Fourteen shops make up this unique Indiana shopping location, where visitors travel from as far away as Canada. Goshen, Indiana‘s City Trolley System once had a terminal inside the Old Bag Factory, and parts of the trolley line still remain. These Indiana businesses are set up like an outdoor open-air mall. Shops range in variety from gift stores, antique shops, artisans, an art gallery and even a cafe. This Indiana attraction is a fun destination for a day trip from Indianapolis.
The facility was originally built as a four-story manufacturing plant for Cosmos Buttermilk Soap. It was also the pride and joy for Goshen, because other Hoosier towns envied the trolley line. The three-mile route was developed by local entrepreneur J.J. Burns, and it transported people to Goshen’s south side. The trolley ran on an electric power generator, with rails on the ground and overhead wires for power. The electric trolley line ran until the 1930s.
The Old Bag Factory gets its name because of the two bag manufacturing businesses once operated there. In the early 19900s, the building was occupied by the Chicago-Detroit Bag Company. The Chase Bag Company took over in the 1920s, and remained for nearly 60 years.
After the Old Bag Factory building was abandoned for a couple of years, it was bought by a furniture company. Nancy and Larion Swartzendruber restored the brick building into shops, including their own Swarzendruber’s Furniture Galleries. This small business is the centerpiece of the shopping center. The stores around the 80,000 square foot factory were instantly popular. Mr. Swarzendruber did most of the facility renovations himself in 1984, which required fixing windows, new electricity, refinishing floors installing a heating system and other more extensive work.
Since 2003, country, folk, bluegrass and blues musicians have been performing on the third floor of the Old Bag Factory. The LVD Concert Hall is just another main attraction in Goshen, Indiana. The Trolley Cafe is a great place to catch lunch and dinner.
The Old Bag Factory also pays homage its long running place in Indiana history. The original switch panels for the Goshen trolley system are displayed with informational signs. It’s found in the lobby of the building, greeting visitors as they enter. Shops are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Fridays, and on weekend from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Goshen is only three hours north of Indianapolis, and dozens of day trip destinations are located along the route. The Doctor James Ford Historic Home in Wabash, Indiana is a fun stop to make when traveling north of the Circle City. The Warsaw Biblical Gardens is a peaceful and quiet place to meditate, pray or relax in the beauty of plant life mentioned in the Old Testament of the Bible. The Tri-County Fish and Wildlife Area is located near the gardens, a fun outdoor hot spot to enjoy the natural beauty of northern Indiana.
The Old Bag Factory is near a few other Elkhart County day trip destinations, including the Midwest Museum of Art in Elkhart and the Bonneyville Mill County Park in Bristol. The educational Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center is only a few miles from the Old Bag Factory in Goshen, a spectacular destination for an escape from Indy.