Chapin Park is both a National and Local historic district and includes Gothic Revival, Second Empire, Shingle, Queen Anne, Prairie and Eclectic Revival architecture. It was home to the leading citizens of the day. Restored turn-of-the century mansions are now home to a diverse community of homeowners who enjoy the easy access to downtown, parks and the river. Old houses and young families flourish in the near-downtown neighborhood that was once called "The Gold Coast." This was one of "the" places to live and still is. Prices range from the $100,000 range to more than $300,000.
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The Chapin Park neighborhood was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982 and as a Local Historic District in 2005. Architectural styles in the district include Gothic Revival, Second Empire, Shingle, Queen Anne, Prairie and Eclectic Revival. The Park Avenue neighborhood (now Chapin Park) attracted many of the leading citizens of the day. The restored turn-of-the-century mansions are now home to a diverse community of homeowners who enjoy the easy access to downtown, parks and the river.
Old houses and young families are flourishing in the Chapin Park neighborhood along the St. Joseph River immediately northwest of downtown South Bend. Here Horatio Chapin built a Gothic Revival home in 1857 and more mansions followed through the turn of the 20th century. "This was one of the places to live," one resident said, adding that the development had nearly 75 lots when the city annexed it in 1890. "They referred to this area as the Gold Coast." The "Gold Coast" had started to tarnish in the 1970s when the neighborhood recovery started. The neighborhood association started in 1972 when neighborhood women blocked city plans to pave the brick streets. "They parked cars in the street so they couldn't pave over it, and the city backed off," one resident recalled. That neighborhood association has grown stronger and there has been a multitude of homes restored attracting more and more people to this now shiny neighborhood.
"We were first attracted to this neighborhood because just driving through we were so impressed - there were not just one or two older houses in good condition, but one of the biggest and best collections we had seen," one said. "We fell in love with the neighborhood and later discovered it also has the nicest collection of neighbors."
Another resident who bought in Chapin Park years ago also came for a house and discovered a home and a neighborhood.
"I was initially attracted to the architecture of the house." she said. "But I found out that it's a place where everybody looks out for each other."
Chapin Park has an attractive diversity that includes University of Notre Dame professors, Mayor Stephen Luecke and his wife, Peg, as well as numerous ethnic groups. One man counts Italian, Dutch, Chinese, Swiss, Thai, Japanese and English neighbors nearby.
"There are a lot of young, upwardly mobile people that want to live in the city and like the fact you can walk to things downtown," he said.
"It's important to me that my kids grow up in a diverse, family friendly neighborhood" one woman said. With home prices ranging from $100,000 to more than $300,000, people coming in from both coasts marvel at how much house they can buy.
A woman who bought a 1903 home likes living close to downtown, "my children and I walk to the park, feed the ducks, walk to the Chocolate Cafe and the library," she said. "Plus there are many neighborhood events to enjoy, the Halloween party, Christmas caroling and a Summerfest are just a few."
Visit the Chapin Park Neighborhood website.