qualified to lead our country.

  7. @MJ Buttigieg actually was mayor for two terms.

  8. @MJ And what are/were Donald Trump's qualifications? Six bankruptcies; uncounted frauds (Trump University, Trump Foundation; multiple credible accusations of sexual assault; payments of hush money...? I'd take Pete in a heartbeat.

  9. @MJ Actually he was mayor terms. he got 80%of the votes for 2nd term

  10. I attended Notre Dame as a graduate student in the 1980s. I lived in a house in downtown South Bend. The city was challenged since the industrial infrastructure was in decline and there were no replacements stepping up. At that time, Notre Dame kept its distance from the urban problems of South Bend. But we had some successes: I organized a writers group that performed weekly in downtown South Bend, drawing across the city’s strata and from the Notre Dame community. South Bend is not Ann Arbor, but Mayor Pete is right to claim that he wrestled with many of the urban issues that confront other urban communities. South Bend is not Notre Dame, but South Bend is better because of the proximity to the Notre Dame campus that allows for contributions to its urban profile.

  11. The answer is ‘yes’. ND Class of ‘71.

  12. I lived in South Bend from 1981 to 1985, while teaching in the Philosophy department at Notre Dame. We bought an old house not far from the southwest corner of the Notre Dame campus. South Bend at that time was much as you have described it today: economically marginal, facing (now long ago) collapse of traditional industries like Studebaker and metal fabrication plants, and almost hermetically sealed off from Notre Dame, whose power and wealth was bitterly resented by many townsfolk. We were lucky, living in a very decent neighborhood between the university and the river. Our house was dirt cheap (a mixed blessing when it came to re-selling it in 1985, which took over a year to complete), and very livable. But it was obvious then that SB was not a happy town. Gun violence was shocking to me (I had just come from eight years living in the UK as a grad student), local politics, outside University circles, was appalling and so on, and so on. So far as I can tell from repeated visits there since I left in 1985, virtually nothing has changed. I wish Mayor Pete all the best, but improving the economic life of South Bend is a monumental task with very little base to work from. There are lots of good things in and around South Bend (Michigan blue berries, for example; Warren Woods), but generally only available if you have excess income.

  13. @Richard McClelland : "... but generally only available if you have excess income." If you live in the United States, that would describe a decent life.

  14. @Richard McClelland you really ought to read Eileen Sorells' post above if you sincerely want to know what’s changed in the 35 years since you lived there.

  15. “I grew up knowing I’m not going to Notre Dame — that’s definitely not going to happen — and that’s the case for most kids in South Bend,” Why was he so sure he wouldn't be going to Notre Dame? We're not talking about Harvard. Is it financial? This fellow went to Indiana University so he was college material. Why would Notre Dame seem so unattainable?

  16. @Jack Toner I'm going to guess financial. A quick search shows in-state tuition at IU is $10,388 per year whereas it's $49,685 per year at Notre Dame. I'd say that difference is enough to close the door on many, many people.

  17. @Jack Toner It is a top 20 university that has an 18% acceptance rate, with an average ACT of 33-35 and SAT of 1410-1530. So not the easiest place to get into. It is also very expensive as you mention. There are probably also cultural issues that some may have with the school, as the college is Catholic and relatively conservative and homogenous compared to most state schools or many private colleges. I am not shocked that someone would say “I am not going to Notre Dame” when I get older.

  18. @Jack Toner As a lifetime resident of Indiana, not every child desires to go to a Catholic university. That’s all. Also, ND doesn’t have a high percentage of in-state students compared to Purdue and IU. It’s a lot less expensive to go to the Big Ten.

  19. It really shouldn't matter whether South Bend is one kind of town, or another. A candidate whose experience is from a limited time in municipal-level government has no qualification for the presidency, let alone an advantage when weighed against senators and even a former Vice President. Trump has lowered the bar substantially, with his lack of any qualification for office. I am a 29 y.o. white gay millennial man who initially supported Buttigieg because of his story and what I thought were his liberal policy views. He lost my support because he took months to move from slogans to actually policy documents. When he did, he tacked hard to the right. I had misjudged what he stands for and what he hopes to accomplish in politics. It has been disheartening to see how he has struggled to gain the support of African American voters. His decisions in South Bend do not seem to have improved things for minorities, from policing to home ownership. His Douglas Plan for African Americans always hits my ear as an echo of Trump's statement that suggested he thought Frederick Douglas was still living. Is he unable to name it after someone or some event that happened in the past 50-100 years? He does know there are more leaders than just MLK and Douglas, right? Instead, I now support Senator Elizabeth Warren who has based her campaign on many specific policy proposals which are to the left and match my own views and values, especially on taxes, education, and healthcare. It's time for Liz!

  20. @Michel When people characterize Buttigieg’s policies as “hard to the right” it’s tough to believe they have actually read his policy proposals.

  21. @J Exactly. havind read all his policies, I disregard any comment that starts with "his policies are right wing". It's not complicated to be to the right to Bernie's and Warren's pipe dreams. Especially when you actually plan to govern and get things done.

  22. Why does South Bend appear 'illegible' to folks on the coasts? In part because major newspapers represent it as a troubled town in a red flyover zone, and in part because there is little effort in Washington or in the news media to represent the voices and perspectives of midwesterners. A citizen of South Bend since 2001, I can see its growth and improvement clearly, palpably, every day as I drive, walk, or run around town or the ND campus. It's not perfect, but nowhere on Earth is. It's absolutely clear to me, and his bipartisan support base in this community, that Mayor Pete's humble yet hopeful leadership style has made a tremendous difference for the revival of this rustbelt city and the wider urban area known as Michiana, helping to turn things around since the devastation of the economic recession. Folks on the coasts, and in Washington, should take notice: come visit, take a look for yourself, don't just trust the photos of abandoned buildings supplied here. Perhaps the Times should come back and look again too.

  23. Nothing Mayor Pete says is truly on-the-level. South Bend is a mess and he did little to fix it. His job in Afghanistan was definitely REMF, and his business expertise was as a low level gofer at a company, McKinsey, with serious ethical problems. The most interesting thing about Pete is his sexuality, but even there he hasn't much interesting to say. He ought to run for Governor before taking on the White House. If he could pass through Indiana's political morass he just might get elected nationally, say in 2028. Right now he's green apples.

  24. @Zarathustra And Warren, Biden, and Sanders are old, dried up apples. We don’t need an octagenarian president. Which two of them would be.

  25. @Zarathustra I'd beg to differ that he hasn't done anything for South Bend. He made a concerted effort to make downtown a good place to go to, both as a consumer and as a business person. My brother runs a bean-to-bar artisanal chocolate company, and the changes Pete made have fostered an environment where these kinds of businesses can flourish. When I was younger, downtown was really run down. Now, there are a whole host of restaurants and art installations. Its a place people actually go on their night off. While I enjoyed reading this article, I do wish it would have touched on the burgeoning foodie scene in the city. Many of the people I know run small craft businesses, restaurants and breweries with more modern - not to mention interesting - perspectives on food and drink. I say this as someone who has lived in big cities and traveled extensively.

  26. @nickdastardly Mayor Pete is pretty fit and so is Senator Warren. And after all of this he'll probably get a book deal like Senator Sanders so he can't complain about other candidates being richer than he.

  27. Just like the country it is an area with mostly poor people and a few rich people.

  28. Grew up in South Bend in the 60's. Red-lined, Black people lived in one area. Downtown was not diverse. Then it went downhill, but since Pete took over, people who still live there that I know rave about what he's done for the city. Well-off white people rave. This was a shallow article, it seems instead of a silly word thing, you could have sent some people to South Bend and talked to the people there.

  29. @Theresa Bella I went to South Bend for the first time in five years this past September. I spent less time engaging myself with family and spent more time engaging myself with the locals and the city. Among the locals I engaged myself with were Jennifer Montgomery and Julie Chimer. (Our paths just happened to have crossed in a serendipitous way.) It has been no less than 30 years since I last visited the farmers market. Talk to the people there, that I sure did.

  30. Well, it's not as simple as that. I've had to sit and listen to well off white friends complain endlessly about Pete. From previous administrations, there was significant support for the preservation of historical neighborhoods, like Chapin Park, which are overwhelmingly white and middle class - a lot of ND faculty. Now they can't get their calls returned, because development funds are either getting focused on downtown as a shared space for the whole city, or on the minority neighborhoods (including the 1000 houses project, which has long since blown past the 1000 house goal). Of course I'm pleased that architectural jewels like Chapin Park were saved, when so many similar neighborhoods were torn down in the 60s and 70s. But it's not as if he's just served the rich. And friends of mine who work closely with the most needy communities (including those involved with Casa de Amistad) speak *very* highly of Pete.

  31. There are two reasons why some folks on the coasts might find South Bend ‘illegible.’ First, cultural snobbery—implicitly perpetuated by the Times in articles like this—reduces the city to a troubled town in a red Flyover zone. Second, the political marginalization (or open discrediting) of midwestern perspectives in American politics creates a vicious political circle in which promising young citizen-leaders like Buttigieg are reduced to the supposedly intractable problems of their home cities, rather than recognized for their actual and potential power to bring positive social and economic change to their communities and the nation as a whole.

  32. @Eileen Botting I can relate to both extremes you speak of in your first sentence. I lived in South Bend for the first 33 years of my life, having grown up on the west side. I have been a California resident for almost 33 years, currently as a college professor in the bay area. I have seen it all, I have heard it all. And unfortunately some of the snobbery I encountered here occurred within the past year while interacting with grassroots volunteers for the Pete4America campaign.

  33. Thanks, we all get it now. (Mayor) Pete is stretching his bona fides somewhat. What politician doesn’t? Harris on busing, Warren, the victim hydra and Bernie the lovable octogenarian commie. I wouldn’t vote for Pete but he’s a pretty smart man and is better on stage than the rest of the field. If you are going to take a shot at him have the decency to do it head on and not meander about some mental Venn diagram people may or may not have between Notre Dame and the city limits of South Bend and suggest that it somehow makes him disingenuous. Or maybe just simply ask the people you interviewed whether they thought he’d make a good president.

  34. New Haven CT. A college town or a some sort of other town?

  35. @Shamrock Some sort of other town in a lot of ways. Those of us who have ever lived there know even if we were attending the university at the time.

  36. Bottom Line here. I have not followed his campaign too much but he has to address the issues that Trump demagouged about issues of concern to middle America ie loss of blue collar jobs, immigration and wars. Targeted non onerous tariffs against the worst of slave labor countries taking American jobs not an insane trade war. A sane, fair, reasonable immigration policy not a xenophobic, bigoted one. Be against all wars (unless USA is attacked) not get involved in areas that are supporting your financial health like Trump is doing in Israel, Saudi Arabia and controlled by Putin. Last but not least, don't do the fatal mistake that Hillary did, run an identity/social engineering obsessed complain of interest only to big liberal states and be a neo con on other issues.

  37. FYI....Stores like Whole Foods and many of the major shopping areas are technically in Mishawaka and Granger. It is a separate municipality and therefore the taxes go to them and not to South Bend. The manufacturing losses hit Mishawaka, too...remember the Red Ball Jets sneakers of your childhood? Nevertheless, the entire area benefits from these businesses. Granger has diversity but is still largely white. The city of South Bend proper is extraordinarily more diverse. It is a pleasure now to go shopping, to the South Bend Cubs AAA team (thanks to businessman Andrew Berlin), to restaurants and see everyone. This was not the case when I grew up there in the 1960s and 70s. We had a thriving downtown then. The housing I grew up in was hastily put up after WWII for returning vets and families. Most of it needs to be replenished now. Mayor Pete worked hard at turning it around with technology, upgrading public areas and other new ideas. Mishawaka is doing the same. Notre Dame has stepped up tremendously and added more businesses nearby at a time when South Bend did not financially have the ability to do it. The area colleges have expanded as well as health care. Long term success like Pittsburgh means reinventing a city's identity and not leaving people behind.

  38. I think ex-Mayor Pete, whose very modest governmental experience was as mayor of tiny South Bend, Indiana, the 301st largest city in the US (!), is quite a stretch as far as qualifying for the Presidency goes. From earlier NYT articles it seems he should have spent more time in South Bend dealing with racial issues than hobnobbing with elite donors of Hollywood and Silicon Valley. And now it seems he should be playing closer attention to POC issues within his own campaign. While his being gay is a non-issue as far as many urban and Democratic voters are concerned, it may be a significant negative among non-urban and non-Democratic voters. An earlier NYT opinion piece on whether Pete is "gay enough" was too subtle for many; that he is gay at all, complete with husband, may be too much for many voters in fly-over land. If Pete could successfully run for House/Senate/governor that would bolster his political credentials and might make him a plausible candidate in a later run for President. I am a life-long Democrat and I sincerely hope the grown-ups in the party can take charge and find an electable candidate who will appeal to the large majority of American voters, especially those who felt their needs and concerns were ignored in 2016. Failure to do so will inevitably lead to another term for Trump.

  39. @Mon Ray You keep posting this identical comment again and again, on EVERY story about Pete. Numerous commentators, including myself, have tried to correct some of your statements, especially your absurd statement that "he should have spent more time in South Bend dealing with racial issues than hobnobbing with elite donors of Hollywood and Silicon Valley." I can only conclude that you are not making these statements in good faith, since you are unwilling actually to talk about them or defend them.

  40. Not a native but I am a 30-year resident of South Bend and a professional photographer, so I'm commenting solely on the photographic choices made in this article: You frame the question by asking a "prosperous" vs "rust belt" question but visually answered it by depicting overwhelmingly the latter half of that question. For the first time in my 30 years in South Bend there are multiple construction projects which aren't connected to Notre Dame or a hospital and we saw none of those. Nothing of the new buildings which have filled in a good deal of the old Studebaker factory land...I could go on but I'll end with one thought: The one photo of downtown was a back alley...what if someone did a story on your home but only photographed the alley?

  41. @Matt CashoreI I noticed that. I'm certain that's the alley behind South Bend Chocolate Factory next to that closed down College Football Hall of Fame. They could have shown the Century Center or the developments going in across the river.

  42. @Matt Cashore It is surprising to me that in all of the publicity recently about Mayor Pete and South Bend there has been no mention of the George Rickey (South Bend native) sculpture in downtown South Bend and the Mark diSuvero sculpture on the river dam triangle pedestal and the Philip Johnson designed Century Center and the Helmut Jahn designed bank/hotel complex. Some high class people have a presence SB, do they not?

  43. @Brian Gray would loved to have seen the new Howard Park or the area around Four Winds Field (The Cov), or he Oliver Plant next to the new Kroc Center pictured. Overall thought it was a more accurate representation of South Bend than other accounts I have read.

  44. I grew up in the suburbs of South Bend, got a degree at IU Bloomington, and then moved to California for a teaching job. Many of my friends and family still live in Michiana, and I always look forward to my trips back home to see them. South Bend is relatively diverse and full of great people, some of the friendliest I have ever met. The town has had a lot of hard luck over the last hundred years. Jobs are hard to find. There is very little wealth in the area, most people are working class, and real estate values are at the bottom of the barrel. I'm glad to hear that Notre Dame is interacting with the city now... it might as well have been another country when I was growing up. People like me who grew up in South Bend but leave for school tend to never come back. One thing I will give Pete Buttigieg credit for is that he did come back and tried to make things better. I also have a lot of respect for him coming out during his last mayoral election -- Indiana is not an easy place to be queer. I hope that his courage will inspire the young people of Michiana to be brave in ways that my generation often wasn't. All of that said, I will not be voting for Pete. His oratorical abilities and neoliberal resume will ensure a bright future in the Democratic Party. Instead, I will vote for a Socialist, because what working people like my friends in South Bend need (like everywhere else in the country) is quality education for their kids, and health care regardless of employment.

  45. @Ben In 1987 I received a scholarship to attend one of the most prestigious art and design colleges in the US—California Institute of the Arts (CalArts). And here I am 33 years later a college professor in the San Francisco area. Like you, I grew up in South Bend and left only to not return.

  46. @Ben Some of my college freshmen students think of me in part as detailed, organized and a guy who knows what he wants. Heck, I am a midwestern pragmatist, having been raised in a blue collar home and neighborhood. And South Bend, Indiana is my hometown. Does that make me part socialist also? You betcha.

  47. @Eileen Sorrels thank you for this! Emily Badger's article is, for a change for the NYT, not a hit on Pete, but it’s simplistic. During Pete’s tenure as mayor, he championed and led major initiatives that resulted in significant progress in moving South Bend from rusting infrastructure to economic revival. In those 8 years, did the city completely turn over the page of decades of decline? Of course not. The media needs to stop obsessing with everything still evolving in South Bend and step back to honor where Pete has led his city in a remarkably short period of time.

  48. @Mary Chasin I agree. This isn't nearly as bad as some stories, but it misses the inspirational and attitudinal changes Pete created. Instead of waiting for another Studebaker, as South Bend had for 50 years, Pete inspired people here to let go of that fantasy and move the place toward the new economy. Changing people's attitudes from thinking your city sucks to thinking it's improving is no small task. The concrete proof is that the population stopped declining for the first time. Growth is small, but it's going in the right direction for the first time in half a century. That cannot be under-sold. Pete should get much of the credit for the shift. Also, how could the reporter miss that the six-story Studebaker Assembly plant is no longer empty! That's where Pete held his campaign launch because it's the perfect symbol of transformation from the old to the new (tech firms there).

  49. @BOS And how did this article omit out the smart sewers? When faced with a $500 million upgrade to the sewers to meet EPA mandates, Pete worked with advanced technology to accomplish the same thing for $20 million. There are now more than 70 cities around the globe in various stages of doing the same thing that South Bend basically pioneered – with the help of some Notre Dame academics in a true town-gown partnership. Imagine the burden on taxpayers if they had done this the old way.

  50. Having spent 8 years in one college town (Ann Arbor), and having recently stayed at Notre Dame for business, I can say unequivocally that South Bend is definitely not a college town in any way you'd imagine. Mostly due to the reality that ND students appear to spend most of their time on the ND campus. Whereas in other towns (Ann Arbor) the campus and dorms are woven into the city, here the campus stands largely isolated. I did spend some time at another of ND's sports rivals - the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD. That campus is walled in, but is still in the heart of the city. Midshipmen enjoy Crabtown whenever they can.

  51. Two-and-a-half years ago, I moved to South Bend from Minneapolis-St. Paul. It was the first time I had lived in a "rust belt" city or (frankly) a thoroughly Midwestern town. This article resonates with my experience. On the one hand, I was stunned at the number of derelict buildings and vacant retail and industrial sites. I am an amateur photograph myself and have shared some of my own photos of this aspect of the city publicly ( They complement Evan Jenkin's photos well and it was a delight to see some of the very same features I, too, was drawn towards. On the other hand, when friends in town heard I was moving to South Bend, given the number of times someone told me, "Oh, it's SO much better than it used to be!" I thought this much be the city's official motto! There is a small-city restaurant scene of sorts. (I understand there really was not before.) Parks are getting some nice upgrades. (Google, for example: Howard Park South Bend.) There are a number of private-public partnerships. And some of those buildings I photographed even two years ago have been torn down for new construction. As a new resident, would I say that South Bend is a city definitely on the rise? Not exactly. But is the phrase "so much better than it used to be" true? Almost certainly and even getting better. How much of this is the responsibility of Mayor Pete and how much the more general effect of a rising economy is probably impossible to settle.

  52. @Jon It might be hard for you to tell, as you moved to South Bend only 2.5 years ago. For someone who has lived in the city for decades, it is EASY for me to tell how Pete's administration changed the trajectory of the city from negative to positive. Yes, there are still problems, like there are in every city. But overall it is better in so many ways, in day-to-day life, cultural events, environmentally, as well as the attitude of most residents. I never would have said it 10 years ago, but now I love South Bend.

  53. @Anne B I don't doubt it's better. I believe everyone who tells me what it used to be like with very specific examples. I do enjoy living in the city. I just don't know how to connect that improvement to a mayor's policies. Much like a president's policies, too much is often made of the impact of an executive on things like economic development. However, I will say this. He certainly seems to have put his back into it and encouraged a strong image of South Bend, which is important. What policy changes have you seen from Mayor Pete that you think made a big difference?

  54. @Jon I moved here 17 years ago for a job at ND. During my campus visit, my department chair kindly took me out for a drive around the city, so that I could get a sense of it. February is never the best time to see SB, but Michigan street downtown was looking particularly hopeless: deserted, with maybe two businesses open, the rest boarded up. My chair could see the dismay on my face, and then (in a goofy, touching gesture I've never forgotten) stopped the car to show me how many radio stations we could receive in South Bend! As if to say, this isn't a complete wasteland. 17 years later, the changes downtown are astonishing. They started before Pete, but he set in place the right policies (including Smart Streets) to keep them going in the right direction. And for those who dismiss this as "gentrification" - first, no one was displaced; this was about the filling in on acres of empty uninhabited land. And second, the downtown has become a "living room" for the *whole* city. At Artbeat last year, when all the streets are closed for a giant arts and food fair, I was delighted to see that less than half of the thousands of people wandering around the downtown were white. This is something that has benefited *all* communities here.

  55. As someone who has lived all over, but who has moved back every time I've left (since the age of 7) I have a few things I wanted to comment on about the article. First of all, the idea that Notre Dame is currently trying to integrate into the community with "mixed development" is a bit outlandish. They've been buying out all the properties in the surrounding areas, because the close proximity of million dollar condos to dirt poor neighborhoods has had a predictable outcome. The franchises in Eddy commons are really no different than franchises on any college campus, except perhaps that they include a handful of bars where violent incidents occasionally take place. When I first was accepted to the University of Notre Dame, we had to live on campus for the first year. Ever since, they've been tightening the requirements, and just recently, they now require students to live all 4 years on campus. Undergraduate life, especially at the time, was the epitome of uniformity and sameness - bland, white, well-to-do. But... Did I mention I didn't graduate from Notre Dame? Like so many other so-called "townies" I got sucked into the world of hard drugs. I've been clean for 10 years now, but many of my best friends from high school are dead now. We got hit hard by heroin and meth, and frankly I'm lucky to be alive. But that's just my story. Its not South Bend. The life of a city is the totality of the stories of its inhabitants, and they are legion.

  56. @viridian Notre Dame does not require students to live on campus all four years. Seniors can move off campus. My husband and sons are all ND grads.

  57. @viridian The housing requirement went recently from 2 years to 3 on campus, provoking a lot of criticism from students.

  58. I've lived in South Bend for most of the years since 1975. Mayor Pete slightly overstates how dire the city was at the beginning of his term, but he caught us on an upswing and definitely made things better. The photos in this article don't manage to catch any of these improvements. The article also doesn't mention the ways the state of Indiana has hobbled its cities and schools, through property tax caps and limits on annexation. It also doesn't say loudly enough that all cities share our racial and economic legacies and problems. Studebaker left in 1963, and the national news media said 'grass will grow in the streets of South Bend.' It didn't. A number of good mayors tried a variety of things to energize the city. Some things worked, but others didn't. For example, when we attracted a AAA baseball team in the mid-1980s, some people were opposed. In fact, conservatives opposed every attempt by the city to use taxes to spur development. Unsaid in the article, people wanting to avoid city taxes and school integration simply moved to nearby suburbs. South Bend, like most Indiana cities, remains a well populated blue dot surrounded by sparsely populated red farmland. We have what our rural neighbors don't: people of color, Catholics, and 2 universities, ND and IU South Bend. Meanwhile, Pete did work on specific problems that needed addressing. He stepped in and picked up the pace of development and deserves praise. For all its complications, I'm happy to stay here.

  59. @Joseph Sipocz All true and well-stated. Thanks for speaking up.

  60. @Joseph Sipocz Thanks for mentioning the taxpayer funded Coveleski Stadium, now "Four Winds Field at Coveleski Stadium." That stadium is an icon of baseball stadium design, and was ahead of its time. The open concourse concept was revolutionary in the late 1980s when it was built. The architect, HOK Sport (now Populous), has designed nearly every new MLB stadium since the early 1990s, including Camden Yards, Progressive Field, and the stadium in my new city, Petco park. It's cool that they got their start in South Bend.

  61. Growing up in Western Pennsylvania in the 1980s I've seen how hard it is to transition traditionally industrial areas to newer economies. There is a huge contingent of older people that think manufacturing jobs are coming back. To these people, any money spent on making a city more livable, more attractive to outside people, is a waste of taxpayer dollars; funds should instead be used to develop industrial parks. Pittsburgh is one of the rare examples of the status quo did not prevail. Steel mills were demolished. Investments were made to create a more livable city. And the city (somewhat) thrives. More common are the cities like South Bend - Youngstown and Steubenville Ohio; Beaver County, PA; Weirton and Wheeling, WV - where Gen Xers pled with the older generations to demolish the derelict industrial infrastructure and were ignored until we tired of the battles and left our intransigent parents with their empty, decaying industrial monoliths. Now it's heartening to see some of these Millennials - like Pete Buttigieg and John Fettermen (former Mayor of Braddock, PA) - heading back to these towns and making more headway than we ever did. Gives me hope for the future, and allows me to believe that one day I'll go back to that Midwestern place from which I came.

  62. As a lifelong resident I would have to say that South Bend's greatest feature was the low cost of homes . The university is actually helping to ruin that . Building expensive homes near campus in areas that never were expensive. People here don't make enough to afford $150,000 let alone the newer homes being built now. This is also causing property taxes to increase anywhere near the newer homes , which I deem as unfair.The common counsel and zoning commission need to be replaced . None of the members seems to present any common sense and cater to developers trying to stuff their pockets by building overpriced condos near the campus, but in South Bend proper.They have allowed new $600,00.00 homes to be built in neighborhoods surrounded by houses of $100K or less Mayor Pete is an educated guy ,but he has wasted tax dollars, by putting in bike lanes everywhere which no one uses. Our downtown consisted of one way streets which were designed to have good traffic flow, which it did . Pete changed all of the one way streets to two way streets, eliminated a lane for parking which no one uses and basically ruined the traffic flow . His reasoning was so people can look and maybe stop at the businesses downtown . My tax dollars don't need to be spent so the businesses downtown can profit, it is their risk for having their business located there. I would love to see Pete face the opposition in a debate but he is not going to be president. His lifestyle will prevent it.

  63. The traffic changes have been a fantastic development, especially for those of us who live downtown. And I don't know how Pete's "lifestyle" will affect him. Unless you mean as the poorest candidate in the race by a very long way, he won't be able to keep up with the parties and designer drugs that the likes of Warren and Sanders can afford?

  64. @Jay May It sounds like Mayor Buttigieg attempted to implement the yuppie, elitist views of urban redevelopment: bicycles instead of cars thereby reducing space for cars; placing stores selling essentials downtown rather than near where the average income consumers live; encouraging the building of expensive homes that cannot be afforded by average income residents. It seems like an effort to remove or at least mask the perceived ugliness of urban life held by elitists. Maybe the Mayor just wants to recreate San Mateo County California.

  65. I say this with great affection and love for my fellow Baby Boomers, but ever since Studebaker closed in the 1960s, South Bend has been resistant to change, and discussions of change have always revolved around “Let’s change things back to how they used to be.” That, my fellow old-timers, is a strategy doomed to failure. Under Mayor Pete’s leadership, we did start to see positive change, and we were dragged kicking and screaming into innovations like traffic roundabouts (which we claimed we didn’t like because they were “too European”), new construction, the tearing down of mostly vacant and irreparable houses that were a blight on their neighborhoods, new retailers and restaurateurs wanting to come and set up shop here, and a newly renovated Howard Park (which people remarkably still found a way to complain about). But the greatest and most important change effected by Mayor Pete wasn’t any of those things, it was a cultural change. Pete, and more importantly his whole generation, have brought a new way of thinking into South Bend. We have finally acknowledged that Studebaker, after all these decades, is never coming back, and it’s time to imagine a new reality.

  66. @Dan Blacharski “I was born and raised on the west side of South Bend. And I lived in South Bend for the first 33 years of my life.” That was my introduction to Pete Buttigieg when he and I first met here in San Francisco, March 2019. Up and down this list are comments from people such as yourself and me, South Bend natives. This list makes for a fascinating read to me. The comments are honest, fair respectful and dignified assessments of South Bend. My thanks go to the author and her companioned colleague photographer. Their assessment, though not necessarily pretty, was honest. And thank you to you Mr. Blacharski for your comments.

  67. South Bend is a classic Midwestern city that has been unable to annex into the more affluent suburbs by the hostility of middle class Whites. Why isn't Notre Dame in the city? Granger is a large (30,000) affluent suburb to the Northeast of South Bend. It's not even incorporated. In a just world the selfish affluent residents would be happy to annex into South Bend for the benefit of the whole community. Vast annexations in Fort Wayne, Kokomo, and Lafayette have helped their center cities. The city-county consolidation of Indianapolis has made a major difference for the state's largest city. No longer India-NO-place, it is a rare thriving Midwestern city. South Bend needs better boundaries!

  68. @Dowager Duchess of Dorado Why isn't Notre Dame in the city? Because Notre Dame was founded by Fr. Edward Sorin in 1842 and South Bend was established as a city in 1865. They are two separate entities that grew together over a very long time. Why isn't Granger part of South Bend? Because Granger isn't just a suburb, it was founded in 1883, and it borders not only on South Bend, but also Mishawaka, and Elkhart. Granger is served by three school systems: South Bend Community Schools, Penn-Harris-Madison Schools, and the Elkhart Community Schools. Not exactly as simple as annexing like you suggest.

  69. My current location is a booth at Rocco's, so at least this positive part of South Bend is still going strong. South Bend is still evolving from the demise of its old industrial base. The population level still reflects those days, at least in a residual way, and it will take some time for new employment opportunities to match the labor supply. In the meantime it is not unlike my home town of Chicago in having a very wide range of household income, wealth, etc., and no one has a magic wand to quickly change that. Eventually, I hope, entrepreneurs who need the human capital that exists in South Bend will come and help raise standards of living, education, and the overall quality of life.

  70. @Kevin Byrnes Thanks for mentioning Rocco's! I did, too. I go every August when I'm visiting friends I made in South Bend in the 1980s, when I lived there.

  71. I went to Notre dame in the 60s and the reason we were encouraged to all live on campus was for the terrific sense of community that living together fostered. We were never discouraged from frequently visiting South Bend and many of us volunteered there. Every faculty person that I knew lived within walking distance of campus.

  72. Boston can be cold and bleak in winter but college students choose to stay after graduation. Kendall Sq near MIT becomes a tech and biotech distinct from its humble blue collar past. Kenmore Sq near the Fenway used to be a rowdy place until BU bought up the whole block and beyond. Notre Dame is not a poor university. If it doesn't want to invest in its own community, who would? If its graduates can't wait to get out of town, who would come?

  73. I think that this article points out that if we cannot identify something in simple terms we are at a loss. This is the problem of the bullet point media that we live with. The world is complicated and people need to work together to bring about solutions rather than focusing on “my view or identity “ is the only correct one. Unfortunately, we just saw this play out in the impeachment trial.

  74. This article fits the pattern of the NYT's coverage of Mayor Pete's campaign, if not all campaigns--relentlessly superficial. Perceptions and style take center stage, rather than qualities relevant to the office of president et al substance. The article on his social awkwardness today as well as the recent piece about his difficulties with African-Americans are also in this vein. If our professional media is to salvage its reputation for useful, meaningful reporting, it needs to be a leader more than a reflector of the culture--again, relentlessly superficial and spectacle-oriented. On the presidential race, it should try to re-define for Americans what kind of office the presidency is. To hear the media and the candidates talk about it, it's a dictatorship, requiring those running for it to provide full-blown legislative programs that will never get enacted. Someone or some institutions with self-evident wisdom needs to remind Americans that the president needs executive and not so much legislative skills as well as good instincts for leadership--a rare commodity indeed to judge by what's extant in the candidate marketplace to replace Mr Superficiality/Mr Spectacle himself, "the Great Divider" Donald Trump. I kinda like Mayor Pete for this role.

  75. Can't agree that most Notre Dame students avoided downtown South Bend. I recall many going to South Bend's premier men's store, Gilbert's, which was located downtown. After all these years, I still remember their advertising slogan, "One man tells another." It was a fabulous store.

  76. Yes, but every single one of those famous South Bend stores was closed by 1972. It's been a very slow struggle back. And there still isn't a grocery store or even a pharmacy downtown, still less a department store.

  77. @tencato You're right that ND students engaged with the town. At least they engaged with my high school, across the road from ND. ND boys were always trying to get dates with St. Joe senior girls, and St. Joe guys -- especially the leather jacket "JD's" -- would run them off (or beat them up.) That's "town and gown" for you. (I bought clothes at Robertson's -- or rather my mom bought them there on sale.)

  78. Perhaps Notre Dame should not be tax exempt or at least have a commitment to offer to help South Bend get back on their feet Like most Universities there is no commitment to the communities around them. Like most Universities Notre Dame owns enough property to develop housing for low income families but does not. If a Catholic University espouses to live in their beliefs where does that commitment show? Certainly not in helping the less fortunate around them

  79. Notre Dame voluntarily pays the city of South Bend what it would have owed them in taxes if it were not tax exempt.

  80. @Robert That surprises me when it is a tax exempt organization. Thank you, but do they pay Federal and State taxes?

  81. @Jean I believe they do not. They make the contribution to South Bend as a "good neighbor" policy.

  82. There are cities that overcame the decline of manufacturing - Pittsburgh is an example. I'm not sure why the article mentioned Ann Arbor - which was never like South Bend was - but not Pittsburgh.

  83. First of all, I would point out that people in the South Bend-Mishawaka metropolitan area are very proud of Notre Dame, whether or not they have ever attended an ND football game. Just look at what they're wearing, at University Park Mall, and the retail centers along Grape Road. (It's not unlike Wisconsin, where Packers and Badgers gear is all over, even though most residents never get to Lambeau Field or attend UW-Madison.) Secondly, retailers like Whole Foods, and hotel chains and apartment developers, use very detailed demographic date when they invest in a given area. Notre Dame has an affluent alumni base, buying condos in the ND vicinity or paying 3-night + $300 daily minimums for hotels on football weekends; its undergraduates, grad students, faculty and employees are significant in the market. Finally, all of Indiana is full of nice, friendly Midwestern people. They talk to you in the grocery store, they help push your car out of a snow drift, they let you into a line of traffic. "Prosperous College Town" and "Struggling Rust Belt City" are both inadequate descriptions of the region, but unfortunately typical of outsiders' portrayals of Midwestern communities. I imagine many area Hoosiers would offer Ms. Badger their hospitality and the opportunity to expand her knowledge about South Bend-Mishawaka.

  84. This patronizing article characterizes "progress" in South Bend by mentioning "new restaurants downtown, new hotels..." Eh. While it has long been, to some degree, a post-industrial city, for decades, there have been many, many things in South Bend that are great. Among things on my short list of things I love about South Bend are: my favorite used/rare bookstore anywhere (Erasmus Books), a great public library, close proximity to Warren Dunes State Park on Lake Michigan, some very good and interesting museums, some ethnic food in restaurants/cafes/bars that you can't get in many U.S. cities, the greatest pizza/Italian place (Rocco's), some wonderful riverside parks and trails, and, yes, the adjoining Notre campus, which is a great place to walk and bicycle, and has an enormous academic library that ANYONE can walk into without showing ID, sign in, etc etc etc, and more.

  85. “I was born and raised on the west side of South Bend. And I lived in South Bend for the first 33 years of my life.” That was my introduction to Pete Buttigieg when he and I first met in San Francisco in March, 2019. I think it may not ever have occurred to him that a South Bend native could be living in San Francisco. But here I am, a college professor, a combination of midwestern pragmatism and California chutzpah. In my humblest opinion South Bend was not a college town when I lived there. I can not say for certain if Studebaker was a factor or not. But there was certainly a sense of a separation between Notre Dame and South Bend. Notre Dame was of South Bend, but not necessarily with it. And the same was true in reverse. Very few locals attended ND. But everyone spoke of and tuned in to football. Everyone had a ND bumper sticker, t-shirt, cap, sweatshirt, you name it. This past September I returned to South Bend for the first time in five years. I spent less time than in previous visits engaging with family and spent more time engaging myself with the city. In short, some things changed. But some things remained the same. I suspect that South Bend would like to move on from the Studebaker days, but has not yet found a convincing and substantive replacement for the Studebaker phenomenon with which to make that happen. It is a city of great potential, but lacks a sense of curiosity about life much beyond the midwest and football.

  86. @Dennis Sopczynski Good points (and I add this as an ND grad of'76) -- and keep in mind that those uplifting football weekends are only 5 weekends out of a year. Well, 6, I guess, if you count the annual spring scrimmage game. Other than that.....pretty dry.

  87. @Dennis Sopczynski You are right. When I lived in SB, my high school classmates loved Notre Dame, even if they didn't plan to attend- it is a selective (and expensive) school with only an 18% acceptance rate. Too bad the photographer didn't get a shot of the many locals wearing their Notre Dame logo hats, jackets and sweatshirts- it's almost a South Bend uniform. The town is quiet on football Saturdays b/c everyone in town is at the game or watching it at home.

  88. The most relevant sentence in this piece is "But Mr. Buttigieg has built his campaign on the story of reviving a struggling and poor post-industrial city." What would be good is not a random national survey of perceptions about South Bend but an evidence-based investigation of the veracity of the candidate's claim.

  89. @Evidence Guy Indeed, there's no real evidence for this claim--not to my knowledge. He seems to be building a campaign upon, if any one thing or anything concrete, the notion that America needs to "turn the page" on Trump for a new, perhaps Kennedy-esque generation of leadership. His only executive experience is as mayor of South Bend, but that beats many of the candidates in this race. Better to judge any candidate on his/her instincts to lead, rather than on amount of experience or full-fledged legislative agenda that won't ever be considered as a Congressional option, much less be enacted.

  90. I lived in Granger for three years. South Bend will not evolve, Mayor Pete basically worked to please all stakeholders, while pleasing none. Norte Dame has a huge cemetery in the middle of campus. The ghosts, as well as the citizens of Granger could care less about the plights of the citizens of South Bend. I attended a few Norte Dame Football games. My observations are as follows 1.Norte Dame Football is one of the best pre game tailgates in America. People actually got to the tailgate and then leave the stadium to watch the game from home; and 2. Most of the African American students at Norte Dame- are there on the Field. I was shocked by the lack of Diversity in the stadium. I bet there are less than 200 minorities at the game.

  91. @Henry H Henry H I am happy to report that there is an ever increasing number of minority students at Notre Dame who have absolutely no affiliation with athletics. Please don't report on past and inaccurate perceptions.

  92. I am a Notre Dame graduate and I am fortunate to have three of four sons (so far) attend the university. Glad Mayor Pete’s run has opened discussions like this. It is just as impossible today to bifurcate ND from SB as it was years ago to do the same with SB and Studebaker. While ND is technically a “neighbor” the local economies of ND, SB, Granger, and Elkhart are inextricably linked together. Each has its own mission but I am happy to see them cooperating these days. The real estate development around the ND/SB border is very interesting as is the public/private partnership work ND/SB/Big Businesses are doing together. Each of these communities needs to contribute something positive to the equation to create a healthy future. SB relied on Studebaker for prosperity and didn’t innovate back in the day and it paid a heavy price for not doing so. ND is bringing tremendous resources into the local market these days........let’s hope the broader “community” doesn’t rely solely on this dynamic to secure its future. Go Irish!

  93. This article does nothing to help me discern how Mayor Pete would do as President. I know more about SB in a narrow coastal elite perspective, but I don't see how this helps me assess Mayor Pete.

  94. @Curt didn’t seem like that was the purpose of this particular article.

  95. @Curt What I need to know is whether he shopped at Whole Foods and Urban Outfitters.

  96. I graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 2018. My four years on campus ended just 2 years ago. There's a term used by the students: the "Notre Dame Bubble." This refers to the closed atmosphere of the campus. Students don't tend to leave unless it's to go a bar on a Friday or Saturday night. There's a convenience store, a Starbucks, and several restaurants on campus. The students don't feel like they need to leave. And when they do, it's not to dive into the culture of South Bend. It's to go to the mall in nearby Mishawaka or maybe Meijer...also in Mishawaka. The Urban Outfitters and high end apartments that are in South Bend are RIGHT outside of the campus gates and were developed by the University to give its students access to more things without having to actually go into the middle of the city. In fact, the University just passed a new rule that students have to live on campus for 3 years! The University tries to separate itself from the South Bend community. As a student, I was so disheartened by the lack of community engagement the college had with South Bend. So if people think Pete is lying about the City he has been reviving, I promise you they are wrong. South Bend is not the wealthy, Catholic society that is Notre Dame. In fact, I'm not sure they could be any more different.

  97. @Kal From the undergrad student perspective of course. But I wonder what the economy of South Bend would be like without Notre Dame? Is it completely independent?

  98. @Larry Figdill I think it's almost completely separate, Larry. This recent grad's experience parallels my own (graduated ND in '76). Difference in our decades-apart experience is, I think, that as a student in my time, there were still the big block stores and a downtown shopping area (with its own local department store, Robertson's) where I could shop as a student. I recall shopping at the Sears, where a commenter points out his mom worked. Sad to watch the decline of SB. The Studebaker closure of '64 was the fatal knife my college years of the '70s we were witnessing the city bleed to death....or the situation where SB is now.

  99. @Larry Figdill The economy of South Bend is totally intertwined with the University. In St. Joseph County the largest employer is Notre Dame with 3500 employees. The next largest is a regional chain of supermarkets at 3100 employees, and third is a health network/hospital at 3000 employees. There is no way to completely separate South Bend and Notre Dame from each other. In my opinion, one of the best qualities of Mayor Pete was his willingness and ability to work with the University on joint projects to benefit the entire area. Before Pete, there was not as much cooperative effort between the city and University, and as the article and many of these comments show there has been a great deal of resentment between the two, but that is starting to change as evidenced by the new joint ND/SB hydroelectric project. Notre Dame will lease the site from SB and contribute one million dollars to the restoration of a nearby park. Sustainable energy for the University, cleaner air for South Bend, and another newly renovated park for the citizens—thanks to Mayor Pete's initiatives.

  100. I really wish NYT writers would ditch the phrase "rust belt city(ies)". It is no longer descriptive of most of these cities where many are experiencing rebirths. We do not refer to New York as that aging east coast megopolis yet that is one truth which describes NYC.

  101. “I grew up knowing I’m not going to Notre Dame — that’s definitely not going to happen — and that’s the case for most kids in South Bend,” I grew up in a lower middle class, blue collar family in about the most industrialized part of New Jersey. In my part of the world we had the same attitude towards Princeton. It was in NJ but not of NJ. It was not a place for us. I went on to do the PhD thing and spent 40 years as a faculty member at a Big 10 school. My kids also went the state university route and as fate would have it; my younger son now has Princeton and ND grads working for him.

  102. @Lefty My father was a city fireman for South Bend. My mother worked at the local Sears store. I am the third of five children. The west side of South Bend where I grew up was predominantly blue collar, Polish, Catholic. Folks talked about Notre Dame. But no one went there. I went to IUSB to get my undergrad degree in fine arts. And a few years later I was offered a scholarship to grad school for one of the top ten art and design colleges in the US—California Institute of the Arts (CalArts). I have been a college professor in the San Francisco area for a number of years. I did not attend ND, because the University was not on my radar grad school, my call, not theirs. Who says ND is always in the driver’s seat to determine some South Bend kid’s college fate? Prestige can work in many ways.

  103. @Lefty Major 4 year residential universities in general do not primarily serve the students from the local community, if at all. That is the job of commuter schools or community colleges.

  104. @Larry Figdill And remember the movie "Breaking Away" from the '70s which described the same "townies" vs college kids conflict/distinction. Ironic that in the movie's case, they were talking about IU as the local university that was out of reach of the townies!

  105. Both - "Or" is the wrong word.

  106. Mayor Pete's rationale is that he dealt with the problems of a rust belt city. Before that, I who knew nothing, would have assumed it is a college town home to one of the largest private universities in the country. In the article Baltimore with Johns Hopkins and New Haven with Yale are mentioned. Exactly. A city or town of any size can be anything based on people's perceptions. We who live in Bar Harbor know that very well. I agree with the mayor that success in running a city and dealing with its diverse problems is ample qualification to run for President, certainly better than being a professor or a senator and way better than being a developer who achieved success through inheritance, bribery and corruption.

  107. Agree that the article (and photos) barely reflect the whole picture—honestly, of either location. This isn't representative of South Bend or of Notre Dame. College town or rust belt city? Pardon my eyeroll, but the answer is, "It's complicated." As a townie who grew up on the edge of campus in the 70s & 80s, I also knew I wouldn't go to Notre Dame. Part of that was knowing I wouldn't get in, wouldn't fit in, and couldn't afford it. And part of that was wanting to move out of South Bend for broader experience and better opportunity. The town and gown separation described in the article could be more accurately applied to divisions within South Bend itself, as many have commented here. Does it sound like I'm defending Notre Dame? Ah, it's complicated.. Also challenge the comments that claim Rocco's is the best pizza. Don't get me wrong, it's delicious. But I'm on Team Barnaby's.

  108. @Christine I've loved Barnaby's for 40+ years, and when I went back for a football game a few years ago with my son, Barnaby's was our first destination after a 10 hour drive.

  109. Wealthy people who work in south bend live in Granger or Mishawaka. The city of SB is a dull, boring town with lots of bars and used car lots. It looks like many other places in the upper Midwest. Norte Dame is an institution that stands alone to the east of South Bend. Football weekends are fun though the tailgate parties have lots of underage drunk students around with parents looking on. Don’t understand the exalted image that ND has. There are schools in state like Purdue and IU that are better and less expensive.

  110. I grew up in South Bend and left in 1966. "Rust belt city" is a perfect descriptor.... Studebaker, Oliver Farm Implements, Bendix, South Bend Range, South Bend Bait, Drewrey's Beer, Singer Sewing Machine, O'Brian Paint... all gone. A sad story of decline, not to mention the very bad "lake effect" weather. To regard New York City as an "aging east-coast megopolis" (sic) is to disregard its place as the Cultural Capital of the World, home to nine (or more) of the intellectually stimulating industries influencing our society historically and today... Live Theater, Radio, Television, Fine Arts, Fashion, Newspaper, Magazine, Finance, Book publishing. NYC is one of the few (if only) cities in the world to be the host of more than one industry... e.g. Chicago - Commodities, Detroit - Automobiles, LA - movies, Seattle - Aerospace, Las Vegas - gambling, Pittsburgh - steel, New Orleans - partying, Washington DC - government, San Francisco - Tech/ innovation. I am thankful to have escaped.

  111. I spent my elementary school years in South Bend, as my parents were foreign graduate students at Notre Dame. So, I lived (marginally) on campus at University Village, but went to public school in the daytime and interfaced with the rest of the sociological universe of the city through that channel. So, I had what was, in hindsight, the relatively novel experience of having one foot in campus life and the other in Midwestern normality. I would wholeheartedly agree that they are two different, irreconcilable universes, and that Notre Dame doesn't accurately represent the prevailing social conditions or cultural atmosphere of the place. If you want to understand South Bend, ND isn't a good vector for that. As other commenters have mentioned, campus is a hike out of the city and self-contained. In late middle school years, we moved to Athens, Georgia - that's a college town. I also had exposure to Ann Arbor and Bloomington. South Bend is not remotely like any of these; it's got a vast universe in which the 99% partake.

  112. South Bend sounds like a struggling college town in the middle of the rust belt.

  113. @Pryor South Bend is not a college town, not now, not ever. Notre Dame, St. Mary’s College and Holy Cross College are all adjacent to, but not in the city of South Bend. These colleges have formed a enclave at the edge of South Bend and have never involved themselves in the revitalization of South Bend. In fact, the colleges have historically worked to separate themselves from South Bend. Notre Dame, the most influential of the three colleges, has always acted as if they are above being involved in the struggles of South Bend. Since the demise of Studebaker, South Bend has been on a downward spiral. It ‘s a small town with big city problems. There are affluent suburbs that are adjacent to South Bend. Bloomington Indiana, which is home to Indiana University (where my daughter goes to school), is a true college town. There is no firm demarcation between the town and the university. The town and the university work together for the betterment of both.

  114. @Former Hoosier Um... I live in Bloomington. I graduated from Indiana University. I work for the University. I only wish what you said were true. Industrialization and de-industrialization followed a somewhat different pattern here. The only major industries originally were limestone quarrying/milling and a furniture factory. Modernism pretty much killed the former; non-union labor in the South killed the latter. These were located near downtown. A building used for making radio cabinets was repurposed for color TVs by RCA. They left town and the building was demolished and the site redeveloped. The remaining furniture plant buildings have mostly been repurposed. The main building is office space, mostly City Hall. The University was initially a partner in this but they withdrew. Another building is a business incubator. The adminstration building is vacant. Most industry arrived in the 60's and located on the west side: Otis Elevator (where I used to work), Westinghouse and General Electric. All gone now. Westinghouse was demolished and capped to contain PCBs. The GE site is being redeveloped by a local medical device manufacturer. The Otis site has several different tenants now. There is not a large minority population, but there was a long history of racial discrimination. There is lot of resentment among some about how the University has failed to produce any net increase in campus housing in decades while the student population has nearly doubled.

  115. My father was USAF ROTC commander at ND during my high school years in South Bend. I worked summers at ND as a groundskeeper. One of my jobs was edging the campus walkways you can see in one of the photos. I learned Pinochle from the permanent crew on lunch breaks. One of them always has a wad of tobacco in his cheek, but I never saw him spit. I also remember driving class. There would be one of us student learners and an instructor in front and two other students in the back seat. He would yell at us every time one of us hit a pothole, which was at least once or twice a session. He looked to be pretty old, but given his job, who knows?

  116. In all fairness to Notre Dame, for years and years U.S. universities worked to create a bubble -- a campus culture -- in which students could pursue their studies untroubled by the concerns of the outside world -- a pseudo-monastic experience meets the kegger. It's only recently that conventional wisdom has asserted that universities, along with pursuing their academic charter, have a duty to connect and in many cases revitalize their host communities. Is that a good change? I do not know.

  117. re: the smallest metro area in the country to contain all of the retail outlets often associated with liberal bubbles: Whole Foods, Lululemon, Apple, Urban Outfitters and Pure Barre. This phenomenon is entirely the result of the proximity to Notre Dame. Otherwise, these retailers would not be in South Bend.

  118. I "live" in South Bend. I'm homeless. I will return to my birth state of Michigan as the homicide rate is very high here. Pete was the best thing to happen to South Bend and many of us were sad to see him leave. He would make an excellent president. He made a difference here in South Bend.

  119. Can someone explain how this author managed to not mention the massive, multi million dollar renovation of the old Studebaker buildings on the near south side of the city? Journalistic malpractice.

  120. I agree. They show the State Theater instead of the Morris Performing Arts Center. Good things are happening in South Bend. Unfortunately past leaders have let opportunties go by the wayside over the years. Mishawaka has been light years ahead in getting rid of the Industrial Buildings and replacing with parks and new buildings or development. South Bend missed out in getting the University Park Mall and surrounding area as part of their tax base. Mayor Pete was probably one the first in a long time to actually tackle some of the problems head on. Most of these problems have worsened since the 1960's since the demise of Studebaker, Bendix, Oliver and others. He and former Mayor and Governor Joe Kernan tried to turn the tide. The rest did really little than maintain the status quo. I've lived in this county my entire 69 years.

  121. I lived in South Bend from 1953 to 1960. My father worked at Notre Dame as the doctor in the student infirmary (THE doctor) and his boss was a priest. Several of my parents friends who came to the house an play bridge or have dinner were priests. It was definitely a world of its own, though the Catholic high school I went to was run and staffed by an order of brothers connected to the priests of Notre Dame. I was an afternoon usher at the Colefax theater (I assume it's gone). It was a profoundly racist town; the black community (not small) was restricted to a small area. I didn't then know anyone who particularly loved the place. Good for Pete an the oters trying to make it better

  122. Maybe I should pay more attention to mayor Pete. I thought south bend was a college town. Well what do you know, it’s really another Rust Belt city. Interesting article

  123. Yes, but what did Pete do there?

  124. Will be more interesting to compare South Bend to Ann Arbor or Urbana-Champaign