Michigan Street Bridge
Part of the City-Beautiful initiative the Michigan Street Bridge was designed by local engineer, Charles W. Cole, in 1914. It was designed to complement the development of Leeper Park. Crossing the St. Joseph River, it features wide arching spans with pier pilasters that rise from a pedestal base. The pilasters have decorative scrolls at the top and connect to open arch balustrade rails, adding to the beauty of the span. The decoration of the bridge is based on George Kessler’s designs. Kessler designed Leeper Park and other beautiful parks and bridges in the Midwest. The Bridge is constructed of cement and smooth-cut Bedford Limestone. After many years without its decorative lights they were recently replaced with new fixtures, replicas of the originals. Today the bridge is aglow with light and character in the evening. Best views of the bridge are from Leeper Park.
Fire House Theatre
The Fire House Theatre faces the intersection of Portage Avenue and Lindsey Street. It was built in 1898 and operated as a Fire Station until the 1960’s. Built of red brick, it features a carved limestone tablet identifying the building as Fire Station No. 6. A metal awning with ornamental supports is over the fire house doors. A historical marker on the property notes the location as Camp Rose, an 1862 civil war training site. Recently, the South Bend Civic Theatre used the building operating programs for our youth. Currently, new owners are developing the property as commercial and residential rental space.
The oldest structure in the Chapin Park Historic District, the Horatio Chapin home is located at the corner of Park Ave. and Navarre. It is one of the few Gothic Revival residential structures in the city. Construction began in 1855 and was completed two years later. The home was the center of a picturesque estate the family developed with orchards and gardens. When automobiles became fashionable a glass paned garage was added to the original structure.
James Madison School
Adjacent to Leeper Park is Madison Grade School, built in 1930. The Collegiate Gothic architectural style structure was designed by local architects Austin & Shambleau. It features red bricks, a decorated brick parapet and cut stone crenellations. The building has a main entry on Lafayette Avenue with wooden doors, finely detailed cut stone, and diamond pane windows. A new gymnasium was added in the early 1970’s. The school is bordered by Leeper Park on two sides, and is ½ block from the St. Joseph River. It is protected as a Local Historic Landmark.
North Pumping Station
Located at 830 N. Michigan Avenue the North Pumping Station was built in 1912. Designed by architects Freyermuth & Maurer, it is a classical revival structure with monumental ionic limestone columns announcing its presence. The structure is highly decorated with stone pilasters framing tall arched windows, a stone frieze and cornice, and stone arches with pronounced keystones. The building is topped with red brick and two copper domes. The pumping station provides water to a large portion of the city. It is a commanding structure adding prominence to Leeper Park.