Fit for a King (or a Princess)?

by Tracy Molnar on March 22, 2007

Princess Mishawaka MonumentNestled behind the expansion of Mishawaka’s Wastewater Treatment Plant in Lincoln Park is a monument of strategically placed rocks and boulders. The largest boulder sports a plaque detailing Princess Mishawaka’s history and her burial somewhere near the monument.

It sounds like a nicely executed tribute to the city’s namesake. The problem is that the monument seems to have been forgotten by the city. Not only is there garbage and knee-high weeds all around it, but the construction crew for the aforementioned expansion is using the space around the monument as a holding ground for piles of metal and other construction materials.

So why is this monument of a grave site being so poorly cared for by the city? The reason can’t be that it’s not seen from other city-maintained property and therefore forgotten. Standing at the monument, you can clearly see the end of the river walk path with manicured landscaping. And the site is also just moments from the Mishawaka Parks Department – a collection of people with landscaping knowledge and the tools to assist.

The park’s website does mention that the expansion of the Wastewater Treatment Plant is temporarily consuming the park, but there has to be a better balance between slacking off during expansion and outright disrespect to its Princess.


{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Joe & Darla Carroll June 26, 2007 at 10:12 am

Darla and I agree. We noticed this horrible situation during a walk back in early June of 2007. This monument to the namesake of our city should be a major highlight of the Riverwalk project. It should be surrounded by beautiful landscaping, good lighting at night and please, please more placards with detailed historical information about Princess Mishawaka. We feel this is equally ( if not more ) as important as any monument to Ball Band/Uniroyal. Also, can we verify this is really the burial site ?……Thank you, Joe & Darla Carroll

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Tracy June 28, 2007 at 1:35 pm

Joe and Darla,
I’m glad to know others feel the same. I submitted comments to the Mishawaka Park’s Department as well as the Mayor of Mishawaka via the City’s website http://www.mishawakacity.com and have yet to receive any feedback. Very disappointing. I realize the construction nearby could make it difficult to keep pristine. However, the monument is on the outskirts of the activity and could at least be kept presentable.
As far as the exact burial site, I recall that the placard states her burial is “somewhere near” the monument so perhaps not in the exact location. I’ve been unable to find any other information stating more specifics.
Thanks for writing!
Tracy Molnar

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Ken Prince October 24, 2007 at 11:44 am

Every once in a while a website is brought to our attention and sometimes it is a good format to provide information to the public.

On behalf of the City of Mishawaka thank you for both your concern and comments. I am the City Planner for Mishawaka and the Project Manager for the various sections of the riverwalk under construction and planned for the future.

Yes, the area is a construction zone due to the wastewater expansion and it will not be cleaned until the end of this year. Then, sometime in the late Spring of 2008, the area will be disturbed again as part of the riverwalk expansion that will connect the Logan Street Bridge to Kamm Island. As a grant, the City is receiving over $800,000 in Federal funds (75% of the construction cost) to make this connection. This project includes a small bridge over the outfall of the wastewater teatment plant, a complete rehab of the historic WPA restroom building, and planting enhancements with new walks by the boulders representing Princess Mishawaka’s gravesite. Based on the current schedule, these improvements should be completed by the end of 2008.

It should also be noted that this is a “symbolic” gravesite. What we understand from the late Merle Blue, a local Mishawaka historian, from his research of indian records, that there never was an actual Princess Mishawaka in this area and that the story is a legend. It is the legend of our namesake, and thus important, but no one is actually buried there. The boulder site was established in 1932 as part of the centennial celebration of the City, but funding for the statue envisioned at the time was never realized. Since that time, a statue of the Princess was created and is proudly dispayed adjacent to City Hall.

According to Betty Berger Hans, the name Mishawaka was derived from the indian language for “Swift Water”, “Big Rapids”, or “Thick Woods Rapids” – Mish-a-wa-ka.

Please feel free to contact me directly if you have any questions. I have plans on the Riverwalk in my office at City Hall if anyone would like to see them.

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