A step back in time: Robertson’s Department Store

Photo courtesy of Institutional Records Collection of the Civil Rights Heritage Center, Indiana University South Bend Archives

SOUTH BEND, Ind.—One stop on the IUSB Civil Rights Heritage Center’s African American Landmark Tour will take you back in time to an old downtown shop that once stood out among the rest.

The Robertson brothers opened the Robertson’s Department flagship location in 1925 at 211 S. Michigan St.

Unlike other local stores, Robertson’s allowed African Americans to try on clothing and hired one of the first African American secretaries in downtown South Bend.

The store closed in 1986. The site went unused until the South Bend Heritage Foundation redeveloped the location into affordable housing apartments, named Robertson’s Apartments, for seniors 55-years-old and older.

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