| Historical Maps
Finding Hidden History
By Libby Feil
Many metal detector buffs enjoy searching for hidden historical items such as old coins, farming implements, and interesting machine parts. To do this, it helps to know the history of land in the city. Where were the old businesses and factories? Where were parks once located? Schools?
To help these folks out, here are some locations that County Historian John Kovach and I note used to be old schools, playing fields, factories, and parks. Happy hunting!
Greenstocking Park, on Napier a block east of St. Stephen's Church. Greenstocking was the first enclosed baseball stadium built in northern Indiana (erected 1878). It later became the site of Laurel School and then Central Catholic High School. The site is currently empty, with old steps still in place but no buildings still existing.
Singer Park, off of Western Avenue near Goodwill Industries. This was another old baseball park, built in 1913 and used until the mid-1950s. The Louvered Door restaurant at 1622 Western Avenue sits on what used to be center field.
East Race business district, along both sides of the East Race (from The Pointe at St. Joseph apartments north to Seitz Park). Many factories and businesses needing water power located here starting in the 1840s. Businesses that were situated here at one time or another include Singer Sewing Machine, where wooden sewing machine cases were made; Knoblock & Ginz, flour and feed millers; Kahn Manufacturing Company, shirt makers; Stephenson Underwear Mills, producers of union suits and other woolen underthings; and J. B. Haberle, machinists.
Railroad right-of-way and New Deal Works Progress Administration project sites, now the Riverwalk along the eastern side of the St. Joseph River in South Bend. Although this area is now a paved path, the berms on either side of the trail are unpaved and may turn up souvenirs of past activities there.
Playland Park, bounded by Lincoln Way, Ironwood, the St. Joseph River, and the Twyckenham Bridge. This amusement park drew huge crowds to its rides and attractions. Part of this area is now occupied by the Don Medow car dealership, but part of it is vacant. The empty brushy area on the far side of the Indiana University South Bend Bridge over the St. Joseph River used to be the Playland golf course.
If you have any suggestions of other interesting places to hunt, or if you have questions about how to find out more, please contact Local & Family History Services at 574-282-4621.
Last updated by: Libby Feil, February 8, 2008