Afternoon on Ford Street


At 4:00 PM on Wednesday April 11th I touched down on Ford Street to savor this newfound warmth with a photo stroll. Ford Street, populated by a flawless mixture of homes and commercial structures, runs just South of Western Avenue through the heart of South Bend's West Side.

I began near Olive Street, walked East on Ford, and turned around when the street ends at the old Oliver Plow grounds. Enjoy the views:


This political sign-covered storefront on the corner of Ford and Philippa always catches my eye. Aside from the allure of the signs, the bright yellow door, calm blue entryway, and beautifully preserved masonry detailing around the windows combine to create a gem.


Just a few blocks off Olive I ran into the West Side Democratic Club. This landmark is most notable for Dyngus Day celebrations attracting both Bobby Kennedy and Bill Clinton during significant election cycles:

When Bobby Kennedy came to South Bend on Dyngus Day 50 years ago, a highlight was his appearance at the packed West Side Democratic & Civic Club in the heart of a large, vote-vital Polish-American area.
— Jack Colwell, South Bend Tribune

Perhaps the most striking structure on this stretch of Ford Street is Juan Camaney – a Mexican restaurant specializing in Pupusas. It is incredibly orange with hits of white reserved for the windows and doors. Beyond aesthetic, the food is delicious. You won't see a big sign outside, but you can find the entrance on the backside off the parking lot.

I owe my introduction to Juan Camaney to my friend Sam Centellas and his West Side Wednesday lunches. If you're searching for good people + good food, stay up on their Facebook group: West Side SB.


Shortly after Juan Camaney you run into a ground-level railroad crossing. I find that non-West Siders are often surprised how close the train runs to homes, with minimal barriers between the tracks and the neighborhood. It gives a lot of context for understanding the history of these neighborhoods as communities that grew in service to the growing industrial corridor.

This train issue was resurrected last Fall after the East Side fought to retain 'quiet zones' – something that West Side neighborhoods have never enjoyed. Council members Tim Scott and Regina Preston are pushing for the city to do the necessary work to extend these zones across the city.

We need quiet zones on the east side, we need quiet zones on the west side
— Tim Scott, via South Bend Tribune