South Bend starts new free city tour

The City of South Bend is full of history and offers many activities of interest but, no matter how long you've lived here, there is always that one thing you may not have known.

The City of South Bend has a new tour, open to the public that can help with that.

The tour lasts about two hours and takes you from one end of South Bend to the other, showing a good portion of the city and its neighborhoods.

One of the best parts about the tour is that it’s free.
Sue Solmos has been working with Notre Dame for the past four years giving tours to help educate freshman and new faculty about South Bend.

Now, she is giving that opportunity, to everyone.

“As quickly as they can become acclimated they will be much happier with the city,” says tour guide, Sue Solmos, “and there are so many wonderful diverse things about South Bend that of course on a regular day you wouldn't know.”

About 10 people hopped on board a bus Saturday, some new, some old, but all ready to learn new things.

“When I saw the email in the city system and I realized this was available I took the opportunity. I am a new resident, just moved here in January, says South Bend Police Chief, Ron Teachman.

Some of the first stops on the tour had to do with the city’s history.

“This is Tippecanoe Place. This is Clement Studebakers Mansion,” Solmos says looking out the window.

As many locals know, he was the co-founder of the Studebaker plant. What many of these new comers don't know is that the mansion, built in 1889, has 40 rooms and 20 fireplaces.

Another stop on the tour was at the Copshaholm, which was built by JD Oliver. Oliver was the founder of the Oliver Chill Plow which has 38 rooms and 14 fire places.

The Civil Rights Heritage Center made it on the list. Did you know that African Americans were prohibited from swimming there? Then, in 1936 they were allowed to swim only on a segregated basis.

“When they left, they drained the pool and cleaned it. So, it remained segregated till 1950,” added Solmos.

Sue says one of the top three things people don't know about city is that there are two Frank Lloyd Wright homes in it.

She also says that South Bend has come of the most beautiful neighborhoods in Indiana. For example, neighborhoods like Topsfield or Deer Run.

Sue says that many people look to Granger or Mishawaka to live, but says there are great high end homes in these South Bend neighborhoods that almost no one knows about.

Howard Park was another stop on the tour.

Many drive by Howard Park, others play in it, and some may not even know it’s there, but what is interesting is that it is one of the oldest parks in the city.

For one passenger, who moved here with his family just six months ago, it’s the art and cultural entertainment that really got his attention.

“I didn't know they had a symphony. I like the, I am a music guy so, I like that they have a symphony,” adds new resident, Jeff Eastman.

“So, it’s been so much fun seeing these new young entrepreneurs come in and the excitement that they bring. So, we are recreating. We are recreating our story,” says Solmos.

“New Bedford, like South Bend is looking for another peak of prosperity. The people are similar. The ethnic origins are different, maybe the accents are different but the aspirations are the same. So, I feel very much at home here, and on a personal and professional level the city has been very welcoming. So, I am very happy to be here and happy to serve,” says Teachman.

Next tour is May 11th. If you are interested, contact Sue Solmos at or (574)-235-5879.

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