History & Heritage
Our heritage lives on
We take pride in our heritage, and we cherish our Midwest traditions, our Hoosier hospitality and our hard-working Heartland values. You’ll cherish them too as you wander down quaint downtowns that retain the charm of a simpler time. You’ll be inspired by the faith that led to the founding of Notre Dame in 1842. The simple courage that brought the first Amish settlers in 1844. The dedication of the largest remaining mounted cavalry unit in the United States. The ingenuity that led Orville Redenbacher to launch his first gourmet popcorn product in 1971. The determination of the farmers that have worked this land for generations. And so much more.
Over 90 Farmer's Markets, U-picks, Gardens and Greenhouses dot the landscape of Northern Indiana. Explore our alphabet soup of specialty farms, roadside shops and farmers markets where you'll find everything from the biggest blueberries to hand-crafted cheeses to gently-grazing alpacas. With such a farm-to-table, handcrafted focus, words like "fresh" and “homemade" simply seem redundant.
An adventure in abundance awaits you in the Amish region: Stone-ground flour. Honey. Seasonal produce. Buffalo burgers. Cheese. Noodles. Orchards. Herbs. Pumpkins. Popcorn. And more.
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Discover how delicious the Dunes region can be: Wineries. Blueberries. Alpacas. Heirloom vegetables. Christmas trees. Flowers. Eggs. Peaches. Miniature horses. Strawberries. And more.
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Explore the fertile farmlands of the North-Central region: Blueberries. Sweet corn. Geraniums. Beef. Seedlings. Chickens. Raspberries. Cheese. Horseradish. Herbs. And more.
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Our history & heritage
Home to native families for thousands of years, Northern Indiana was a well-known trading route. Travelers navigated from the east coast to the Mississippi River and beyond via the St. Joseph River and the Kankakee River. Northern Indiana is also where the Trail of Death began, marking the forced migration of over 800 Potawatomi Indians from Indiana to Kansas.
It began as an area well known to fur traders and missionaries; the home of 1920s gangsters like Al Capone and Bugsy Malone; one of the leading agricultural counties in Indiana and a region woven with deeply-rooted Amish traditions. As pioneers and farmers from around the world chose to settle here with their families, Northern Indiana unassumingly became a true melting pot of international cultures.
History is captured and remembered in our buildings, our communities and our traditions. Stories of the past can be heard through the music of annual festivals and traces of history are still etched in our traditional handcrafted products.