Local Lost Landmarks
The History Museum frequently exhibits photographs of buildings that were once local landmarks but are no longer standing. These photographs show buildings and landmarks which are widely recognized and remembered by local citizens as meeting places, as sites for special memories and special events, or as “permanent” reference points for getting around our cities. But like any city, time and progress brings change, and these favorite landmarks no longer grace our cityscape. Some of the images in the current as well as earlier exhibits include:
This root beer stand is a familiar landmark to many people from this area. South Bend was home to at least two A & W Root Beer Barrels in the past 50 years. One was located at the southeast corner of U.S. 31 and Ireland Road. Another stood on Western Avenue and later became Chauncey’s Restaurant.
Vincent Bendix purchased his original plant building from Winkler-Grimm Wagon Company in 1919. He remodeled it and expanded the Bendix Company’s operations from there. A new building named “Plant #10” replaced the original building in 1926, and it was used to manufacture new four-wheel drive Bendix brakes. Plant #10 is still part of the Bosch Braking Systems Corporation (formerly Allied Signal / Bendix) complex on Bendix Drive.
Bingham School opened in 1898 to accommodate Mishawaka’s increasing school age population. By 1907, Bingham School became one of three public elementary schools in the city. In the following decades, the school – and Mishawaka’s population of school aged children – continued to grow. In 1967, Bingham added a 24,000 square foot addition. The city purchased Bingham School in 1984 to convert the addition into the Mishawaka City Hall. They demolished the original school building, and today a park featuring a sculpture of Princess Mishawaka marks the site next to City Hall.
The Grand View Hotel is shown in this picture. On the street level, three clusters of men are stand near the building’s entrances. In the street is a driver seated in a horse drawn surrey, while nearby is another in an open wagon loaded with beer barrels. On the second floor, more groups of people are seated in the two open balconies, with four additional individuals looking out two windows, one nestled between the balconies and the other on the right side of the hotel. Two faces can be seen looking out a window on the right side of the hotel, and a group of men and women stand under the building’s pavilion, located at the top of the hotel. The Grand View Hotel was located at 112-114 Vistula Avenue, which later was renamed Lincolnway East. An inscription at the top of the building denotes its location: C. Muessel Block, 1892. In later years, the Grand View became the Lincoln Hotel. The building and adjacent properties were acquired by the Redevelopment Commission and the City of South Bend in the 1970s to make way for the building of Century Center.
Kids seem to love going to the playground, no matter what year it is. This 1950s photograph shows a group of youngsters posing on a slide that was located at the Hering House playground. Hering House, located at 726 W. Western Avenue in South Bend, was a civic center donated to the African American community in 1925 by Clarabel and Frank Hering, who was the head football coach at the University of Notre Dame from 1896-98. Often referred to as the “House of Hope,” the Hering House served as a center for community activities until it closed in 1965. The invention of the slide is attributed to Charles Wicksteed, who installed the first one in 1922 in Wicksteed Park, located in Northamptonshire, England. This photograph is from the The History Museum’s photograph collection.
As part of downtown renewal, in 1973 the South Bend Redevelopment Commission cleared buildings such as the Philadelphia Restaurant and Sally Swiss Cafeteria on the east side of Michigan Street between Washington and Colfax. The plan proposed a giant retail-mall-office complex for the space, but it remained empty for several years. Only a few occasions temporarily filled it, such as a Bicentennial fireworks displays in 1976 and excess snow from the blizzard of 1978. Local residents started calling it “the hole” until First Source Bank built their spectacular First Source Bank Center in 1980, which stands as a new landmark for the new downtown.
The Linden Elementary School began in 1890 as a two-story, four classroom school with 186 students. Six years later, the school added four more classrooms, and by 1913 enrollment increased to 335. Reflecting South Bend’s growing diversity, fifty percent of those students were foreign born. By 1939, the school held 850 students and included seventh, eighth, and ninth grades. Linden returned to teaching kindergarten through sixth grades in 1951, and after nearly 100 years of educating children it was razed in 1972. The site is now a playing field next to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center on Linden Avenue.
Edward N. Kalamaros opened the Moderne Restaurant on West Washington in 1927. He added a distinctive Czechoslovakian stained glass window over the front entrance. The Kalamaros family ran the restaurant for forty years, selling it in 1967. The site is now part of the Teachers Credit Union parking lot.
The Northern Indiana Public Service Company’s predecessor, The Gas Company, built this familiar landmark in 1949. It stood at the corner of Miami Street and Pennsylvania Avenue in South Bend until it was torn down in 1972. Two transmission towers stand on the site today.
Located at the northwest corner of Main and Washington Streets in South Bend, the Oliver Hotel was James Oliver’s (the plow manufacturer) elegant answer to his cosmopolitan business associates when they asked “Where shall we stay in South Bend?” The hotel opened December 21, 1899. It later became know as the Pick-Oliver and continued to serve guests until 1967 when it was demolished to make way for the former Valley American Bank and what is now the Holiday Inn at that corner.
When Earl J. (Pete) Redden became manager of Springbrook Park in 1925, he held a contest inviting local children to rename it. “Playland Park” won the $50 prize. Between 1925 and 1967, generations of fun-seekers enjoyed a wide variety of amusements including horse racing, midget car racing, a swimming pool, boat rides, fireworks, a skating rink, and more. Our All-American Girls Professional Baseball League home team, the South Bend Blue Sox, played great baseball here from 1943 until 1954. Today, Indiana University South Bend owns the property and it is used for student housing.
Since 1906, the South Bend Conservatory of Music offered training for as many as 350 students in piano, voice, string and wind instruments, artistic dance, and music theory. They moved into their new home on William Street in 1948, a building that was one the home of Peter Studebaker. Conservatory students learned from such distinguished teachers as Frederick Ingersoll, Louis Elbel, Dora Hershenow, Valeria BonDurant, and Theophlia Makielski. The Conservatory became the cradle of music education in South Bend for 75 years. In 1971, the building was torn down, and today the Indiana Workforce Development Center uses a new building on the site.
The first main library building constructed in South Bend opened its doors on May 8, 1896 at the southeast corner of Main and Wayne Streets. The striking red sandstone building with a copper-tile roof served the public for 62 years with over 70,000 volumes before closing its doors on June 6, 1958. The much larger and expanded St. Joseph County Public Library replaced the building in 1960 at the same location and still serves thousands of readers.
Springbrook Park opened to the public in 1896 and featured a baseball diamond, a bandstand, a fairground, and an amusement park. In 1925, under Earl Redden’s management, it was renamed Playland Park and offered such delights as a skating rink, race track, swimming pool, ballroom, and golf course. This aerial view of the park in the 1930s shows the many amusements park patrons enjoyed.
The Sisters of the Holy Cross operated a hospital on this site since 1882. To meet the needs of South Bend’s rapidly growing population, in 1903 the Sisters converted the building – originally a church – into the new St. Joseph’s Hospital. The French chateau-style structure had state-of-the-art medical technology. The elegant interior featured oak trim and Venetian tile fireplaces in many rooms. After years of service, the hospital closed in 1975 and was torn down four years later to make way for an expansion of the St. Joseph Regional Medical Center.
The West Race of the St. Joseph River was the heart of South Bend’s manufacturing district for sixty years before electrical power made it possible for factories to move away from the river. At least fifteen industries started production on the West Race, including Birdsell Manufacturing Company, Oliver and Bissel Foundry, Coquillard Wagon Works, and the Oliver Power Plant. By 1913, only South Bend’s Central Pumping Station and the Oliver Power Plant remained. The race was filled in during the 1960s, and today Century Center and Island Park mark the site.
George Wyman and Company moved into its new store on Michigan Street in 1878. Wyman’s expanded in 1951 after they purchased the Ellsworth Department Store next door. A 1962 renovation integrated five additions to the building with a new blue and white ceramic tile façade. For over 100 years, Wyman’s served its loyal customers, even hosting annual teas for those who shopped at the store fifty years or more. Unfortunately, Wyman’s fortunes fell and the store closed in 1972. The landmark building was demolished one year later as part of the city’s redevelopment plan. Today, next door to Cafe Navarre there is a parking lot that marks the spot where Wyman’s once stood.