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Talking Transit with Taskforce Member Doug Hunt

A Little Holiday Story

By former State Senator Doug Hunt 

When I was a member of the Indiana Senate (the seat now held so well by Senator Dave Niezgodski), I had a holiday “ritual” of sorts before every January session, and it involved the late, great Circuit Judge John Montgomery.


Being the holiday season and before the Indiana General Assembly met in January, I met with the Judge in his chambers on a Saturday morning, always bringing a plate of cookies baked by my late wife Marlene.


One of the stories the Judge told me once was about his father, Chester Montgomery, who was Mayor of South Bend from 1926 to 1930. Turns out that Vincent Bendix was pretty new in town back then and wanted to expand his business in South Bend.  Bendix Corporation didn’t have many employees at all at that time… in fact only 12 as of 1923.

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Mayor Montgomery

But Vincent Bendix had a practical dream, to grow his company in whatever community would share his vision for the future.  Mayor Montgomery – Judge Montgomery’s father – committed  to extend water and sewer services to an undeveloped site on the west side of town.  The Mayor figured that the only way to assure Bendix was going to stay and grow in South Bend was if the infrastructure was in place to support that growth.


Well, the “infrastructure” today includes as a first step a study of the potential of the “RiverRail” Modern Streetcar project as a generational opportunity for the community.  Yes, a study for a chance at a generational change for our hometown.


… And by the way….. Bendix grew from 12 employees in 1923  to 6,000 employees here in 1952.

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