History

Reprinted with permission from the Historic Preservation Commission

historypageThe Chapin Park National Register Historic District was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1982. In 2005, the Chapin Park Local Historic District was established in order to protect the Chapin Park's historic character. The neighborhood is notable as one of the highest concentrations of architecturally significant structures in the city.

The district was named for Horatio Chapin, who purchased this tract of land just north of the city limits in 1855. Upon acquiring the property he built a Gothic Revival structure (407 Navarre) on what became his country estate. Chapin surrounded the house with an extensive orchard and named the area Chapin Park.

Chapin was a banker, theologian, horticulturist, scientist, businessman and founder of the local First Presbyterian Church. The estate remained intact until his death in 1871; it was then divided by his children, Mary and Edward. Mary (Anderson) had a house constructed at what is now 710 Park Avenue. It was built facing Lamonte Creek and was later turned to face Park Avenue when the creek was put underground.

In 1890 Edward Chapin platted the western portion of the estate as Park Avenue; Mary platted the area due east shortly thereafter. In 1891 Christopher Fassnacht, owner of the South Bend Lumber Company, bought the Chapin House and moved it one block south and east. He developed the southern portion of the property as a neighborhood intended to appeal to the wealthier citizens of South Bend. The demands of a growing city made the area a successful development venture; by 1910 the neighborhood stood essentially as it appears today.