Riverside Drive

Local Historic District, 1985

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 homes 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 middle class residential development. Located northwest of the original town of South Bend, it remained undeveloped into the latter half of the nineteenth century. Development began when Horatio Chapin's children, Mary Chapin Anderson and Edward Chapin, platted the Chapin park addition in 1890 on land that had been the family estate. Subdivision of the area continued through 1910, when the name Riverside Drive was officially chosen to replace multiple names for the same street in the various subdivisions.

An attractive area due to its suburban location, proximity to the St. Joseph River, and easy access to streetcar transportation, the neighborhood grew rapidly. The vast majority of the residences were constructed from 1902 to 1918. Early residents of the Riverside Drive Historic District included professionals, business owners, and skilled workers. At least three mayors, a state representative, and a senator have resided in this area.

The neighborhood is comprised of a variety of popular twentieth-century architectural styles, including Queen Anne, Prairie, Shingle, American Foursquare, and Bungalow, many of which were designed by locally prominent architects W. W. Schneider, Ernest Young, Norman Roy Shambleau, and Ennis R. Austin.