When Horatio Chapin settled in South Bend in 1831 the town had just been platted by Alexis Coquillard and Lathrop Taylor. In 1855 Chapin purchased forty acres, stretching from Navarre Street to the St. Joseph River, where over the next fifteen years his Gothic Revival home and beautiful country estate were developed. Chapin planted gardens and an orchard and laid curving paths through the wooded property.
Chapin died of heart disorder in 1871 after which his son Edward and daughter Mary Chapin Anderson spent the next four years settling the estate. They divided the property along the carriage drive, now Park Avenue. Mary received the property to the east and Edward received his father's house and the property to the west. Other family members became interested in living on the estate resulting in a Chapin Family enclave until 1880 when Edward began selling many of his 73 lots. By 1925 houses were built on the last available lots in the district. The result is a rich complexity of building forms and architectural styles placed in close proximity to one another. Chapin Park Local Historic District is South Bend's most architecturally significant area. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982 and became South Bend's largest Local Historic District in 2005.