River Bend

The River Bend local historic district was designated by ordinance in 1992. It is a collection of buildings reflective of a specific era of South Bend`s architectural development - the commencement of the 20th century until just after World War II. The majority of the houses were built between 1903 and 1920.

This district is located immediately to the north of the original town of South Bend. The area was platted in 1903 by real estate developers Leslie Whitcomb and Seth Hammond as Hammond & Whitcomb`s Addition. This addition contains all of the area between Bartlett Street, Riverside Drive, Marion Street, and North Saint Joseph Street. In the 19th century, the land had been the site of the Kankakee Mill Race (also known as Coquillard`s Folly). The Mill Race connected the Saint Joseph River with the Kankakee River that was located five miles south of the city until the 1850s when the mill race failed. A four-story grist mill stood here from 1837 until the 1850s. After 1885, the land was the site of Soen's Brick and Drying Yards, and in the 1890s, a few houses and businesses were located on Michigan Street just west of the neighborhood.

By the turn of the century, houses were beginning to be built on Marion and Navarre Streets just outside of the district. Saint Joseph Street ended at the brickyard. The 1904 City directory showed that houses were built on Navarre, the east side of Saint Joseph Street, and Hammond Court after platting of the Hammond & Whitcomb subdivision.

Among the earliest buildings in the district are 225 Hammond Place, an intact turn-of-the-century Cross Gable house and the Gable and Ell at 230 Hammond. Both were built in 1904. By 1912, thirty-nine houses had been built. In 1921, the neighborhood as it stands today was essentially in place.