Historic Preservation Commission


The Historic Preservation Commission of South Bend and St. Joseph County was established in 1973 by the St. Joseph County 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, to draft preservation guidelines and plans, advise other agencies on matters concerning historic sites and structures, and assist and educate the public.

The Commission makes recommendations to the Common Council or to the St. Joseph County County Council to designate Local Landmarks and Local Historic 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 (COA) is the formal manner through which the Commission monitors the character and condition of a Landmark or District.


The Nine volunteer board members of the Historic Preservation Commission are appointed for three year terms and are knowledgeable in various aspects of local history, historic preservation, and traditional trades.

Eight members are appointed by the legislative and executive branches of South Bend and St. Joseph County governments, two by the County Commissioners, two by the South Bend Common Council, two by the County Council, and two by the Mayor of South Bend. Each body appoints one Democrat and one Republican. The ninth member is the Architectural Historian and is appointed by the Historic Preservation Commission.

Staff are employees of the City of South Bend, in the Department of Community Investment, a part of the Planning Team. 


Since 1973, approximately 200 Local Landmarks in South Bend and St. Joseph County, 9 Local Historic Districts, and several National Register Districts and properties have been designated. About 6,000 sites and structures have been identified in architectural surveys as Outstanding, Notable, or Contributing resources of the area's history.