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Mishawaka’s history began with the discovery of iron deposits during the 1830s. Settlers arriving to mine established the town of St. Joseph Iron Works, and in a few years, it had a blast furnace, a general store, a bar, and about 200 people. Business flourished, and in 1833 St. Joseph Iron Works, Indiana City, and two other nearby towns were combined to form the city of Mishawaka.

In 1872, a fire consumed three quarters of Mishawaka’s downtown, however, the residents rebuilt and attracted new industry. The Dodge Manufacturing Company, Perkins Windmills and the Mishawaka Woolen and Rubber Company all led the town to prosper. In the late 1800s Mishawaka became known as the "Peppermint Capital of the World", because the area's soil produced huge quantities of mint.

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