On the rolling hills of southeast South Bend, where the Oliver family's horses once roamed and kids once rode dirt bikes, deer now run among the mature trees and broad lawns of magnificent mansions that have grown up in the past 15 years. Deer Run's three dozen exquisite custom homes, priced as high as $1.5 million and as low as $600,000, are aesthetically situated on some 50 acres east of South Ironwood Road, near Inwood Road.
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On the rolling hills of southeast South Bend, where the Oliver family's horses once roamed and kids once rode dirt bikes, deer now run among the mature trees and broad lawns of magnificent mansions that have grown up in the last 15 years.
Deer Run's three dozen exquisite custom homes, priced as high as $1.9 million and as low as $600,000, are aesthetically situated on some 50 acres east of South Ironwood Road, near Inwood Road.
"It's where Mr. Oliver used to keep a stable and horses," said developer Jim Rans, who bought the land from the Oliver family. "They wanted to see higher-end houses go in there. We usually look for land that has some character to it."
(The Oliver family, which still owns land and houses northeast of Deer Run, put the proceeds from the sale of the land in its Oliver Memorial Trust Foundation for charitable causes.)
The relatively new development of stately brick and columned residences earned a mention in the Chamber of Commerce of St. Joseph County's "Our Communities" web page, which touts "the exceptional custom homes of Erskine Manor and Deer Run."
Rans, who developed two ponds on the land, picked the natural name from his observation when he was building a large house in the older Topsfield subdivision nearby.
"Every morning when we got to work, there was always a bunch of deer," he said.
The name still fits, says a woman who moved to Deer Run with her husband. "We do see a lot of deer." The couple, who were native south-siders, had moved away for a while but couldn't wait to come back.
"We like the south side," she said. "We tried living in Granger for about three years. It didn't have the same feel. We were waiting for something to open up in Deer Run."
The welcome when they moved confirmed their choice.
"It's just a whole different atmosphere here," she said. "Everybody is so friendly. People brought over baked goods and flowers. It was so nice."
A woman who built in Deer Run in 1994 and became president of the neighborhood association has watched the development grow without becoming crowded.
"We were the fourth house in the neighborhood," she said. "It's pretty secluded and pretty private. Most of the lots are three-fourths of an acre. There are a couple of families that own 2 lots."
Sidewalks and street lights enhance the extra-large lots, and many residents jog or walk their dogs.
A woman who moved from Fishers with her husband and young children enjoys the neighborliness.
"It was close to my husband's work, and we liked the neighborhood," she said. "We're new and probably the youngest. In the summer we all get together and there are elegant Christmas parties." However, the friendliness comes with a respect for privacy. "We have quick access to everything – south side shopping is just minutes away, as is the US 20 Bypass and downtown is not that far."