17 February 2014

Sticking with the French theme: LaSalle Avenue, South Bend


Studebaker family house, West LaSalle Ave., c. 1880
 South Bend has a number of great residential historic districts, West Washington and the Chapin Street Historic District being two of the best-known.  Recently a short three-block district running along West LaSalle Street, just north of the Washington Street neighborhood was also listed to the National Register.

The West LaSalle Avenue Historic District is comprised of six portions of subdivisions created prior to 1900 in the City of South Bend.  The eastern half of the district was created in the “State Banks First Addition” to the City of South Bend.  This addition included the Chapin Subdivision between West LaSalle (then known as Water Street) and Lincolnway (then known as Michigan Avenue) from the point these streets converge east of the district (Michigan Avenue angles northwesterly) to the west side of 505 West LaSalle Avenue.  The Studebaker Subdivision was laid out west of the Chapin Subdivision, also between LaSalle Avenue and Lincolnway, and ended at Scott Street which lies to the west side of the Studebaker home.  Chapin and Studebaker are two of the names most associated with the early development of the city.  The Kuppler Subdivision was platted north of West LaSalle from the western border of the Studebaker Subdivision west to North Cushing Street, west of the district boundary; Christopher and Anna Kuppler created the subdivision and lived at 705 W. LaSalle Avenue.

Jacob Freyermuth House, West LaSalle Ave., c. 1875
Most of the homes in the district were constructed in the late 1800s and early 1900s (about 1885-1915).  But there are a handful that are slightly older.  One of them is one of the Studebaker family homes constructed before the family really hit it big.  Another house was built by Jacob Freyermuth, a noted builder and owner of a lumber yard.  His son went on to create one of South Bend's most prolific architectural firms.

By 1923 the Chicago Lake Shore and South Bend Railroad Company chose this area of LaSalle Avenue, from the City Cemetery west of the district to the downtown east of the district, as the route of the interurban electric railroad.  Later known as the “South Shore”, this section of track was abandoned in 1970.  No visible evidence of the electric railroad exists in the district.

1 comment:

Jim said...

Wonder if the interurban tracks, along with the presumably brick streets into which they were laid, are buried under asphalt.