Saint Casimir Parish

- Chapin Park - East Wayne Street - Edgewater Place -
- Howard Park -
Lincolnway East - Muessel-Drewery Brewery -
- North Saint Joseph Street - River Bend - Riverside Drive -
- Saint Casimir Parish - Singer Brothers Manufacturing Company -
- South Michigan Street - Taylor's Field - West North Shore Drive
- West Washington

The Saint Casimir Parish National Register District, listed in 1996, is bounded by West Sample Street, the Conrail Railroad tracks, and Arnold Street.

The Saint Casimir Parish Historic District, surrounded by railroads and present and former factories [mostly cleared for redevelopment except the Oliver Chilled Plow Boiler House; now Rose Brick], lies in the heart of South Bend's traditionally industrial southwest side. A working-class residential neighborhood from its beginnings in the 1870s, the neighborhood has only a few distinctive buildings other than its two churches, but as a whole the area is remarkably intact and visually and architecturally cohesive.

Most of the streets east of Harris (formerly Wilson within the district; the name changed in the early twentieth century) are still paved with brick; there are none west of Harris. Most of the western part of the district, originally more low-lying and swampy in spots, was platted later than the eastern part, the bulk in two segmnets: the Gorsuch Addition around Pulaski and Kosciuszko in 1890, and in 1901, the Taylor Addition adjacent to the west around Jackson and Brookfield. Smaller additions was platted in the next few years. The area east of Harris -- or more correctly, east of the alley west of Harris -- had been completely subdivided by 1896, about two-thirds of it in the 1870s. Some of the buildings constructed around the turn of the century and later in this part of the district replaced older dwellings from the 1870s and 80s, such as the tavern built in 1905 at 1201 Dunham.

The district is named for its parish church, Saint Casimir, at the southwest corner of Webster and Dunham. The present church was constructed in 1924-25 to replace the first, still extant, completed in 1899 as a combination church and school on the northwest corner of Fisher and Webster. Altered somewhat (its towers were lopped off and false gables [were] added), the Romanesque Revival building presently houses a Head Start Program(1996) and space for community activities. Immediately to the north, the present Saint Casimir Church was designed by the Chicago architecture firm of Wortherman and Steinbach. The imposing structure displays considerable Romanesque Revival influence but features a soaring Italian Renaissance dome-topped campinile at its northeast corner, bedecked wit hfour large statues of angels. The church boasts a large rose window surrounded with glazed tile above its round-arched entrance portal roofed with curved tile. The rectory, built in 1901-1902, lies to the west at 1316 Dunham. Of birck and relatively unadorned despite some obvious Queen Anne influence, the substantial dwelling has a steeply pitched hipped roof and a wraparound procj on the north and east...

About four blocks to the southwest at 1601 Sample Street is Saint Mary of the Holy Roasary Polish National Church, whose construction began in 1915, about a year after the church was chartered. Exhibiting both Romanesque and Gothic influences, the one-story brich church is dominated by a two-and-a-half story square entrance tower topped by a bellcast pyrimidal roof...

The Saint Casimir's Parish Historic District is significant under Criterion A, as it is strongly associated with the three dominant industries in South Bend: the once adjacent Oliver Chilled Plow Works to the east, Studebaker only a few blocks beyond, and Singer, just to the northwest across the railroad tracks. Its chief area of significance is its ethnic heritage: the district embodies the development and growth -- and later, the decline -- of a Polish workingclass neighborhood and parish. Even today [1996] it is visually representative of a typical turn-of-the-century ethnic workingclass neighborhood. Here, too, significant events in regional religious history took place in 1914, the so-called Bloody Sunday riot at Saint Casimir's Church and the near-simultaneous founding in the neighorhood of South Bend's first and only Polish National Catholic Church, Saint Mary of the Holy Rosary.

-- Excerpts from the Saint Casimir Parish Historic District National Register Nomination Form, 1996
By Glory-June Grieff, Consulting Historia


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