The Riverside Drive local historic district was designated by ordinance in 1985. The district boundaries include the residences located on Riverside Drive from Leeper Park to Hudson Avenue, and a few home located on the intersecting side streets: Golden, Vassar, and Hudson. The eastern third of the district, between Leland Avenue and Leeper Park is part of the Chapin Park National Register Historic District, which was listed in 1982.
Riverside Drive is an example of a turn-of-the-century and early 20th century middle class residential development. Located northwest of the original town of South Bend, it remained undeveloped into the latter half of the 19th century. Development began when Horatio Chapin`s children, Mary Chapin Anderson and Edward Chapin, platted the Chapin Place Addition in 1890 on land that had been the family estate.
The eastern third of the district was part of the old Chapin estate, which was further subdivided in 1902 and 1910. In 1890 and 1891, three Shetterly Place Additions were platted directly to the west. The middle third of the district, between Golden and Leland lies within the Shetterly Place Third Addition platted by Christina Shetterly, George and Mary Rockstroh, and Annie P. Miller in 1891. The western third of the district beyond Golden lies within the Portage Park Addition, which the Portage Land Company, under its President H.G. Miller, subdivided in 1902.
After 1910, several streets in the Chapin Park neighborhood were linked to Leeper Park by a new street - Riverside Drive, for which the district is named. The neighborhood grew most rapidly from 1902 to 1918 when over eighty percent of the residences were constructed. The district`s growth was greatly attributed to its location near the streetcar line on Portage Avenue and proximity to downtown South Bend, its quiet and picturesque environment, and the scenic attractions of the Saint Joseph River and Leeper Park.