|Copshaholm - the Oliver Mansion
I had the pleasure recently of touring the
in . It sits adjacent to the South Bend, Indiana as part of the Center for
History. I was meeting the Greater Illlinois Region of the Classic Car Club for a tour, but was running a little late. As it turned out I was not the only one. Our ticket options were cars, mansion, or both. We bought tickets for both but as it turned out we had no time to see the cars. Unfortunate, as they have an outstanding collection of vehicles, but we were not at all sorry that we chose to see the mansion. Studebaker Museum
|The family dining room
His son, J.D. Oliver, became president of the Oliver Chilled Plow Works, and had the house built for himself, his wife Anna, and their four children. It was christened Copshaholm, in honor of the Scottish birthplace of his father, James. Surrounding Copshaholm are 2.5 acres of landscaped Italianate gardens, including a teahouse, rose garden, pergola, tennis lawn, and fountain. The garden is a lovely venue for weddings, and quite recently one of the granddaughters of the Oliver family had her wedding there, even though the home is now a museum and was closed for that day.
A 12,000 sq foot,
38-room Romanesque Queen Anne house designed by a
architect , it was home for 72
years to the Oliver Family. It was donated, fully furnished, to the Center for History
by the family. New York
|I could imagine spending hours in this lovely alcove
It is as lovely as it is historical. It is filled with oak, cherry and mahogany woodwork, leaded glass windows and 14 fireplaces. One of the first homes in South Bend to have electricity, it has closet lights that turn on when the door is opened and an elevator, which was installed later. Throughout the home are artworks, portraits, and family photos, making you feel as if you're a guest and the family has just stepped out.
|some of the various portraits of the Olivers
Our guide was full of stories about the family – giving us vivid images of a lively group of children who sometimes shot paper airplanes into their fathers den from an upstairs alcove. A den full of photos, including some autographed by former presidents.
Catherine, the youngest, never married and became mistress of the mansion when her parents died in the 1930’s . At some point she bleached and refinished most of the dark woodwork in the home and redid the upstairs rooms, matching the paint colors it is said, to those in one of her favorite paintings.
As with many families however, tragedy visited them on occasion too. One of the sons, Joe, was an avid horseman, and in an ironic twist, his young wife Eleanore had a horse riding accident that ended with her untimely death. He never remarried.
|This slightly eccentric Oliver had a different shaving brush for each day of the week
Copshaholm and its gardens are listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is registered as an American Treasure. It sits on
, at the corner
of 808 W. Washington Street .
|Love this quirky little door!
If you have occasion to be in
South Bend, be sure to visit the Center for History and allow yourself plenty of time to take in both the Oliver Mansion
and the . Studebaker
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