() is a city on the St. Joseph river and a twin city of South Bend in St. Joseph County, Indiana, United States. The population was 46,557 at the 2000 census. Its nickname is "the Princess City."
Mishawaka is a principal city of the South Bend–Mishawaka, IN-MI, Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Mishawaka, Indiana, is a growing commercial city in Northern Indiana, located next to South Bend. Mishawaka, the Princess City, lies nestled along the meandering path of the St. Joseph River. The city is named after Mishawaka, daughter of Shawnee Chief Elkhart. According to legend, the Shawnee were permitted to settle on Potawatomi lands in the late 1700s, and Potawatomi Chief Grey Wolf soon fell in love with Mishawaka. She rejected his advances and pledged her love to a white trapper, known only as Deadshot. A war between the two tribes ensued, and Grey Wolf captured Mishawaka and threatened to kill her unless she married him. Deadshot followed him, however, and the two men fought to the death. Grey Wolf died, but not before stabbing Mishawaka in the breast. She recovered, but died in 1818 at age 32. She was buried near Lincoln Park, and a bronze marker there retells her story. The legend characterizes the mixture of romance and history still found in Mishawaka today.
The city’s history began with the discovery of bog iron deposits in the early 1830’s. Settlers arriving to mine these deposits founded the town of St. Joseph Iron Works in 1831. Within a couple years, the town had a blast furnace, a general store, a tavern, and about 200 residents. Business prospered, and in 1833, St. Joseph Iron Works plus three other small towns nearby were incorporated into one— Mishawaka.
In September 1872, a fire destroyed three quarters of Mishawaka’s business district. However, the persevering citizens rebuilt and attracted new industry. The Dodge Manufacturing Company, Perkins Windmills and the Mishawaka Woolen and Rubber Company (later Ball Band, then Uniroyal) all helped the town to prosper industrially. The town also grew agriculturally. In the late 1800’s, the city gained the title as the "Peppermint Capital of the World" due to the rich black loam found in the area that yield great quantities of mint. Ball Band made rubber garments and was hit by a major strike in 1931, but flourished in the 1940s, finally closing in 1997 in the face of cheaper imports. Manufacturing in Mishawaka peaked in the 1940s and began a slow decline as the economic base shifted to retail services and small industry.
In 1979, University Park Mall opened north of Mishawaka. In 1990, AM General began producing the Hummer in its Mishawaka plant. Although much of the rest of the city's heavy industry was gone by the turn of the 21st century, Mishawaka retains a thriving commercial district that is home to one of the largest retail centers in the Midwest, the Grape Road/N Main St shopping corridor, which serves all of Michiana. Mishawaka's population is still ethnically diverse, with large Belgian, German and Italian settlements dating from the late 19th century.