Historic Districts are a geographically definable areas with a significant concentration of buildings united by past events, design, material, or related historical associations.
In Local Historic Districts, preservation guidelines protect the character and value of these neighborhoods. Local historic districts in South Bend have been established at different times over the years. The Common Council of South Bend designated the West North Shore Drive Historic District in 1978 as the first historic preservation district established in the city. Since then, eight other local historic districts have been designated including: Chapin Park, East Wayne Street, Edgewater Place, Lincoln Way East, North Saint Joseph Street, River Bend, Riverside Drive, and Taylor's Field.
Historic districts may also be placed on the National and State Registers of Historic Places, a list maintained by the National Parks Service. National Register districts in South Bend include: West Washington, Chapin Park, East Washington, Howard Park, St. Casimir's Parish, South Michigan Street, and Muessel-Drewry Brewery.
South Bend and St. Joseph County boasts many local and national historic districts that are important to the historic development of the area and are connected to national historic trends.