Elkhart, Indiana: Wikis


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City of Elkhart, Indiana
—  City  —
Nickname(s): The City with a Heart, RV Capital of the World
Location in the state of Indiana
Coordinates: 41°40′59″N 85°58′08″W / 41.68306°N 85.96889°W / 41.68306; -85.96889Coordinates: 41°40′59″N 85°58′08″W / 41.68306°N 85.96889°W / 41.68306; -85.96889
Country United States
State Indiana
County Elkhart
 - Mayor Dick Moore (D)
 - Total 22.3 sq mi (57.7 km2)
 - Land 21.4 sq mi (55.3 km2)
 - Water 0.9 sq mi (2.3 km2)
Elevation 748 ft (228 m)
Population (2000)
 - Total 51,874
 Density 2,428.6/sq mi (937.7/km2)
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
 - Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP codes 46514, 46515, 46516, 46517
Area code(s) 574
FIPS code 18-20728[1]
GNIS feature ID 0434079[2]
Website http://www.elkhartindiana.org/
Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1860 1,439
1870 3,265 126.9%
1880 6,953 113.0%
1890 11,360 63.4%
1900 15,184 33.7%
1910 19,282 27.0%
1920 24,277 25.9%
1930 32,949 35.7%
1940 33,434 1.5%
1950 35,646 6.6%
1960 40,274 13.0%
1970 43,152 7.1%
1980 41,305 −4.3%
1990 43,627 5.6%
2000 51,874 18.9%

Elkhart (pronounced /ˈɛlkɑrt/) is a city in Elkhart County, Indiana, United States. The city is located 15 miles (24 km) east of South Bend, 110 miles (180 km) east of Chicago, and 150 miles (240 km) north of Indianapolis. Elkhart has the larger population of the two principal cities of the Elkhart-Goshen Metropolitan Statistical Area, which in turn is part of the South Bend-Elkhart-Mishawaka Combined Statistical Area, in a region commonly known as Michiana. The population was 51,874 at the 2000 census. Despite the shared name, it is not the county seat of Elkhart County; that position is held by the city of Goshen, located about 10 miles (16 km) south of Elkhart.



The St. Joseph River widens as it flows west through Elkhart.

At the beginning of the 19th Century, the area now known as Elkhart was mainly inhabited by the Ottawa, Chippewa, and Potawatomi Indian Tribes. In 1829, the Village of Pulaski was established as Post Office, mill and a few houses on the north side of the St. Joseph River. Two years later, Dr. Havilah Beardsley moved westward from Ohio and purchased one square mile of land from Pierre Moran, a half French, half Native American Potawatomi Chief to establish a rival town named Elkhart. In 1839, the Pulaski Post Office was officially changed to Elkhart.[3]

By the late 19th century and early 20th century, Musical Instrument factories, Miles Medical Company, and numerous mills set up shop and became the base of the economy. In 1934, the first trailer factory opened up shop in Elkhart. Similar companies followed suit for the remainder of the decade and growth continued to grow until the rationing of materials in World War II. After the war, growth picked back up and by 1949, Elkhart was officially dubbed the "Trailer Capital of the World."[4]



In 1851, the Michigan Southern & Northern Indiana Railroad Company built the first rail line through the city and by 1852 the first passenger train passed through town. This, in turn, caused major population growth.[5] Today, Norfolk Southern has the biggest railroad presence in town.

In 1867, Elkhart Hydraulic Company built the first hydroelectric dam across the St. Joseph River and by 1870 it powered the city.[6] Today, the dam still produces electric power and is operated by Indiana Michigan Power, a subsidiary of American Electric Power.

In 1889, the second electric streetcar system in the world began operation on the city's streets.[5] It has since been decommissioned.


The etymology of the city's name is disputed. One source argues that the city's Island Park looks like an elk's heart.[6] Another source claims that the source of the city's name was the Shawnee Indian Chief Elkhart, cousin of the famous Chief Tecumseh, and the father of Princess Mishawaka, the namesake of neighboring Mishawaka.[3][7]


Elkhart is located at 41°40′59″N 85°58′8″W / 41.68306°N 85.96889°W / 41.68306; -85.96889 (41.683149, -85.968798).[8]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 22.3 square miles (57.7 km²), of which, 21.4 square miles (55.3 km²) of it is land and 0.9 square miles (2.3 km²) of it (4.00%) is water.

The city sits on the St. Joseph and Elkhart Rivers. The Elkhart River drains into the St. Joseph at Island Park just north of Downtown. There are also numerous small lakes around the city.


Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average Temperature °F 30/16 34/19 46/29 59/39 70/49 80/59 83/63 81/61 74/54 62/43 49/33 35/22 59/41
Average Rainfall 2.2 in 1.9 in 3.1 in 3.8 in 3.2 in 4.1 in 3.8 in 3.7 in 3.6 in 3.1 in 3.3 in 3.3 in 39.1 in
Average Snowfall 22.4 in 16.1 in 9.7 in 2.4 in - - - - - 1 in 8.6 in 21 in 81.2


As of the 2000 census, there were 51,874 people, 20,072 households, and 12,506 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,428.0 people per square mile (937.7/km²). There were 21,688 housing units at an average density of 1,015.1/sq mi (392.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 71.5% White, 14.7% African American, 0.4% Native American, 1.2% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 9.2% from other races, and 2.9% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 14.8% of the population.

Of the 20,072 households, 62.3% were occupied by families, 33.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.9% were married couples living together, 15.3% had a female householder with no husband present and 37.7% were non-families. 30.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.55 and the average family size was 3.16.

In the city the population was spread out with 28.4% under the age of 18, 11.1% from 18 to 24, 31.7% from 25 to 44, 18.0% from 45 to 64, and 10.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 31 years. For every 100 females there were 96.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.6 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $34,863, and the median income for a family was $40,514. Males had a median income of $30,674 versus $22,760 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,890. About 11.1% of families and 13.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 18.6% of those under age 18 and 9.0% of those age 65 or over.[9]


The government consists of a mayor and a city council. The mayor is elected in citywide vote. The city council consists of nine members. Six are elected from individual districts. Three are elected elected at-large.


Downtown Elkhart from the Riverwalk.

Due to its close proximity to the South Bend metropolitan area, the commercial sectors of the city are small. As of April 29, 2009, the unemployment rate is 18.8%.[10]


Elkhart is known for its manufacturing of musical instruments (Elkhart was long known as the "Band Instrument Capital of the World"), pharmaceuticals, electronic components, recreational vehicles, manufactured housing and mobile homes. Numerous manufacturers of musical instruments and accessories, of which most of the surviving companies have been absorbed into the Conn-Selmer conglomerate, have a long history in the city. The Charles R. Walter Piano is also hand-crafted in Elkhart. Famed jeweler Images was founded in Elkhart in a small garage.

In 1884 Dr. Franklin Miles launched the Miles Medical Co. in Elkhart, which in later decades produced products like Alka-Seltzer and Flintstones Vitamins. In 1979, the Miles Medical Co. was purchased by the German company Bayer, and was consolidated into the larger Pittsburgh-based Bayer, Inc. by 1995.[citation needed]

Since its founding in 1902, Elkhart Brass Manufacturing has been a cornerstone of Elkhart's industrial base. From its location in the heart of Elkhart's industrial area at West Beardsley Avenue, Elkhart Brass Manufacturing has become a global leader in the creation of innovative fire fighting equipment.[11]

Elkhart is home to many Recreational vehicle (RV), boat manufacturers, and van conversion companys, including Bennington Marine, the Damon Corporation, Forest River Inc, Four Winds, HEARTLAND RVs, Hy-Line, Keystone, Monaco, Skyline, Sun Valley, and Travel Supreme. Many other manufacturers, including Dutchman, Gulf Stream, and Jayco, can be found nearby in Goshen, Middlebury, Nappanee and Wakarusa. Due to the high concentration of the RV industry in the area, Elkhart is dubbed the "RV Capital of the World."[12] The city is also home to some small and large shops which support the RV (Recreational Vehicle) industry as well as construction.

The city is also home to the Robert Young Rail Yards which are the second largest freight classification yards in the world.[13]

Because of Elkhart's recent economic troubles, the city and some of its unemployed residents were featured on the February 8th, 2009 edition of ABC News.[14]


Elkhart's riverwalk.

Major roads

Elkhart is located on The Indiana Toll Road (Interstates 80/90) at exits 92 and 96 and on the eastern portion of the St. Joseph Valley Parkway (U.S. Route 20) which by-passes the southern side of the city. State Road 19 runs through the city while U.S. Route 33 and State Road 120 terminate in the city. U.S. 33 used to run through the city and that route was part of the original Lincoln Highway.


Amtrak, the national passenger rail system, services the Elkhart Train Station. Two routes, Capitol Limited and Lake Shore Limited travel through the city. The Capitol Limited line connects Chicago to Washington, DC and the Lake Shore Limited line connects Chicago to New York and Boston. Both lines connect to their eastern destinations via Cleveland with one train offered for each direction on each route daily.[15]


Elkhart Municipal Airport is located on the city's Northwest side. No commercial flights are offered but two charter flight services do operate out of the airport. South Bend Regional Airport (SBN) is the closest airport with commercial airline service.

The Mishawaka Pilots Club Airport (3C1) is just outside the southwest edge of the city of Elkhart. Mishawaka Pilots Club Airport is a privately owned, public use facility.

Interurban Trolley

An Interurban Trolley in Mishawaka.

Elkhart is a central hub for the Interurban Trolley regional public bus service, which stops at various destinations throughout the city and connects it to the neighboring Goshen, Osceola, Dunlap and Mishawaka. It was originally known as the BUS system. The system's name comes from the fact that it uses vintage-trolley-style buses that run between several different cities, evoking the interurban train network that were common in United States during the first half of the 20th century. Interurban trolley operates on Weekdays and on Saturday. It does not operate on Sundays and major holidays.

Connections to other transit systems

Bittersweet/Mishawaka Route links up with Transpo's Route 9 in Mishawaka, which in turn, connects riders to downtown South Bend and the South Shore Station, Transpo's transit hub. North Pointe Route stops at Elkhart's Greyhound station. Elkhart-Goshen and Concord routes both stop near the Elkhart Train Station.


Public schools

The Baugo Community Schools serve the southwest side of the city and the west central part of the county. That system is made up of two elementary schools (North and South), an intermediate, a junior high, and a high school each named Jimtown.

The Concord Community Schools serve the southeast side of the city of Elkhart and northwest Goshen. This system consists of four elementary schools (East Side, Ox Bow, South Side, and West Side), a junior high school, and a high school, both named Concord.

The Elkhart Community Schools, the largest district, serve most of the city and the populated northwest side of the county. The system includes one primary school (Roosevelt), thirteen elementary schools (Beardsley, Bristol, Cleveland, Eastwood, Hawthorne, Mary Beck, Mary Daly, Mary Feeser, Monger, Osolo, Pinewood, Riverview, and Woodland), three middle schools (North Side, Pierre Moran, and West Side), two high schools (Central and Memorial), two alternative schools (L.I.F.E) (Tipton Street Center), and the Elkhart Area Career Center.

Private schools

In addition to the public schools, four private religious schools serve the city. Elkhart Christian Academy (grades K-12), Trinity Lutheran School (K-8), St. Vincent de Paul Catholic School (grades K-6), and St. Thomas the Apostle School (grades K-8) are located in Elkhart. Additionally, two private secular schools exist: The Montessori School of Elkhart on Crawford Street runs from pre-K through Grade 6. The Montessori Christian School on CR 6 is also an elementary school.

Higher education

Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary has been at its south side location since 1958.

Bethel College of neighboring Mishawaka has a small location on the city's south side.

Indiana Institute of Technology has a small operation on Middlebury Street on the city's east side.

Indiana University South Bend, which is the third largest of the Indiana University campuses, operates an Elkhart Center located in the city's downtown area. The center moved to its downtown location in August 2007.

Ivy Tech Community College is a statewide system of community colleges as well as the second largest institution of higher education in the state of Indiana and has a campus on the city's east side. There are plans for a new campus directly off County Road 17 which is a fast growing commercial and industrial corridor.

Beulah Bible College & Seminary has been at its southwest location since 1995.



The front of the Elco Theater downtown Elkhart.

In 1884, the Bucklen Opera House opened its doors for the first time with a seating capacity of 1200. It was common for one performance to take place every week. Elkhart's location on the railroad made it a good stopping point for shows traveling from New York to Chicago. In 1896, the first movie was shown in the theater and it was also used as Elkhart High School's auditorium until 1924.[3] The Bucklen was demolished in 1986.

The ELCO Performing Arts Center is a small theater located downtown. After being built in 1924 and undergoing two name changes, it became the ELCO in 1934. Ownership switched hands several times but the end of the ELCO appeared to be in sight when owner William Miller died in 1987. In 1990, the city bought the theater to prevent further deterioration from vacancy. Also that year, a commission was formed by some locals to oversee the restoration. Funding issues led the city to get involved further in the form of getting a federal grant. The grant helped with major upgrades and the hiring of a full time staff.[16]

Now the ELCO is used for a wide range of smaller productions.

The ELCO will be renamed the Lerner Theatre when it reopens after an $11 million renovation and expansion in late 2010.


There are a few different museums located in the city.

  • The Midwest Museum of American Art has over 2500 works in its collection and offers 8-10 temporary showings per year in addition to that.[citation needed]
  • The RV/MH Hall of Fame & Museum is appropriately located in the city. Elkhart County is known as being the RV Capital of the World.
  • The Ruthmere Museum, which was the mansion once occupied by Albert R. and Elizabeth Baldwin Beardsley, the descendants of the city's founder, and the "Time Was" Museum are also in Elkhart. They are both small historical museums that depict how life was in the early Twentieth Century.


Elkhart's downtown riverwalk on a wintery evening.

The city has 35 different facilities including parks, pavilions, a waterpark, a skatepark, golf courses, greenways and the downtown riverwalk which now features an ice-skating/roller-blading path depending on the time of year.[citation needed]

A new theme park named American Countryside is planned to be built over the next ten years on the southwest side of the city. The first phase, which is a farmer's market, opened in May 2007.[17]

On NIBCO Parkway, there is a skating rink which rents skates and serves hot chocolate in the winter months. In the summer, it turns into a free waterspray park. There is a new spray park at McNaughton Park on the city's west side, as well.


The Elkhart Jazz Festival is a three-day event that takes place in late June on the banks of the Elkhart River. It is known as one of the premier Jazz festivals in the nation. In 2007, the festival celebrated its 20th anniversary.

Each June, the Elkhart Parks and Recreation Department presents Rhapsody in Green. It is a weekend event put on at the city's Island Park. It is a typical summer festival with live music and food.

Also, the Elkhart Air Show is an annual event that takes place at the Elkhart Municipal Airport at the end of July. It features a wide variety of airplanes old and new. The event was canceled in 2007 due to financial issues. It is unclear whether the show is on hiatus or gone for good.[18]

On February 9, 2009 President Barack Obama spoke to a crowd of thousands at Concord High School in an attempt to bolster support for his nearly trillion dollar economic stimulus package.[19][20]

Sports team

The Elkhart Express is a semi-professional men's basketball team in the International Basketball League. Their home games are played at North Side Gymnasium, located inside Elkhart's North Side Middle School. The franchise began operation in 2006 and won the International Title in 2006 and 2007. The Elkhart Express officially released that they were folding under bankruptcy on January 5, 2009.


The Elkhart Truth is the main newspaper that serves the city of Elkhart and much of the county.

Elkhart lies in the South Bend-Elkhart television market, the 89th largest in the United States as of 2008.[21] Two television stations, WSJV-TV (Fox) and WNIT-TV (PBS), are located in the city along with a number of radio stations including WTRC, WLEG, WCMR, WFRN-FM, and WVPE (NPR).

Sister cities

Notable residents and natives

See also


  1. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. http://factfinder.census.gov. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  2. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. http://geonames.usgs.gov. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^ a b c Taylor, Richard D.. "History of Elkhart". richarddeantaylor.com. http://www.richarddeantaylor.com/htm/elkhart.htm. Retrieved 2008-08-29. 
  4. ^ "The History of the RV and Manufactured Housing Industry in and around Elkhart Indiana". amishcountry.org. http://www.amishcountry.org/elkhart.county.rv.history. Retrieved 2008-08-29. 
  5. ^ a b "Origins of Elkhart - Transportation". City of Elkhart. 2006-12-28. http://www.elkhartindiana.org/egov/docs/1167354894448.htm. Retrieved 2008-08-29. 
  6. ^ a b "Origins of Elkhart - The Early Years". City of Elkhart. 2006-12-28. http://www.elkhartindiana.org/egov/docs/1167354162275.htm. Retrieved 2008-08-29. 
  7. ^ Marvin, John. "Background History on St. Joseph County - Costly Victory". St. Joseph County, Michigan. http://www.stjosephcountymi.org/history/costly_victory.htm. Retrieved 2008-08-29. 
  8. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2000 and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2005-05-03. http://www.census.gov/geo/www/gazetteer/gazette.html. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  9. ^ "Elkhart City Fact Sheet". U.S. Census Bureau. http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/SAFFFacts?_event=ChangeGeoContext&geo_id=16000US1820728&_geoContext=01000US&_street=&_county=elkhart&_cityTown=elkhart&_state=04000US18&_zip=&_lang=en&_sse=on&ActiveGeoDiv=geoSelect&_useEV=&pctxt=fph&pgsl=010&_submenuId=factsheet_1&ds_name=DEC_2000_SAFF&_ci_nbr=null&qr_name=null&reg=null%3Anull&_keyword=&_industry=. Retrieved 2007-02-10. 
  10. ^ "Unemployment: 109 cities at 10% or higher". Government survey shows jobless rate grows in all 372 metro areas, with 15% joblessness in 18 of them. cnn.com. http://money.cnn.com/2009/04/29/news/economy/metropolitan_area_unemployment/index.htm?section=money_latest. Retrieved 2009-05-13. 
  11. ^ "Elkhart Brass: Mission & History". Our Company. elkhartbrass.com. http://www.elkhartbrass.com/pages/company-mission. Retrieved 2008-08-31. 
  12. ^ "RV Scene". amishcountry.org. http://www.amishcountry.org/rv.scene/. Retrieved 2008-08-31. 
  13. ^ "About Elkhart". The Greater Elkhart Chamber of Commerce. http://www.elkhart.org/page.cfm?id=6. Retrieved 2008-08-31. 
  14. ^ Tapper, Jake (2009-02-08). "Hoosier Daddy: President Obama to Indiana on Monday". Political Punch (ABC News). http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2009/02/hoosier-daddy-p.html. Retrieved 2009-04-29. 
  15. ^ "Amtrak - Stations - Elkhart, IN (EKH)". Amtrak. http://www.amtrak.com/servlet/ContentServer?pagename=Amtrak/am2Station/Station_Page&c=am2Station&cid=1080080552004&ssid=89. Retrieved 2008-08-29. 
  16. ^ "ELCO Performing Arts Center - Times gone by". elcotheatre.com. http://www.elcotheatre.com/history.html. Retrieved 2008-08-29. 
  17. ^ "American Countryside Farmers Market". americancountryside.us. http://www.americancountryside.us/. Retrieved 2008-08-31. 
  18. ^ South Bend Tribune: High-flying air show grounded for '07
  19. ^ "Big Crowds Gather At Elhart School To Hear Obama", Chicago Tribune, February 9, 2009 [1]
  20. ^ "President Barack Obama Woos Ordinary Americans With Economic Stimulus Package" The Telegraph, February 9, 2009 [2]
  21. ^ New Nielsen market rankings released - Lost Remote TV Blog

External links

Simple English

City of Elkhart, Indiana
—  City  —
Nickname(s): The City with a Heart, RV Capital of the World
Coordinates: 41°40′59″N 85°58′08″W / 41.68306°N 85.96889°W / 41.68306; -85.96889
Country United States
State Indiana
County Elkhart
 - Mayor Dick Moore (D)
 - Total 22.3 sq mi (57.7 km2)
 - Land 21.4 sq mi (55.3 km2)
 - Water 0.9 sq mi (2.3 km2)
Elevation 748 ft (228 m)
Population (2000)
 - Total 51,874
 Density 2,428.6/sq mi (937.7/km2)
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
 - Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP codes 46514-46517
Area code(s) 574
FIPS code 18-20728[1]
GNIS feature ID 0434079[2]
Website http://www.elkhartindiana.org/

Elkhart (pronounced /ˈɛlkɑrt/) is a city in Elkhart County in the state of Indiana, in the United States.



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