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South Bend’s Birdsell Mansion, Mishawaka’s Kamm Brewery on Indiana Landmarks 10 most endangered list

South Bend's historic Birdsell Mansion, located at 511 W Colfax Ave., was built in 1898.
Jakob Lazzaro
/
WVPE
South Bend's historic Birdsell Mansion, located at 511 W Colfax Ave., was built in 1898.

Two Michiana historic buildings have been named on historic preservation nonprofit Indiana Landmarks annual 10 most endangered list — South Bend’s Birdsell Mansion and Mishawaka’s Kamm Brewery.

Indiana Landmarks says both properties are facing similar challenges of long-term abandonment, subsequent neglect and decay.

The Birdsell Mansion is on Colfax Avenue in South Bend’s West Washington Historic District. It was built in 1898 by J.D. Birdsell, an industrial titan, and is a grand stone house similar to the Oliver Mansion and Studebaker’s Tippecanoe Place, both located several blocks away.

But Indiana Landmarks says the house is currently owned by an absentee owner and has been vacant for over a decade. Windows are boarded up, and there’s water damage inside.

Downtown Mishawaka’s Kamm and Schellinger Brewery made the list for a second year in a row. It was built by German immigrants and closed in 1951, but was redeveloped in the 1970s into the 100 Center complex of shops and restaurants.

But things declined in the late 1980s, and the complex currently sits empty and abandoned — though there may be plans in the works.

The city of Mishawaka purchased the nearby Kamm Island Apartment building earlier this year to demolish it, as part of an effort to boost the former brewery’s development potential. Indiana Landmarks says buyers have expressed interest in the property, but the owner has been unresponsive.

Contact Jakob at jlazzaro@wvpe.org or follow him on Twitter at @JakobLazzaro.

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Jakob Lazzaro comes to Indiana from Chicago, where he graduated from Northwestern University in 2020 with a degree in Journalism and a double major in History. Before joining WVPE, he wrote NPR's Source of the Week e-mail newsletter, and previously worked for CalMatters, Pittsburgh's 90.5 WESA and North by Northwestern.