Touring Indiana’s Underground Railroad

By Erin Lattimer and Hannah Scherer • May 16th, 2017

Brother Sage photo

On the porch of his South Bend home, Verge “Brother Sage” Gillam shares the history he’s worked a long time to document. (Photo/Hannah Scherer)

On the far east side of Notre Dame’s campus lies the Thomas Bulla Farmhouse and surrounding Bulla Road. While students drive the latter frequently, the former is hardly mentioned, visited, or recognized, despite both structures’ namesake acting as a major abolitionist in the era of the Underground Railroad.

The University of Notre Dame has a major part of history on its campus, and it’s largely bypassed by the casual observer.

Even some Notre Dame students in the History Department say they have little to no knowledge regarding the area’s history related to the Underground Railroad.

Senior history major Joe DeLuca said believes local history is essential for the greater understanding of a culture.

“If you look at a lot of the smaller scale stuff, it can really flesh out the story a lot more,” he said. “Entire sections of history would have been lost.”

Notre Dame is not the only location in the now Michiana or even Indiana region that contains rich details of Underground Railroad history. Indiana’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) as well as The National Park Service have worked to create a comprehensive registry of Indiana’s Underground Railroad locations and features of several Indiana regions.

Southern Indiana features the Eleutherian College Classroom and Chapel Building and the Georgetown Neighborhood in Madison, Indiana. Serving as a museum today, Eleutherian College was symbolically built on top of a hill. Its own museum web page states that Eleutherian decided this to demonstrate its commitment to “individual equality, education, and equal opportunity without regard to race or gender.”

Many fugitives who traveled along this route continued north via Indianapolis. The Georgetown Neighborhood in Madison, Indiana––right on the southernmost border––was at one point populated with abolitionists and freedom seekers. Even today, the Indiana DNR states many of the original homes and churches from the Underground Railroad era still stand in this neighborhood. This includes Lyman and Asenath Hoyt, who would hide fugitives in their family barn loft or cave on their Madison, Indiana, property between 1830 and 1856.

In the central part of the state, the Bethel AME Church and the Levi Coffin House once served as Underground Railroad locations. Before it was sold to a private firm in 2016, the Bethel AME Church in downtown Indianapolis was known as the “Indianapolis Station” after it was founded in 1836, but was rebuilt in 1867. The Levi Coffin House located near Richmond, Indiana, also played a significant role in African American slaves’ paths to the north during this time, reportedly assisting over 2,000 slaves to freedom.

Before crossing the border into Michigan, thousands of African American fugitives finally traveled through various areas of northern Indiana. The DNR states that just south of the Michigan border and on the shores of Lake Michigan, Daniel Low helped fugitives escape to Michigan or Canada by bringing them from his estate and hiding them on board grain boats at the Michigan City harbor.

“It’s kind of skewed; there were a few routes. [They] came through Michigan city, [some] into Niles, and some came through a part of Indiana that lead into Bristol that then went into Michigan,” local historian Verge “Brother Sage” Gillam said. “There was no specific route like 31 or 933. It was really interesting, because to get away [from this area] we had to do whatever was Kosher, and we knew that Indiana was not a safe state.”


Blue map pin iconStoryMap: Tour Indiana’s Underground Railroad sites


To the east in Fremont, Indiana, at the Erastus Farnham House, the historic cupola on top of the house served as a watchdog vantage point in order to keep the fugitives he aided safe. Only about 13 miles west is the house of Captain Samuel Barry who, despite being arrested for his actions, frequently provided shelter to fugitive slaves.

Still close by in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, the Alexander T Rankin house is, per the Indiana DNR, currently the only known structure still standing in Ft. Wayne that was a part of the Underground Railroad. Likewise, as previously noted, Notre Dame’s Thomas Bulla House was where Bulla and his family aided runaway slaves and still stands amongst residential living buildings on the campus.

Brother Sage has spent the last 10 years putting together the story of the Underground Railroad’s presence in the Northwest Territory, more specifically the St. Joe Valley Region.

This area, what is now northwestern Indiana and southwestern Michigan, saw the passage of tens of thousands of slaves from slave territory to the free land. “What a lot of people don’t realize is that the No. 1 region for runaway slaves was the Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Missouri region… to think that 75,000 people escaped that particular region is so awe-inspiring. These stories need to be told,” Sage said.

South Bend also was home to plenty of abolition-era dramatics, with the South Bend Presbyterian Church halting slave catchers from removing runaways from free-Michigan back to slave-Kentucky.

“[The church] went to court and won their suit, and the slaves went back to Michigan,” Sage said. “The slave catchers went back to Kent, complained about it, came back to South Bend and sued that church. [They] ended up winning that suit. We’d like to put a historical marker [at the church] because that history is well documented.”

But auction-block documents printed by what is now known as the South Bend Tribune have also been discovered. These flyers advertise the sale of Michiana-area men, women and children, cementing the fact that the oppression was local. “This just goes to show how rough it was on us, what kinds of things we had to go through [in this area], and why it’s important for us to talk more about this from the standpoint of whoever you are,” he said.

Sage stressed the necessity to rectify an ignorance of history by sharing these stories and this knowledge through education and traditional schooling. While information on these historical locations is becoming more available through online registries, Indiana’s regional history in terms of the Underground Railroad has not shown to be well-known. “They don’t know what we had to go through in order to be free, they don’t know anything about the real bigotry or prejudice we went through, or they don’t know anything about the history [of the Underground Railroad,]” Sage said.

Lacking such pertinent historical information takes away part of a community’s culture. This causes the loss of a potential lesson learned, or an honorable historical connection. “[The Thomas Bulla House] can be a source of pride for the community and the people who live here that we played a significant role in helping free slaves, not mentioning it is a very interesting topic of discussion around campus,” Lew said.

“None of this is in the schools; you probably heard nothing about these details in high school or even at the University of Notre Dame,” Sage said. “More emphasis should be put into this, because I think we’re a remarkable people, and we’ve shown how to survive the Holocaust of enslavement.”

Underground RR Infographic

Will the Campus Crossroads Project Unify the Notre Dame Campus?

By Katelyn Higgins, John Horlander and Sierra Mayhew • May 15th, 2017

To many, Notre Dame Stadium is a destination six days a year. However, with the creation of the Campus Crossroads project, Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick sought out to make it a destination 365 days a year.

In January 2014, shortly after Notre Dame concluded the 2013 football season, the university announced the largest construction and development project in the school’s history.

The Campus Crossroads Project is precisely that: a “crossroads” of academics, student life, and athletics. At the outset, the projected cost was $400 million, and over three years into the massive task that number has not wavered, school officials say. There are multiple facets to Campus Crossroads: the improvements to the football stadium and fan experience, a new student center and restaurants, new academic offices and classrooms, and more.

All aspects related to the football experience will be finished before the Irish kick off against Temple on Sept. 2, school officials say. The student center and academic buildings will be completed before the start of the 2018 spring semester.

Doug Marsh, the University’s architect and vice president for facilities design and operations said of the project, “Student life, athletics and academics in one building. It’s never been done before.”

Marsh took media on a tour of the Duncan Student Center, the addition on the west side of the stadium. Duncan will have three new eateries, Star Ginger Asian Grill and Noodle Bar, Modern Market and a coffee house featuring Intelligentsia coffee.

The first two floors will also have a student lounge, administrative offices and meeting rooms. The third and fourth floors will have a brand new student recreational facility, which will replace Rolfs Sports Recreation Center upon completion. Rolfs will be completely renovated and become a state-of-the-art practice facility for the Fighting Irish basketball teams.

Additional basketball courts will also be put in the north dome of the Joyce Athletic and Convocation Center, and they will open alongside the opening of the Duncan Student Center. The student rec center will feature a three-floor rock climbing wall, running/walking track, basketball court, and brand new exercise equipment.

The fifth level will be the new home to the career center, complete with interview rooms, offices, and more; the sixth floor is mechanical support. Floors 1-6 will be completed by spring 2018. On the seventh floor is a 500-seat ballroom, club seating, and more. The eighth and ninth floors also cater to premium customers.

The Duncan Student Center, located just a few yards east of the most-frequented classroom building on campus, Debartolo Hall, will offer close, easy access to students when it opens in January 2018. According to Senior Deputy Director of Athletics Missy Conboy, the plan for Duncan is for it to become a central spot on campus for students.

Improved Viewing

When the project was first announced, most believed the enhancements to the stadium were solely to offer premium seating to donors and high-paying guests. However, Conboy said that is not the case.

When the project was approved, Conboy said the school conducted a feasibility study on campus to see how the project would affect each part of campus, from the students and faculty, to the typical Notre Dame Football fan.

One of the initiatives to come from the feasibility study: put Rolfs Rec Center into the Duncan Student Center.

“We were in the midst of planning to build a complex for men’s and women’s basketball programs when we thought what if we relocate Rolf’s, which doesn’t have all that it needs now, to the same space as the student center so students can now have almost everything in the same location,” Conboy said.

Next, they developed plans to enhance the stadium to attract fans away from watching the game from home or at a sports bar. This meant the addition of premium space in the form of skyboxes and other premium seating. What many do not realize was the focus to improve the stadium for the “average Joe” fan.

Conboy said more than a year and a half into the project they realized they had to add updates for the average fan as well.

360 perspective: A look inside Campus Crossroads

ND crossroads tour #theta360 – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

“We couldn’t open the gates this fall after three years of construction and have fans feel like they were still getting the same thing,” Conboy said.

This meant the majority of the stadium was to get a much needed facelift which included replacing the infamous wood bleachers for new metal covered bleachers. The concourse updates includes new paint and signage, renovating the bathrooms and concessions stands and the addition of over 200 TV monitors so fans can see the game while in the concourse.

Conboy stressed the importance of maintaining the integrity of existing stadium. The project repurposed over 90% of the wood bleachers, searched extensively to find brick to match the original bricking and will even hand paint bricks near the gates to match the originals.

She referenced the innovation that Knute Rockne possessed when he built a stadium in the 1920s that held 60,000 people. It was important to continue the innovation with the Campus Crossroads project, she said.

With the stadium known as the “house that Rockne built”, undergoing so many changes, some critics have said it hurts the traditions that make the stadium great. Conboy disagreed.

“If Rockne were around today, he would have done the same thing because he was a great innovator,” she said.

Martyrs or Graduates?

Seniors had many negative opinions on the project have different and personal reasons for their resentment. They responded to a Google Questionnaire rating their feelings from 1-10 on the Campus Crossroads project. They rated their excitement towards the project as 4.4. They took offense to the project in a different way than underclassmen students.

Some seniors say that from the moment that they walked on campus to the day they walk across the stage to accept their degree, they have had to deal with the construction eyesore.

Senior Rachel Dupont, an anthropology major, felt strongly about the project. “I’m really happy that the anthropology department is getting a new place but I do feel like a martyr because I am missing out on a lot of things.”

The excitement about the project that the university has been using to increase morale on campus has been hurting seniors more than helping them.

360 perspective: A view from the 50 yard line

ND stadium 3 #theta360 – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

A Point of View From the Field

Morale has been low after a 4-8 record season for the Notre Dame football team. But one player thinks this project can help turn things around.

The introduction to an improved stadium can really affect the definition of the term “home field advantage.” Ashton White, a safety entering his second year with the football team, stresses the importance of the stadium.


movie_play_blue2Watch more: Video tour of Notre Dame’s Shamrock Series


“It has an effect on wins and losses in the sense that we have a feeling of confidence and comfort that comes from being at home, playing in our stadium and in front of our fans.”

Coming out of a rough season for Notre Dame football, morale is low. These additions have the potential ability to boost the confidence of the fans and the team. Bringing in an improved locker room and stadium atmosphere is exactly what the school needs.

As White explains the excitement that the players have in relation to their experience in the new stadium, it becomes clear that this project has the ability to improve the game of football for not only the viewers but also the men on the field.

Marsh spoke of the project with a great view toward the campus’s future, referring to the renovations as “200 years from now.”

Timeline

Town and Gown: How Do Notre Dame and South Bend Make It Work?

By Madison Riehle and Allie Hoerster • May 14th, 2017

Before the University of Notre Dame’s economic and social influence gained traction, the city thrived off of the business and jobs created by the Studebaker automobile plant. At its height, the company employed 7,000 people, which was eight percent of South Bend in 1960, according to the Studebaker National Museum.

When the plant closed in 1963, both the population and the economy took a hit, with 20,000 residents leaving the city over 40 years, putting South Bend on Newsweek’s 2011 list of “America’s Dying Cities.”

Despite this, and due to recent pushes and changes in South Bend’s government and the sustained effort of new Notre Dame programs, South Bend is transitioning, experts and officials say.

“The city is growing and developing, it has some really positive areas.” said Jackie Burns Rucker, Associate Director of Community Relations for the University of Notre Dame. “It is a thriving community that has a large alumni population here, and has a really rich history.”

The City of South Bend and the University of Notre Dame are inextricably linked by a long-standing symbiotic relationship. As one of the largest enterprises in the St. Joseph County area, Notre Dame plays an integral role in the city’s economy, which makes community outreach initiatives and programs measures all the more important.

Juxtapose: The development of Eddy Street Commons over the last 14 years.

“There’s a symbiosis between the community and the University that we recognize more than ever, and I think communities around the country are recognizing this, so we talk a lot about the mutual benefit of our partnerships in a way that we can use our expertise on campus,” said Jay Caponigro, director of community engagement in the Office of Public Affairs at the University of Notre Dame.

The Office of Public Affairs is just one of the ways that Notre Dame has involved itself in the community. Its goal is to build, maintain and support the community of South Bend by engaging Notre Dame students with city residents. The projects that the Office of Public Affairs executes revolve around the education and enrichment of South Bend children.

“Our after-school program is very diverse—we will host events here at the center, and we have an after school program that is 2nd through 4th grade,” Rucker said about the Center for Arts and Culture. “Within the after-school program, the first hour is literacy based and the second hour is arts and culture enrichment. I utilize art and culture to try to help build relationships.”

The Center for Arts and Culture is just one of the many sites that Notre Dame students and faculty invest their time. More than 945,850 hours of community service work is performed by more than 2,250 Notre Dame students and more than 360 University faculty and staff during the 2014-15 academic year, according to a 2016 economic survey of Notre Dame.


Blue map pin iconStoryMap: Notre Dame’s impact on South Bend


Similarly, academic courses engage students with the local community through entrepreneurship opportunities and funds, as well as community-based research, which is run by the Center for Social Concerns and includes an out-of-classroom service element.

“With the community-based research, you see a lot of Catholic social teaching coming up as part of the justification for getting involved in those projects,” Caitlin Hodges, Notre Dame Student Government Director of Community Relations, said. “That’s the language you’ll see replicated at just about every level of Notre Dame when they are doing something like that.”

This kind of engagement is understood as growth in human capital — and is the most important factor for economic growth, as it leads to higher educational levels and future funds.

Aside from time investments, Notre Dame is the leading employer in the South Bend area, employing around 5,700 South Bend residents. In fiscal year 2015, the University spent nearly $168.5 million on purchases of goods and services, excluding construction, from businesses in St. Joseph County, according to a report on a 2016 economic survey of Notre Dame.

360-Degree Perspective: Step into South Bend’s southeast neighborhood.

“We know that we have to have infrastructure locally that will attract people to come to Notre Dame,” Caponigro said. “We want to make sure there are learning opportunities in the community, not just on the University campus.”

Notre Dame also focuses its community efforts on maintaining the overall look of the community, as well as ensuring that student housing does not override affordable housing in the neighboring areas.

This includes the Northeast Neighborhood Revitalization Organization, which aims to build residential housing off of Eddy Street Commons through in the Triangle Residential District. Notre Dame is also making strides to maintain housing through the Notre Dame Avenue Housing Project.

“I think that’s a big conversation right now with gentrification,” Hodges said. “what happens when so many students are moving off-campus, and there’s a really good market and that’s how you’re going to make money, but that used to be a house where a family could have afforded to live. It’s not good or bad, but it’s balancing and sometimes it feels like it’s not very well-balanced.”

Through this mutually beneficial relationship, the city has grown, both in population as well as technology as the city’s population is up for the first time since 2000. Along with this, projects like Innovation and Ignition Park have begun to expose the area to new creative solutions to city problems, as well as provide support for student and local entrepreneurs.

“At the end of the day, it’s important for our leadership at multiple levels,” Caponigro said. “If our community doesn’t succeed, Notre Dame will not succeed — not at the level that we want to.”

Bringing the Farm Downtown: Purple Porch Co-op Cultivates Local Food

By Leong Weng Kuan and Molly Seidel • May 14th, 2017

Cafe Max photo

A Cafe Max cook sets out the Hot Bar’s daily specials (Photo/Molly Seidel)


In the heart of South Bend’s East Race district sits a tiny brick building with a wide-reaching impact. “PURPLE PORCH CO-OP” is spelled out in iron letters over a door through which a constant stream of people flow.

Inside, the small space is packed with shelves of whole foods, vibrant produce and a cozy cafe with smells that waft through the store.

“Knowing that I’m coming here to get some great food and also support the community just makes it more worthwhile,” said Kathleen Darling, a Purple Porch shopper. Darling, a student at Notre Dame, regularly visits the market and cafe to stock up on groceries and enjoy lunch from the salad bar.

The Purple Porch’s local market serves as community center, and the grocery store, cafe, and weekly farmers market provide city-dwellers access to sustainable and local foods right in the heart of urban South Bend.


bluebookiconRead more: Battling hunger in Indiana


Food co-ops have gained popularity around the country as a way for shoppers and producers to become more involved in their food choices.

And Purple Porch is no exception. The market is community-owned, democratically run, and has given shoppers a more transparent, sustainable and local grocery experience.

About 10 years ago, the co-op began as a weekly farmers market that brought together Michiana farmers with South Bend consumers. The goal was to combat a lack of fresh, locally-sourced foods within the city.

Over time the market grew, and by 2009 the member-owners of the co-op decided to rent space at Lang Lab on High Street, which houses up-and-coming business ventures in the city. An explosion of popularity after this move allowed the co-op to eventually buy their own building on Hill Street, which today contains the market/cafe and operates seven days a week.

Despite the growth, employees say the Purple Porch still retains the core values on which it was founded: local, sustainable, and transparent. The market specializes in locally grown and organic products from daily fresh produce to personal care items, and operates business with local farmers and producers between a 60-mile radius (local) to a 400-mile radius (regional) around South Bend.

360 photo: Inside the co-op

Inside of store – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

Why Choose Local?

While the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) defines local as a 400-mile radius, Purple Porch Co-op focuses heavily on products grown and produced within a 60-mile radius around South Bend.

“While this is somewhat flexible, we pride ourselves in our commitment to keeping the food miles to a minimum,” said Myles Robinson, front operations manager at the market. “That way the food being produced is more sustainable… and it helps people to have a connection to the things they’re eating.”

Dr. Susan Blum, a professor of Anthropology at the University of Notre Dame, said she has a strong passion for local food and the Purple Porch.

“Buying and eating foods that have been produced locally is tangible ways to make a difference in society’s broken systems,” she said, “and the Purple Porch is instrumental for that in South Bend.”

By supporting neighbors, mitigating unequal economies, and bringing wonderful food to people who would otherwise not have access, she said she believes that co-ops such as the Purple Porch serve as epicenters of positive community change.

Blum served for almost five years on the board of the Purple Porch Co-op, acting as president, vice president and secretary. She described the co-op as the “thing she thought about the most for several years.”

She was instrumental in structuring the co-op’s founding principles of sustainability, local sourcing, community involvement and transparent production.

“Purple Porch Co-op is a force for good in the community,” Blum said of the co-op. “And the food, when it is sustainable- and locally-produced like it is here, is truly delicious.”

Wednesday Farmers Market

The Purple Porch has grown significantly over the past several years, yet it continues to host the farmer’s market on a weekly basis every Wednesday. From Spring through Fall, local farmers and producers load up their trucks, drive the short distance to the co-op and set up tents in the parking lot. Local shoppers can browse the variety of fresh goods, as well as order online ahead of time to pick up their goods direct from the vendors.

The cooperation agreement indicates that Purple Porch only collects a 10 percent surcharge on all sales at the Wednesday market, giving local farmers a wider platform to sell their products and make a profit. Purple Porch Co-op aims to encourage communications between buyers and sellers and to support local food production.

“Local means knowing the people that you work with and being able to advocate for farmers… to help them grow their business,” Robinson said.

According to the farmer’s market policy, customers can meet and interact with local producers, so that consumers can better understand the growing process and where their food is coming from.

The online order services provided by Purple Porch Co-op helps local farmers to save time and budgets for knowing the amount of products that they should bring to the market. Market sellers are producing their food within a 60-mile radius of South Bend, which guarantees the food quality.

Creating an Oasis in a Food Desert

A “food desert” is defined as a low-income urban area that lacks access to grocery stores or healthy food options. For many living in these areas, supermarkets are often several miles away, restricting options to unhealthy fast food or convenience stores.

Dr. John Brett, a professor of Anthropology at the University of Colorado-Denver, recently finished research that examines the reason why the Park Hill neighborhood in Denver — one of the city’s wealthiest areas — has some of the highest rates of food insecurity.

“The key is not about convincing the community to let us come in, but is about to accepting the community as partners,” Brett said.

He stressed the need for “experts” in the field to listen to the life stories and experience of people living within food deserts. Greater understanding and compassion for the individuals affected by this crisis is crucial for treating the problem in the first place.

“Park Hill qualifies as a food desert, but now many people reconsider it as a ‘Food Swamp’ — there are lots of food but they’re not quality food.” he said, “Although there are convenience stores that you can get beers, cigarettes and lottery tickets, not fresh vegetables and meat.”

He said that enhancing the already existed resources is the easiest way to make a change in a food desert, for instance, trying to get funding to add fresh food items in convenience stores.

Food insecurity is essentially a systematic and ethnic problem, experts say.

“What we come down to is not a matter of lacking food access, but an inequity that created the lack of access, the reason of food insecurity is embedded in its historically determined and socially structured inequalities…the historical reason is predominantly African American becoming Latino neighborhood,” Brett said. “It’s a red line here – if you are non-whites, you can’t buy house there. It’s institutionalized, it’s not a problem of access to be fixed, it’s a system to be changed.”

Brett offered an example of how food access matters on elderly.

“If a 75-year-old man does not drive but take him two buses lines in hours and hours to reach a supermarket,” he said, “… in this case, the old man is geographically accessible to the supermarket, but socially, he can’t.” that’s what the food access problem is happening in Park Hill and that’s why local food is the remedy in any food desert.”

Purple Porch Co-op by Slidely Slideshow

Notre Dame by the Numbers: Breakdown of Fighting Irish Sports Statistics

By Staff • April 6th, 2017

Notre Dame hockey’s regular-season average attendance hit its lowest point since the opening of the Compton Family Ice Arena in October 2011.

Despite the low turnout, the program is having one of its most successful seasons in years. The fourth-seeded Irish topped both Minnesota and second-seeded UMass Lowell to head to the Frozen Four this weekend for the first time since 2011 and the third time in program history.

The following chart tracks the average attendance since the opening of the Compton Family Ice Arena six seasons ago. — Teagan Dillon


Disparities in Irish Men’s Basketball Scoring

On a 13-member team, four Notre Dame men’s basketball players scored 2,140 of the season’s 2,783 points:

  • Bonzie Colson (639)
  • V.J. Beachem (522)
  • Matt Farrell (506)
  • Steve Vasturi (473)

Four players scored nearly 78 percent of the team’s points, so the key to next year’s success could be a fifth starter who can score in the 400-point range. Temple Gibbs, this year’s fifth starter, scored 168. — Erin McAuliffe


Map: Documenting Indiana’s Underground Railroad Locations

By Erin Lattimer • February 21st, 2017

Due north of slave-owning state Kentucky, Indiana was an intuitive route for slaves seeking freedom in Canada during the 1860s. Stations were located across the state and were mainly only known by word-of-mouth.

The map below lists just a few of the Underground Railroad sites recorded in Indiana. Secrecy for protection led to little documentation of the sites, but organizations like Indiana’s Department of Natural Resources and the National Park Service attempt to keep a running list of documented Underground Railroad sites. These services are used to create points on this map.

List of Indiana’s Underground Railroad Sites:

Alexander T Rankin House
A member of Indiana’s Antislavery Society, Alexander Rankin was the only recorded person to also participate in Ohio’s Antislavery Society.

Bethel AME Church
This church was known as the “Indianapolis Station” and founded in 1836. After a fire in 1862, it was rebuilt in 1867. In 2016 it was sold to a private firm.

Captain Samuel Barry’s Home
One of the original founders of the town, Orland, Captain Samuel Barry’s home frequently gave refuge to escaped slaves.

Daniel Low Estate
Either by hiding them on board grain boats or sneaking them on to trains heading for Michigan and Canada, Daniel Low assisted approximately 150 slaves on the Underground Railroad.

Eleutherian College Classroom and Chapel Building
Symbolically built on top of a hill to demonstrate its commitment to “individual equality, education, and equal opportunity without regard to race or gender,” Eleutherian College was a well-known stop on the Underground Railroad for fugitives traveling through Madison to Indianapolis.

Erastus Farnham House
One of the leaders of the Underground Railroad movement in Fremont, Indiana, Erastus Farnham hid fugitives in his house and kept watch for slave catchers from the cupola on his roof.

Georgetown Neighborhood
At one point populated with abolitionists and freedom seekers, most of the original homes and churches from the Underground Railroad era still stand in this neighborhood.

Levi Coffin House
Owner Levi Coffin has been termed “president” of the Underground Railroad for assisting over 2,000 slaves to freedom as well as supporting other Underground Railroad stations throughout the North.

The Lyman and Asenath Hoyt House
Between 1830 and 1856 Lyman and Asenath Hoyt along with their seven children volunteered their home and property as a station of the Underground Railroad, hiding fugitives in their barn or a cave located on their land.

Thomas Bulla House
Owner Thomas Bulla and his family used their home to aid runaway slaves. The home is located on the campus of the University of Notre Dame.

Going Mobile: Documenting Five Days in South Bend and Beyond …

By Data Indiana staff • February 6th, 2017

Sixteen Notre Dame students. Sixteen smartphones. Five days.

Student reporters were told to use only their phones apps to document various news events, features and points of interest around South Bend, the state, and on Notre Dame’s campus from Feb. 1 through Feb. 6. They used apps such as Hyperlapse (timelapse), Bubbli 360-degree photo bubbles and various photo and recording apps to document the stories.

Here’s what they found …

Gary Church Ruins

My American Ruins class at Notre Dame took a field trip to Gary, Indiana, and explored many abandoned sites in the city once anchored by US Steel.

City United Methodist Church, the crumbled building featured below, is Gary’s most famous ruin, and many photographers come to Gary to capture its haunting beauty. It was built in 1925 and closed in 1975, and at its peak boasted 3,000 members.

The class also visited a train station, high school auditorium, and housing for workers that was in similar conditions. While at the church, our class ran into two other photoshoots, a testament to understanding industrial ruins in America as tourist destinations. — Janet Stengle


Keenan Revue Ticket Lines and ‘Protest’

The Keenan Revue, composed of skits written and performed exclusively by members of Keenan Hall, has been an annual tradition at Notre Dame. It also draws just shy of 4,000 people to the Stepan Center, and the free tickets had students and others lining up for hours on Feb. 1 to get them.





This 360-degree photo bubble shot by Hannah Scherer shows just how long the lines were. Mouse over it to move the image or swipe it on a mobile device.

Meyo Invitational

The prestigious indoor meet was held at Notre Dame’s Loftus Sports Center on Feb. 5 and 6. The meet was telecast online on WatchESPN.


Hesburgh Library Updates

Marie Fazio takes us on a tour of the library’s renovations.


Google Trends: Can Lyft Catch Uber in South Bend in Search?

By Dakota Connell-Ledwon • February 1st, 2017

You’ve probably used Uber, the ride-sharing app that lets you order a car to pick you up at your exact location. But there’s a new competitor in town–Lyft expanded its operations to South Bend last Thursday.

In a comparison of Google searches using Google Trends, Uber remained dominant after Lyft’s launch.

The graph shows that Google searches for Lyft increased after its launch at noon on Jan. 26–perhaps because the company advertised a $5 coupon promotion for riders beforehand–and searches for Uber were still higher but comparable at the time.

Over the weekend, thousands of protestors gathered at JFK airport to oppose President Trump’s executive order banning refugees and travelers from seven largely Muslim countries. While taxis joined the protest by striking and refusing to pick up passengers from JFK, Uber continued service–and even turned off surge pricing.

Lyft continued to operate as well, but kept surge pricing on and pledged $1 million to the American Civil Liberties Union. Uber’s actions spawned a boycott of the company around the country. But as the Lyft trend generally follows the same pattern as the Uber trend in the graph, it’s a small possibility that the boycott has affected Uber’s business in South Bend.

Moving into the weekend, the gap between searches for the two companies widened, with Uber peaking early in the morning on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Lyft experienced similar but much smaller peaks.

A city with multiple universities such as the University of Notre Dame and Indiana University South Bend is rich ground for ride-sharing companies. Freshman at the University of Notre Dame are prohibited from having a car on campus during their first semester. Students without cars have utilized Uber or taxi companies to get around in the past.

Google Trends will be useful in following interest in Lyft over the coming weeks–will it continue rising in popularity and cut into Uber’s ride-sharing monopoly on South Bend? Or will it fail to take off?

Timelapse: Satellite Images Show South Bend Growth Since 1984

By Mike Reilley • January 5th, 2017

This Google Earth Engine timelapse tool shows the expansion of South Bend over the past 30 years. The site uses NASA satellite images to show progressive change. [Hit the play button in the lower left to animate it]