Bird’s-Eye View of South Bend, Indiana 1874


This panoramic map shows South Bend, Indiana, as it appeared in 1874. The map shows the town on both sides of the Saint Joseph River, connected by rail and foot bridges. In the right foreground, a train enters the view on the tracks of the Michigan Central Iles Branch. Another train has just crossed the river on the tracks of the Chicago and Lake Huron Railroad, and in the right background, a train is shown traveling on the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railroad. The numbered and lettered key at the bottom of the map indicates the main sites of interest in the town, which include the court house, county jail, schools, post office, water works, gas works, railroad depots, hotels, various manufactories, and numerous houses of worship, including Catholic, Baptist, Christian, Episcopal, Evangelical, Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, and Universalist. The large factory complex located near the tracks of the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railroad between Lafayette Street and Prairie Avenue housed the Studebaker Brothers Wagon Manufactory. Founded in 1852, the Studebaker company became a leader in the manufacture of horse-drawn carriages, and later, of automobiles. South Bend was originally settled as a fur trading post. The town was incorporated in 1835 and grew into an industrial powerhouse during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The panoramic map was a cartographic form popularly used to depict U.S. and Canadian cities and towns in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Also known as bird's-eye views or perspective maps, these maps are representations of cities portrayed as if viewed from above at an oblique angle. Not generally drawn to scale, they show street patterns, individual buildings, and major landscape features in perspective. This map is by Albert Ruger (1829–99), the first American to achieve success as a panoramic artist. Born in Prussia, Ruger immigrated to the United States and worked initially as a mason. While serving with the Ohio Volunteers during the Civil War, he drew views of Union campsites. After the war, Ruger settled in Battle Creek, Michigan, where he began his panoramic mapping career by sketching Michigan cities. In the late 1860s, Ruger formed a partnership with J.J. Stoner of Madison, Wisconsin, and together they published numerous city panoramas.

Last updated: June 9, 2017