West Washington

The first neighborhood in South Bend to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places was West Washington. This area includes some of the oldest and most prominent buildings in the city. Located directly north of where the manufacturing district of South Bend once was, West Washington was an upper and upper middle class neighborhood surrounded by middle and working class homes. Originally the main artery through South Bend’s expanding west side, West Washington was where many elegant homes, such as Joseph Oliver’s 1896 Copshaholm, were located. Clement Studebaker, the co-founder of Studebaker Manufacturing Company with his brother John Mohler Studebaker, also built his home here. Clement Studebaker's home is now adaptively reused as the Tippecanoe Place Restaurant. The West Washington National Historic District showcases the work of many local and nationally known architects. The DeRhodes House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1906, exhibits the architect's notable and idiosyncratic Prairie Style. Ennis Austin, W.W. Schneider, Ernest Young, and Freyermuth & Maurer have also built several notable buildings in the district.

During the 1950s and 1960s, West Washington fell into disrepair and some of the fine homes were torn down or lost to arson. Recently, the neighborhood has been experiencing a continued revitalization. Many homes have been restored and renovated into single family residences, while others have been repurposed. Several bed and breakfasts have been established and Copshaholm, now The History Museum, is an anchor to the neighborhood along with IUSB’s Civil Rights Heritage Center in the former Natatorium and the Notre Dame Center for Arts and Culture in the former Hansel Center.