East Wayne Street

Local Historic District, 1987

Designated by ordinance in 1987, the East Wayne Street Historic District exemplifies prosperous pre-Depression suburban development, typical of the 1920s.

Originally an area of farmland bordering the town of Lowell (est. 1837), this land was purchased by farmer and real estate developer David Greenwalt in 1859. In the 1870s, Greenwalt's farm, as well as other adjacent lots, were purchased by Jacob F. and John M. Studebaker.

In 1925 Whitcomb & Keller platted the Sunnymede neighborhood, adjacent to and surrounding the East Wayne Street Historic District, for development as an exclusive residential subdivision for successful business professionals. Residents included prominent local industry leaders such as Studebaker, Birdsell, and Bendix. Notre Dame football coach Knute Rockne lived in the neighborhood from 1929 until his death in 1931.

Most homes in this neighborhood were built between 1925 and 1930. The majority of the homes were designed in period revival styles by local architects such as H. R. Stapp, Freyermuth & Maurer, Ivan O. Wandell, Austin & Shambleau, and Callix E. Miller. To maintain the exclusivity of the neighborhood, purchase agreements restricted lot size, minimum construction cost, and restricted home occupancy to Caucasians, a common practice at the time.

Sunnymede was designed following the principles suggested by late-nineteenth century landscape architects such as Frederick Law Olmsted, reflected in the curvilinear streets, trees, park areas, and open spaces which form an integral part of the neighborhood.