Taylor's Field

The Taylor's Field district was a stretch of empty land between the Michigan Road and a residential area to the east that stretched to the Birdsell industrial plant. This field was owned by South Bend pioneer and merchant, Colonel Lathrop M. Taylor. Colonel Taylor co-founded the City of South Bend with Alexis Coquillard. The district is located in what is now known as the Monroe Park neighborhood.

Taylor purchased 90 acres of "oak barren" from the United States government in the 1830s as investment property. This area, known as Taylor's Field, was often used into the 1890s as a place for circuses and menageries.

Taylor died in 1887 after living in his daughter's home during the final years of his life. Mary Taylor Nicar's house (617 South Saint Joseph) was one of the first homes built on Taylor's property (circa 1890), which became known as "Taylor's Block" when more residential construction occurred.

After Lathrop Taylor's death, his heirs, daughters, Eliza Wall and Mary Nicar, and son Thaddeus, and their spouses began subdividing the field for sale and development. The new subdivision, Taylor┬╣s Field First Addition (1893) soon became an upper-middle-class neighborhood. By 1905, both Saint Joseph Street and the west side of Carroll Street had a collection of amply sized Queen Anne and American Foursquare residences.

The Taylor's Field neighborhood was established and populated by many significant South Bend residents. They were South Bend's second generation of merchants, manufacturers and politicians, the sons and daughters of South Bend's most influential pioneers. Mary Taylor-Nicar and Virginius Nicar constructed the first residence on this field, and Joseph Thaddeus Taylor built his house in 1905 at 531 South Saint Joseph Street.

The remainder of the area, that of Carroll Street and west of Fellows, was developed later by Joseph Fellows and Hugh Denniston, partners in the development of South Bend's water power. These influential citizens created a close-knit neighborhood that was within easy commuting distance to South Bend's business district.

The area became one of South Bend's most beautiful and fashionable neighborhoods. The residents were able to maintain this atmosphere until just after World War II. At this time many of Taylor Field's houses were divided into apartments.