Mishawaka is a city that borders South Bend. When I moved to this area it was a busy manufacturing area, full of union shops. One factory, Ball Band, was located on the St. Joseph River. It made rubber things including tennis shoes similar if not the same, Keds. I'm not sure when the factory opened, or when it closed, but it sat empty and unused for many years. Sometime along the way, the cities near here paid high bucks for a study on how they could make this area a more desirable place to live. All reports advised that the cities should make the most of their access to the river that runs through South Bend, Mishawaka and Elkhart and more towns along it's path from where it starts in Michigan. Long before the study, in 1981 Mishawaka started a fish hatchery to supply baby trout and salmon to the River. All along the river path fish ladders were built and the St. Joseph River is one of the best places to fish for Salmon.
Mishawaka made good use of the advice given in the study. They took down the Ball Band plant. The implosion and resounding booms were heard all up and down the river. It was a pretty impressive event. The city built a really nice park where the factory once stood. They created a river walk on both sides of the river all through most of the city. You can now walk along the river all the way to down town South Bend. The pictures above show one of the fish ladders. The third picture is not of a rock, but a Mallard Duck who apparently can't read the sign that says "No Fishing Within 100 Feet of the Fish Ladder". The 4th pic shows a well used fishing spot.
Belgian and Italian flags fly throughout the park honoring the rich heritage of the immigrants that settled here and helped to build the towns into what they are today.
Recently a couple of large condo/apartment complexes have been build in this area and another developer has expressed interest in building another. Apparently there is a huge Millennial interest in living here and the River Walk and park area was mentioned as one of the reasons the area is so appealing. Though the area is not so hugely dependent on manufacturing as it once was, there are many national corporate offices here. We have excellent medical facilities and several colleges including Notre Dame supply many jobs.
Terry and I had never been to the River Walk area, though our grand kids go their often. we needed to take our car in for service to a shop located a few blocks from the Riverwalk. Though the work would take about 3 hours, we decided to leave the car and walk to a little cafe for breakfast. OMGosh, they had a TV on with Gunsmoke playing. Terry was right at home. When we left, we walked over to see the River Walk and sauntered through about 8 blocks of it. Terry spent a lot of time mentioning a building that used to be here or there. It was such an enjoyable morning. But by the time we got back to the repair shop, Terry was totally beat and glad to have a seat on the seat the shop owner had made from a bench front seat from an old car.
Here is Terry, it was a windy day and his hair is a mess. Gosh, I LOVE this guy!