What exactly is Michiana?

Published 11:57 pm Wednesday, January 18, 2012

What do Edwardsburg Michigan and Tampa Florida have in common?
Edwardsburg is considered a part of Michiana.  It is a name given to a region in Northern Indiana and Southwestern Michigan.  Everyone thinks that Michiana is just the area around South Bend and Edwardsburg is a part of that area.
In 1934 Thurman Cook gave the area the name in a contest held by the Associated South Bend Merchants. Michiana is defined by The Chamber of Commerce of St. Joseph County as the counties within a 60-mile driving distance to South Bend. There are 15 counties in Indiana and Michigan that fit that description. This is called the Greater Michiana area. However, the actual Michiana area only includes seven counties. They are St. Joseph, Elkhart, LaPorte, Marshall and Starke in Indiana and in Michigan, Cass and Berrien. Businesses, newspapers and television stations refer to the area as Michiana.
Recently there has been some discussion about the name of Michiana. Because it is  not a legal or political entity, opinions differ as to what counties and communities comprise the region. Also, the argument is founded on the premise that Indiana and Michigan should be kept as two distinct areas and not joined together. Cass County is so closely identified with Indiana that once it considered seceding  from Michigan and joining Indiana.
At one time my Dad called Edwardsburg “the hub of Michiana,” claiming that Edwardsburg was surrounded by Cassopolis, Elkhart, Mishawka, South Bend and Niles. All of these towns revolve around Edwardsburg, which makes it a logical center of them all.
How does this relate to Tampa, Fla.? Tampa is part of a region known as Tampa Bay. Tampa Bay is a body of water surrounded by cities of which one is Tampa. But there is much controversy about lumping all of the surrounding towns into one region. The Bay is surrounded by the cities of Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater as well as other smaller towns.
There is ongoing discussion of what counties constitute the Bay Area. Some say four counties, Pinellas, Hillsborough, Hernando and Pasco. Others include three additional counties, Manatee, Sarasota and Polk.
Recently the St. Petersburg Times adopted a new name. It is now the Tampa Bay Times.  The all encompassing title seems to be embraced by the area. Tampa is considered the hub of the Tampa Bay area.
These are two unofficial regions with Tampa and Edwardsburg as the hubs gives them a commonality. Edwardsburg and Tampa are hubs.