Austin & Shambleau
In the early part of the 20th century, the most distinguished architectural firm in Northern Indiana was Austin & Shambleau. This firm designed government and commercial structures as well as luxury residences. The National Register of Historic Places credits Austin & Shambleau in its descriptions of the Howard Park Historic District and West Washington Historic District, in addition to the Hager House on W. Wayne St., the Art Deco I&M Building, the Judie-Olmstead House on E. Jefferson Blvd, and the Gothic Revival Cathedral of St. James. Also on the National Register is the Robert A. Grant Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse (pictured below).
Local historic commissions have designated other work of Austin & Shambleau, including structures in the East Wayne Street Historic District and Chapin Park Historic District, From a one-page biography of Ennis Raymond Austin:
Ennis Raymond Austin. Cities are built twice before a clod is turned or a stone is laid; first, in the imagination of man; second, in his sketches and blue prints. Much that is finest in South Bend architecture thus has been conceived and visualized by Ennis Raymond Austin, for 35 years prominently associated with the art of building as it has developed in South Bend. Mr. Austin was born in Owasco, Cayuga county, N. Y., and spent his early life there, with the exception of two years in Waterloo, Ia. In 1882 he entered Cornell university at Ithaca, N. Y., and was graduated in 1886 with the degree of B. S. in Architecture.
His first practical training in the exercise of his art was obtained in New York city, in the service of such eminent architects as Le Brun & Sons; John Du Fais and the Tiffany Glass & Decorating company. Coming to South Bend in 1892 he formed a partnership with W. B. Parker, under the name of Parker & Austin, which continued until 1900. Then he became superintendent of construction for the U. S. treasury department, in which capacity he directed the erection of postoffice buildings in Indiana, Illinois, and Michigan -including the federal edifice in South Bend.
Resigning his commission in 1906, Mr. Austin contracted a new partnership in South Bend, this time with W. W. Schneider. This association persisted until 1909, when it was succeeded by the present firm of Austin and Shambleau, with offices at 111 North Lafayette boulevard in the Hager building. Many of the representative structures of the city have been designed by Mr. Austin and his associates. A few of the many fine modern buildings of public and semi-public character which were born in the office of Austin and Shambleau are the Union Trust building, the Southeast Junior High school, the Tribune building, and the Y W. C. A. residence on North Lafayette boulevard. To the residential beauty of the community this firm has contributed such impressive homes as those of Fred W. Keller, Mrs. E. L. Kuhns, Fred Bryan, F. A. Miller, W. O. Davies, F. G. Eberhart, Stanley Clark, and A. R. Erskine. Among the numerous older structures constructed from the plans of Mr. Austin and his confreres are the St. James Episcopal church, and the Oliver school, and the County jail. Verily, the genius of the architect knew no class.
Mr. Austin was a fellow of the American Institute of Architects, the Indiana Chapter of American Institute of America, (serving as president of this organization in 1911, 1913, and 1921), Indiana Society of Architects, and a member of the American Association of Engineers. He acted as president of the South Bend Architects' club in 1910, 1911, 1913. His clubs are Rotary, University and Country. He was a 32nd degree Mason, belonging to the Shrine, Mizpah temple, and a member of the Chamber of Commerce.
Mr. Austin played golf and liked to see football played. He had no hobby, and offered no theory on how success should be built. He thought it a pity that human life cannot be arranged in accordance with definite principles which govern his art. For if it could, then might we all be beautiful or grand. (Adapted from a one-page biography.)
The landscape architects for the Eberhart Mansion were Simonds & West of Chicago, Illinois.