Friday, June 7, 2013

South Bend, Indiana / Notre Dame

South Bend, Indiana, the home of the University of Notre Dame, has always been a place we wanted to visit. We blitzed through here 20 years ago but not even long enough to have a meal. So we had two nights from when we left Wisconsin until Alumapalooza and we decided to spend them here.

The University has a beautiful, if somewhat sterile, campus. By that I mean that the campus is somewhat isolated and not really interactive with the city. We didn't see any real gathering places on the campus. The streets around the outside of Notre Dame had shops and restaurants that were nice, if not easy to get to from the center of campus.

South Bend has a wonderful historic district and a lovely Museum of History. Back in the 1870s farming plows were made of cast iron, cheap but easily broken, or of forged steel, very durable but beyond the reach of most farmers. Joseph Oliver solved that issue by inventing a method of cooling cast iron that rendered it as strong as forged steel. It revolutionized farming world wide and made the Olivers very wealthy. The house that he built in 1896 is now part of the historic district museum (The Center for History) and open to tour.

The Oliver Mansion. Made from local stone brought here in large pieces and cut on premises by Italian stone masons.
The home was occupied by the family until the 1970s when it was turned over to the city.

The kitchen in the servants quarters reminded me of my grandmother's kitchen.
She had a curtain under the sink, and ice box and a small stove.
What great meals she made with such a humble kitchen!

The Center for History houses several permanent displays including the Studebaker collection. Studebaker was a South Bend institution until it went under in the 1960s.

The first Studebaker! Yes, this is how the Studebaker Brothers started, by making wooden wagons.

The First Airstream??

The original Studebaker brothers were against getting into that new-fangled unproven technology, the automobile.
It took new blood, in the form of grandchildren, to get them into the modern world.

This half-ton pick up could have pulled Diva, no problem!
(see below)

This Woody had actual wood on the panels!

The Center for History also houses a small history of Notre Dame. The University was founded in 1842 by priests of the Holy Cross Catholic seminary. It was an all male institution until 1972. 

Father Hesburgh became President of Notre Dame in1952 at the age of 35. He resigned in 1987.
He is credited with transforming the University into a world class institution.
He was also a gifted fisherman.

When Father Hesburgh retired in 1987 he went RVing with his best friend, Ned.
Wow! We have something in common!
Father "Ted" is alive at 96 and still lives at Notre Dame
and, except for some problems with his eyesight, is vibrant and active.

Ciao, Frank

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