Home at the Lasalle
The LaSalle Hotel was constructed in 1921 near the St. Joseph River in downtown South Bend. At it's prime the hotel was one of the most luxurious and convenient in the city – a basement tunnel offered access to the South Shore station across the street. It's beauty and significant to our city's story landed it on the National Register of Historic Places, a designation it retains today.
For many decades the hotel was closed and parts of the building were used for a variety of special events including wedding receptions. This semi-dormant period ended in 2014 when a Fishers-based group purchased the property with plans to restore The LaSalle to it's original luxurious state.
With 67 upscale apartments and 8,000+ square feet of retail space, The LaSalle is now open for business and boasts a preservation award from Indiana Landmarks. I recently toured the building to capture my favorite rooftop views and indoor features – here's what I saw:
This was a view of South Bend I had not experienced before. The LaSalle sits on the North edge of downtown's central business district, so the rooftop view captured all of the large buildings that create DTSB. Aside from looking down from the top of the Chase Tower, I haven't found a spot that captures so much of the city in one glance.
Plus, I'm a sucker for rooftops.
Luxury is the only word to describe the main lobby. White, ornate pillars and elegant light fixtures create a timeless space that is well documented in historical paintings throughout the basement and former bar. This space, and the mezzanine pictured below, are truly unique spaces in our downtown – I cannot wait to see how they are used as event or retail space.
Throughout the building, particularly in the basement and former bar, you will find framed documents, photographs, and paintings that tell the history of The LaSalle. You'll see depictions of the former restaurant and South Shore line as well as national publications declaring the quality of "South Bend's New Hotel." I had seen many of the old photographs online, but it was special to experience them inside the building at this pivotal time in it's life.
This final photograph (below) comes with a unique context. You will recognize the shape of the window from the front facade facing LaSalle Avenue - but you may be wondering why the molding size and intricacy do not match the height of the room.
At some point in the building's history, a second floor was added in the restaurant space, creating this room that the photograph depicts. This second floor retained all of the ornate features of the dining room, but is now being used as apartment space. As more and more historic buildings come back to life as apartment buildings, I love seeing unique spaces emerge in unexpected ways. (The Pool, anyone?)
Interested in more photos of South Bend's resurgence? Follow me on Instagram @West.SB – while I write longer stories here, I share daily photos and thoughts about the city on that feed.