At the height of the goldrush, in the year 1849, Daniel Ward left St. Joseph County in northern Indiana in pursuit of gold in California. Two years later, Ward returned with a “small fortune.” By the end of the Civil War, in 1865, he had erected a grand Itaianate mansion in Granger for his family, proud of this rare example of high-style architecture in rural Indiana.
However, the grand Italianate house is now threatened, and it appears the house will not stay where it was built. The Ward House and a large tract of surrounding land is now owned by State Representative B. Patrick Bauer, trustee of the Burnett C. Bauer Trust, and there are plans underway to develop the land — plans that do not include the historic Ward House.
A proposal to redevelop the land on which the Daniel Ward Home sits calls for relocating the historic structure, currently home to Flourish Boutique and Gallery, about 300 yards north, to make way for a drug store and other commercial buildings. Surprisingly, rather than fight the move, the Historic Preservation Commission, which enforces preservation standards in the county, has given it its blessing. “We all agree it’s going to be more sensitive to the historic structure itself,” commission director Catherine Hostetler said of the proposed new location, on Gumwood across from Toscana Park. In 1980, when the county first designated the house a local historic landmark, the surrounding area was still largely farmland, Hostetler said. But over the past several decades, development on Mishawaka’s north side has inched steadily northward, she said, threatening to engulf the two-story clapboard house. [Full story- South Bend Tribune]