The Edgewater Place Historic District is a hidden gem with obvious beauty once people find it. Designated as a Local Historic District in 1980, Edgewater Place is tucked away in the southernmost bend of the St. Joseph River near downtown. Early development started in 1871 with Edgewater Place Addition being developed by Whitcomb & Keller in the 1920s. This neighborhood was home to South Bend's merchants and professionals. Edgewater's current wave of families and young professionals is adding energy to the enclave at the river's turn that gave South Bend its name. Fixer uppers start at around $80,000 and restored beauties along the river can are valued at $200,000 and above.
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The Edgewater Place Historic District is a hidden gem with obvious beauty once people find it.
Designated as a Local Historic District in 1980, Edgewater Place is tucked away in the southernmost bend of the St. Joseph River near downtown. George A. Frantz in 1871 platted the district's first neighborhood, containing only seven houses. Further development took place with the platting of the Harper Court Addition in 1889. Edgewater Place Addition was one of the first developed by Leslie Whitcomb and Frederick Keller in the 1920s. Whitcomb owned a 1920 Prairie-style residence and Keller resided in a 1923 Tudor Revival-style home. Many employees of their firm also lived there, joined by other South Bend merchants and professionals. Edgewater's current wave of families and young professionals is adding energy to the enclave at the river's turn that gave South Bend its name.
While the neighborhood had lost some of its original luster a new wave of home buyers has joined old-timers to fashion a quality of life worthy of the historic homes and picturesque settings that make up the neighborhood.
"More and more people are getting involved," said an active member of the community, who has lived in Edgewater since the late 1980s. There are four active committees working on ways to help the neighborhood shine in the brightest light possible. "I adore the neighborhood," said a man who lives in nearby Monroe Park but joined the Lincolnway committee because his business is on the street.
"It's a wonderful neighborhood. I think it's a hidden gem of a neighborhood."
"I love the river and living in Edgewater just because it's unique," said an Evanston, Ill., native who moved in a few years ago, when she married a man who had bought his house in the late 1990s. "We like older homes.
"I like it that it has trees and the river and a little more nature. We walk to the Farmers Market on Saturdays. We walk downtown to eat. I can walk where I need to go."
Another longtime homeowner, originally from the south side of Chicago, welcomes the youth and energy that is invigorating the neighborhood. She remembers her surprise when her sister showed her the somewhat-hidden neighborhood, when she first started house hunting. "I didn't know this existed," she said. "I love being here on the river. This is just perfect for me. It's the best of the city. It doesn't feel like an urban setting. You wake up to the birds and the squirrels and the ducks and the geese."
The setting was home in the 1920s to a sizable Jewish population that worshiped in the historic synagogue near Coveleski stadium.
Neighborhood activity has steadily increased in recent years.
"In the very early years, in my experience, the neighborhood association organized things like Christmas caroling and perhaps not much else," said a woman, who bought a home in 1985. "Now, we're taking about enhancing an already-high quality of life."
"I love the fact that the streets are quiet and neighbors know each other. I like the older homes," she added. "The thing I like most is the front porches. It's something that doesn't exist much any more."
A couple who moved to Edgewater from Evansville, Ind., enjoys the close walks to downtown events and employers, the Farmers Market and the grassy parks at each end of Edgewater.
"You are in a little pocket," she said. "We both always lived in historic districts."
Home prices in the district start around high $80s for a fixer-upper and they top out above $200,000 for restored beauties along the water. Residents work hard to keep their properties well-maintained and attractive.
"It's all about the view where I live," said a woman who moved in 1987 to the 19th-century house her husband bought. "I'm right on the river. You can experience all the seasons right there."
The river view occasionally includes boats, pontoons and kayakers. The Notre Dame rowing team is out daily.
"It's just a happening place," she says.