Midwest Living Review
The city began with the discovery of bog iron deposits in the early 1830s. Settlers arriving to mine these deposits founded the town of St. Joseph Iron Works in 1831, building a blast furnace, a general store and a tavern. Business prospered, and in 1838, St. Joseph Iron Works and three other small towns nearby were incorporated into one -- Mishawaka, named for Princess Mishawaka of the Potawatomie tribe. In 1872, fire destroyed three quarters of Mishawaka's business district, but devoted citizens rebuilt and attracted new industry, including the Dodge Manufacturing Company, Perkins Windmills and the Mishawaka Woolen and Rubber Company (later Ball Band; then Uniroyal). In the late 1800s, the city became known as the Peppermint Capital of the World for its rich black loam that yielded great quantities of mint. Today Mishawaka is home to the second-largest retail center in the state. The city offers downtown river walks and a charming entertainment-shopping district called the Mishawaka Iron Works. The downtown includes quaint antiques stores, such as the newly opened Mishawaka Antiques, and specialty stores like Interiors Etc. (furnishings and accessories beautifully displayed) and Backyards (garden furnishings and outdoor accessories, including custom upholstery in outdoor fabrics). Anchored by Macy's, nearby University Park Mall offers many stores; surrounding retail areas have managed to keep pace with the times by adding stores such as Whole Foods, which chose Mishawaka as one of its newest locations. Mishawaka also boasts an outdoor Olympic-size swimming pool and an adjacent ice skating rink at Merrifield Park. On the south side, George Wilson Park is a popular winter tobogganing spot and has an 18-hole Frisbee golf course. The city hosts the nation's oldest and largest Wiffle Ball tournament, the World Whiffleball Championship each July, held at Rose Park's 22-field Wiffle Ball complex.