South Bend, Indiana

The history of this midwestern city is rooted in the river it sits on -and how it’s had to evolve with industry’s past and present…Oh, and also a very famous University that’s next door.

Established in 1865, South Bend saw a business boom in industry thanks to the St. Joseph River. Studebaker, Oliver Chilled Plow, and Singer Sewing machines were just a few of the big names. But we can’t forget the University of Notre Dame. It’s a huge influence on economy and culture in South Bend to this day.

Indiana Dunes

Formed more than 10-thousand years ago by glaciers, the area was first home the Miami and Potawatomi tribes. The area quickly thrived thanks to its location to not just Lake Michigan, but also rivers –helping the fur trade and eventually steel production, flourish. But water wasn’t the only mode of transpiration that brought in commerce. Railroads brought in goods and people.

Today, the Indiana Dunes are a hot spot for visitors in the Midwest and beyond.

Green Lake Wisconsin

Green Lake, Wisconsin

Green Lake is about seven miles wide, and its maximum depth is 237 feet, making it the deepest natural lake in all of Wisconsin.

It’s a great spot for fishing, golfing, sailing, canoeing, hiking, biking, and pretty much any relaxing outdoor activity you can think of. Some people even come here to SCUBA dive.

Sister Bay, Wisconsin

If you googled popular Wisconsin tourist spots, Sister Bay would definitely be at the top of the list. Sister Bay was named after the unincorporated Sister Islands just off the horizon in the bay.Its endless shoreline has been a hotspot for tourists since the late...
Rockford, Illinois

Rockford, Illinois

Rockford is the largest city in Illinois outside of the Chicago area. It was originally known as “Midway Village” because, for travelers, it was halfway between Chicago and Galena.

This city was known for industrial manufacturing in the last century but today it’s been retooled into a center for healthcare and aerospace technology.

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Le Claire, Iowa

Le Claire is a storied river town, a classic Mississippi River port that boomed in the mid-19th century. The old river pilot homes are still here, which are testament to the fact that river pilots were needed because here is where the river makes a sharp turn to the...
Kalamazoo Michigan

Kalamazoo, Michigan

n 1900, Kalamazoo was the celery capital of the world! No kidding. The nearby “mucklands” –which must not exist where I live-are perfect for growing celery! Earlier, in the second half of the 1800’s, Kalamazoo was known as paper city. The Bryant Paper Company here in Kalamazoo became largest Michigan manufacturer of book paper. And by World War II, a score of local mills made Kalamazoo the largest paper producer in the nation.

Rochester, Minnesota

Rochester is located in Southeastern Minnesota. It’s about an hour and a half drive south west of the Twin Cities and about 50 miles due east of Winona on the Mississippi River. Today, Rochester has residents and visitors from all around the world. The population of the city is about 120,000 and the Mayo Clinic employs over 40,000 of them.


Stillwater, Minnesota

On the corner of Myrtle and Main Streets in Stillwater, Minnesota began.
So why here? Well… when Wisconsin became a state in 1848, that left people west of the St. Croix river “high and dry” with no government.

So, the people of Stillwater held a territorial convention right here and voted to send a delegate to Washington D.C. to organize a new territory called “Minnesota” which became a territory in 1849, and a state in 1858.

Milwaukee’s Harbor District

As the name proclaims…The Harbor District begins at the mouth of the Lake Michigan Harbor and stretches southdown the river.

The Harbor District surrounds Milwaukee’s Inner Harbor–the place where our three rivers come together –The Milwaukee, Menomonee and Kinnickinnic River all flow into the harbor of Milwaukee at Lake Michigan.

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South Haven, Michigan

Being right on Lake Michigan, South Haven Michigan has always been a port city. In the late 1800’s the surrounding timber industry gave way to farming, but another industry grew very well here–the resort and tourism industry.

Sandy beaches, lovely lake breezes and a charming downtown still make South Haven a popular summer tourist destination. South Haven is in southwestern Michigan, along Intestate 196 at the mouth of the Black River on the shores of Lake Michigan.

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Dubuque, Iowa

Dubuque, Iowa was and is, first and foremost, a river town. The mighty Mississippi is worked, revered and enjoyed here by locals and visitors alike.

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Full episodes, behind the scenes footage, links to places featured on the show, and more!

Main Street is alive and well.

It’s where the heart of the community beats the loudest.


It’s also where you will find five-time Emmy award-winning actor and host John McGivern. Enjoyed by a nationwide audience, John’s unique brand of storytelling is expanding across the Midwest.

Growing up in the Midwest in an Irish Catholic family, John’s own experiences and memories are relatable and remind us all of our shared Midwest heritage.

Through lively interviews with local residents and civic leaders, John uncovers the uniqueness and charm of each community he visits.

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Midwest States Covered in John McGivern's Main Streets

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Together, we can support these wonder Main Streets and give them the kind of exposure that allows them to grow and prosper in the future.