Historic Districts

The interactive map is designed to provide Historic property information for locations within St Joseph County. The map also includes information such as street names, parcel boundaries, and city boundaries. This mapping application can also be viewed in full-screen.

About Historic Districts
An historic district is a geographically definable area with a significant concentration of buildings united by past events, design, material, or related historical associations. There are Local and National Historic Districts.

Local Historic Districts are designated by the South Bend Common Council or the St. Joseph County Council with preservation guidelines that protect the character and value of these areas.

The National and State Registers of Historic Places are designated by the National Parks Service and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Department of Historic Preservation and Archaeology and are primarily honorary.

Local Historic Districts
Local Historic Districts in South Bend have been established at various times. The South Bend Common Council designated the West North Shore Drive Historic District in 1978 as the first historic preservation district established. Eight additional Local Historic Districts have been designated since, including: Chapin Park, East Wayne Street, Edgewater Place, Lincoln Way East, North Saint Joseph Street, River Bend, Riverside Drive, and Taylor's Field.

The variety of buildings in these districts: residences, carriage houses, firehouses, and commercial structures. They exhibit South Bend's diverse architectural character and the fine craftsmanship used to build the city's neighborhoods, parks, and commercial areas. They are also the beloved neighborhoods of several hundred South Bend residents. Steadily, much improvement in the historic neighborhoods has been accomplished by their care and hard work.

Local Historic Districts are a zoning overlay that does not change current zoning but does includes more comprehensive standards for the protection of these areas. Designation of Local Historic Districts is based on the following criteria: historic and cultural significance, educational value, and suitability for preservation.

When a neighborhood or area seeks historic district designation, the Historic Preservation Commission staff and the Historic Districts Committee work with the members of the neighborhood association or community steering committee to write guidelines and standards that protect and maintain the character-defining features of the area. Though each district's standards are similar in many ways, each neighborhood is able to add components that are unique to the district, provided they fall within the historic preservation parameters set by the Secretary of the Interior of the National Parks Service. For example, the Chapin Park neighborhood association specifically added language to protect their historic brick streets and vintage streetlights .All of the districts have opted for Rehabilitation Standards. Under this category, restoration is encouraged but not required. Modern materials and construction methods may be used if they are compatible with the district per each district's guidelines.

Local Historic District Standards and Guidelines are available in PDF form via the "Guidelines" page.

Local Historic District status provides benefits to a designated area. The standards and guidelines put in place and administered by the Historic Preservation Commission protect characteristic architectural features of individual properties and the scale, massing and other features of the district. These guidelines provide stability to central city neighborhoods and guide appropriate change and development. Recent studies in Indiana have found that property values in historic districts stabilize or rise due to preservation guidelines. Historic District status also provides an area with a centralized location for technical resources and advice provided by the Historic Preservation Commission and its partners. The Historic Preservation Commission meetings serve as a public forum and discussion about the districts and the county's cultural resources.

National Register Historic Districts
St. Joseph County and South Bend boasts many historic districts that are important to the historic development of the area and are connected to national historic trends. National Register Districts are listed after the completed nomination is approved by the State Historic Preservation Officer and the Keeper of the National Register of Historic Places. As a Certified Local Government agency, the Historic Preservation Commission may also process National Register nominations. To be listed, a district or property must pass certain historical and architectural criteria to be placed on the register.

To find a complete listing of properties on the National Register of Historic Sites and Places in Saint Joseph County, please visit the DNR's SHAARD Database.