About This Place
Niles is a city in Berrien and Cass counties in the U.S. state of Michigan, near South Bend, Indiana. The population was 11,600 at the 2010 census. It is the greater populated of two principal cities of and included in the Niles-Benton Harbor, Michigan Metropolitan Statistical Area, which has a population of 156,813.
Located primarily in Berrien County, Niles lies on the banks of the St. Joseph River, at the site of the French Fort St. Joseph, first established in 1691. After 1761, it was held by the British and was captured on May 25, 1763, by Native Americans during Pontiac's Rebellion. The British retook the fort but it was not regarrisoned and served as a trading post. During the American Revolutionary War, the fort was held for a short time by a Spanish force. The presence of these three European powers in the area, as well as the United States, has earned Niles the nickname City of Four Flags.
The town was named after Hezekiah Niles (editor of the Niles Register, a Baltimore newspaper.) The town of Niles as it exists today was settled in 1827. Between 1820 and 1865, Niles was an integral part of the Underground Railroad, helping slaves escape from as far south as New Orleans through the Heartland, and eventually into Canada.