Some Historic and Interesting Home

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Washington Street is a good place to begin. In just a three block section of West Washington are two residences of two of South Bend's famous families. These same three blocks have many other homes of local historical significance. Our tour begins in the 500 block of Washington Street.

The Book Inn Bed and Breakfast , is South Bend, Indiana's, oldest Bed and Breakfast. Known as the Cushing House, it was built by Albert & Martha Cushing in 1872, and is one of the earliest residences on Washington Street. Cushing was a local businessman with interests in several enterprises, including a drug and bookstore at 101 North Michigan Street. The house is listed as an outstanding example of Second Empire architecture, or sometimes called French Victorian, the mansard roof with ornamental arched dormer windows creates an impression of massive elegance. John and Peggy Livingston are the Innkeepers and welcome you to stop by for some of their warm hospitality of their historic home.

Our next stop will be at Tippecanoe Place, home of the Clement Studebaker.

" Tippecanoe Place , with four main levels totaling 40 rooms and 20 fireplaces, is the embodiment of everything great wealth in the late 1800's could suggest. The 26,000 square-foot mansion was designed by Henry Cobb and built by local craftsmen. Work on Tippecanoe Place was completed in 1889 at a total cost of $250,000.

The massive walls are made of local granite fieldstone, and the many broad porches are paved with tile and supported by stone pillars. A flight of stone steps at the main entrance leads into the mahogany paneled vestibule. The decorative carvings on the oval doorknobs exemplify the great attention to detail throughout the entire house. To view what's inside the mansion, look right here.

Two theories exist regarding the origination of the name "Tippecanoe Place." The first theory relates to Clement Studebaker's friendship with Benjamin Harrison, the 23rd President of the United States. Harrison was the grandson of William Henry Harrison, victor of the battle of Tippecanoe in 1811, and of "Tippecanoe and Tyler too" fame. This may have inspired the name.

The other theory comes from the fact that the gounds on which the building sits was once a favorite camping site of Tippecanoe, the chief of the Miami Indians. " Courtsey Tippecanoe Place History.

For more pictures of Tippecanoe Place, go here. For a look at what is left of the Studebaker Works, go here .


Situated next to Tippecanoe Place, on the west side, is 630 West Washington, or The Oliver Inn.

Known today as the Oliver Inn Bed and Breakfast , this residence was built by James Oliver in spacious "Queen Anne" style. After completion, Oliver gave the house as a gift to his daughter Josephine, for one dollar and "love". In later years Gertrude, another of J.D. Oliver's children that grew up at Copshaholm, and the niece of Josephine Oliver Ford, moved into this house after her aunt Josephine passed away. She married Charles Frederick Cunningham and had three children. When she passed away in 1987 at the age of 99, her children, Oliver, Jane and Ann, donated both of these homes (the Oliver Inn and Copshaholm) to the Northern Indiana Center for History. They (N.I.C.H. sold this home and used the funds to help maintain the mansion.) Richard and Venera Monahan are now the third owners since the home was sold. When visiting South Bend, I highly recommend a nights stay. (Thanks to Richard and Venera Monahan for the background information on the Oliver Inn.)

Working our way west along the south side of Washington we arrive at 710 West Washington. This residence, known as the Warner House, dates back to 1873 and is of Italianate architecture.




The next residence is 714 West Washington, the Birdsell House. This home built in 1884 in classic Queen Anne style was the home of John Birdsell, the founder of Birdsell Manufacturing.




Mid-block we find the oldest structure on Washington Street and the first brick home in South Bend.

720 West Washington. Known as the Bartlett House, the residence dates back to 1850 and is of Federal architecture. Built by Joseph G. Bartlett (1815-1873), the Grandson of Josiah Bartlett, who was a signer of the Declaration Of Independence. It is also the oldest brick home in South Bend.





Next up, 730 West Washington. Originally known as the Meagher House, this 1884 residence was built in the Stick Style architecture.





744 West Washington. This home sits on the southeast corner of Washington Street and Chapin Street. Known as the Listenberger Home, it is another in the Italianate style architecture.





The last stop along south Washington Street will be Copshaholm, the home of J.D. and Anna Oliver. 808 Washington.

" Copshaholm, the home of 20th century industrialist J. D. Oliver, his wife, Anna, and their four children. Built in 1895-96, Copshaholm is a 38-room Romanesque Queen Anne house designed by New York architect Charles Alonzo Rich. J. D. Oliver was president of the Oliver Chilled Plow Works, located in South Bend, Indiana. The company was founded by J. D.'s father, James, inventor of the chilled plow.

Copshaholm is built of native Indiana fieldstone. The stones were cut on site by masons brought from Europe. Copshaholm was one of the first homes in South Bend to have electricity, with power being generated by the Oliver Chilled Plow Works.

Surrounding Copshaholm are 2.5 acres of landscaped gardens, including a garden tea house, formal Italianate garden, rose garden, pergola, tennis lawn, and fountain." Courtsey of The Northern Indiana Center for History .

For more photos of Copshaholm go here . For a look at what is left of the Oliver Plow works, go here .

Next, we will work our way back east, along the north side of Washington Street. From Copshaholm we cross the street and our first stop will be.

803 Washington. Many first time visitors to South Bend look at this residence and presume that it was once owned by the Oliver family. Known as the Kizer House, this 1890 home was built in the same Romanesque Revival style as the Oliver mansion, Copshaholm. The stone construction does resemble that of Copshaholm, however, according to records, was built five years before Copshaholm. Could Oliver have copied Kizer, but on a grander scale?


727 West Washington, known as the Harris house. Built in 1893 in the free classic style.





This Queen Anne style home was built in 1879. Known as the Meyers House it looks small compared to the others on this block. Still, the home is very beautiful and compliments the neighborhood.




Any student of architecture will only need to look at this house and recognize who designed it.

Look at the architecture. Yes, this house was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright . This house caught my eye the very first time I rode my bike down Washington Street. This house is at 715 West Washington. Known as the DeRhodes house, it was one of six Wright designed houses in Indiana. The other one is at 1404 Ridgedale Road. This house is designed in the Prairie style and is similar to two other Wright homes in, Gary, Indiana.

At 711 West Washington is another Queen Anne style home. Built in 1885, this residence was once known as the Meyer House.





627 West Washington. Our final destination along West Washington. This residence was known as the Studebaker House. Built in 1895, this building is also of Queen Anne style architecture. Built 9 years after Tippecanoe Place by Peter Studebaker. Judging by the size of the residence, it would not be hard to imagine a Studebaker living here. Research continues on this residence. This concludes this look at the 600-700 block of historic West Washington Street.


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