Chapin Park

National Register Historic District, 1982

Horatio Chapin settled in the recently-formed South Bend, Indiana in 1831. Upon his arrival he became very active in economic development as a downtown merchant and later with the State Bank of Indiana. He was also active in religious affairs, founding the area's first ecumenical school in the mid 1830's. His success in local business afforded him the opportunity to purchase forty acres of land from the State Bank in 1855. The property, stretching from Navarre Street (formerly Perry Street) to the St. Joseph River and Lafayette Boulevard to Heaton Street (now the alley between Forest and Leland Avenues), was known as Chapin's Park.

Over the next fifteen years Chapin built an elaborate Gothic Revival residence and developed a beautiful country estate. The residence, located at 601 Park Avenue, was depicted in the late 19th century Birds Eye View map showing the surrounding wooded acres, gardens, orchards, and pathways.

When Chapin passed away in 1871 his estate was settled by his son Edward and daughter Mary Chapin Anderson. The siblings divided the property along a carriage road, now Park Avenue, with Mary receiving the property to the east and Edward receiving his father's home and the property to the west. Between 1885 and 1887 Mary and her husband Andrew Anderson built their own residence, 710 Park Avenue, overlooking the brook that once flowed across the property.

By 1880 many Chapin family members were living in the area. Soon after, Edward Chapin began platting his land selling many properties along Forest Avenue and Manitou Place. Mary soon followed, selling lots on Park Avenue and paving the street with brick. In 1891 the Chapin home and surrounding lots were purchased by Christopher Fassnacht of the South Bend Lumber Company, who developed the southern portion of the property. Construction continued on the Chapin House and surrounding area and, in 1925, houses were being built on the last available lots in the district. This neighborhood, built and intended for the well-to-do, is home to a rich complexity of architectural forms and styles placed in close proximity to one another, creating a uniquely heterogeneous community.