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Notre Dame Graduates to Continue Restoration of Historic 1888 House

SOUTH BEND, IN – Inspired by South Bend’s resilient spirit, a love for Notre Dame, and historic buildings, Ed and Stephen Ziegler have bought the Kizer House, the 7,220-square-foot Romanesque Revival-style mansion located on a prominent corner in South Bend’s West Washington National Register District.

The father-son team plans to create a mixed-use facility with public rental space and residences in the historic structure, located across the street from the Oliver Mansion, near the Studebaker Mansion, and just down the street from the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed DeRhodes House. Kizer House was on a downward path a decade ago until Indiana Landmarks partnered with the City of South Bend to save the property.

Ed earned his Ph.D. at Notre Dame, taught at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, FL, and was awarded the prestigious Distinguished Teacher Award in 1972. After a career as a professor, Ed decided to move to orthopedic sales, helping thousands of people get new artificial knees and hips. A founding member of the Notre Dame Club of Boca Raton and former president of the Notre Dame Club of Fort Lauderdale, Ed now wants to use the Kizer House to showcase the persistence of South Bend.

“My time in the South Bend area shaped my life,” said Ed. “I love coming back to the city. It’s so resilient; even with setbacks like Studebaker closing and Bendix corporation relocating, it always comes back. I want this project to symbolize that strength and resilience, and I hope it makes people proud.”

Although he was too young to remember, Stephen’s first visit to South Bend was in 1977 when, as a one-year-old, he came to see a national championship team play football. After growing up in South Florida, he became a business and technology consultant, taught at the college level, and founded Complicated Networks, a technology-focused consulting firm. Stephen earned a master’s degree at Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business in 2020 and serves on the board of directors for the Notre Dame Club of Boca Raton.

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“Creating a place people can visit and learn more about South Bend’s rich history is one of our main goals,” said Stephen. “It’s an exciting opportunity to combine my experience with historic properties and business development while enhancing downtown South Bend.”

In 2012, the Kizer House had become an eyesore and a public-safety problem when the City of South Bend approached Indiana Landmarks to partner in turning the property around. Using funds from the sale of its previous Northern Regional Office, Indiana Landmarks undertook complete exterior restoration of the c.1888 house, garage, and grounds, preparing the way for someone else to finish interior renovations. The organization’s investment gives the Zieglers a head start on rehabilitating one of South Bend’s most prominent landmarks.

“The Zieglers’ excitement about the history of the Kizer House and their vision for its new use syncs beautifully with the goal we set 10 years ago to revive this important property in a way that helps the neighborhood,” says Todd Zeiger, director of Indiana Landmarks’ Northern Regional Office.

Indiana Landmarks’ Northern Regional Office has been based at the Kizer House property since 2015. Landmarks staff will continue to occupy offices in the carriage house, with plans to rent office space in the house once renovations are complete.

Indiana Landmarks sold the Kizer House with covenants that, along with the property’s local historic designation, protect the building’s architectural character. Proceeds from the sale will help fuel Indiana Landmarks’ ongoing preservation work in South Bend and the surrounding region.

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