West North Shore

West North Shore Local Historic District was designated by ordinance in 1978. This collection of residences is primarily a product of the early 20th Century but the land on which the district stands is thought to have been first used by Native Americans as a place to fish and camp.Then in 1820 by Pierre Navarre, the area’s first non-native resident, for the location of his trading post. Navarre’s son, Peter, sold the property in 1863 to Alexis Coquillard, nephew of the fur trader and co-founder of South Bend of the same name. In 1866 the land was purchased by Samuel Leeper, who farmed the land. The oldest structure in the district is the vernacular farmhouse at 113 West North Shore. It was built for Samuel Leeper, Jr. by his father as a wedding gift in 1888. The younger Leeper discovered clay deposits here around the same year and built a brickyard. The yellow bricks were the first to be used in street paving in South Bend on West Jefferson Street. In 1893, Leeper rented the brickyard and clay pits to others. He then became associated with the Home Improvement Company, selling the company his tract of land by the river for $75,000.00. In December, 1903 the Home Improvement Company filed a plat and named it the Navarre Place Addition; the old Leeper house was soon part of a subdivision stretching from the river, four blocks to the north, and running from Michigan west to Lafayette Boulevard. The subdivision became a stylish place for middle-class homes; it was within easy distance of downtown via the streetcar line on Michigan but was removed from older, crowded sections of the City. Today’s district consists of the nineteenth-century Leeper farmhouse, seventeen early twentieth-century structures in a variety of popular styles of their time and two 20th Century Ranch-style houses.