Historic Preservation

The Role of the Commission

The Historic Preservation Commission of South Bend & Saint Joseph County was established in 1973 the Saint Joseph County Common Council and the South Bend Common Council. The primary function of the Commission is to identify buildings, structures, sites and objects, which are architecturally or historically significant.The Commission was also granted powers to draft preservation guidelines and plans, advise other agencies on matters concerning historic sites and structures, and assist and educate the public. The Commission's jurisdiction includes the City of South Bend and the unincorporated areas of Saint Joseph County.

The Commission makes recommendations to the Common Council of South Bend or to the Saint Jospeh County County Council to designate local landmarks and historic preservation districts. Once a landmark or district is designated by ordinance, the Commission serves as the agency that administers the preservation standards required by the designation. These standards are a tool to maintain a structure's, a district's, or a landscape's character defining features. Application for a Certificate of Appropriateness is the formal manner through which the Commission moniters the character and condition of a landmark, or district.

Since 1973, approximately one hundred fifty local landmarks in the city and the county, nine local historic districts, and several National Register districts and single properties have been designated throughout South Bend and Saint Joseph County. About six thousand structures and sites have been identified in architectural surveys as contributing, notable or outstanding references and examples of the area's history.


The nine members of the Historic Preservation Commission are unpaid volunteers who serve for the good of the city and the county. Eight of the members are appointed by the legislative and executive branches of the City and County governments: two by the Board of County Commissioners, two by the County Council, two by the Mayor of South Bend, and two by the Common Council. Each body appoints one Democrat and one Republican. The ninth member is appointed by the Commission members and serves as the Architectural Historian or Historic Architect. Each member is appointed for a three year term, and must be knowledgeable in various aspects of preservation.

Contact Information 

The Historic Preservation Commission office is located at: 125 South Lafayette Blvd, South Bend, 46601 on the first floor of the Law Building. The Law Building is across Lafayette Blvd from the County-City Building. Staff may be reached by phone: 574-235-9798, fax: 574-235-9578,
or e-mail: SBSJCHPC@co.st-joseph.in.us


Copyright 2010