Elkhart, Indiana

Elkhart, Indiana

Infobox Settlement
official_name = City of Elkhart, Indiana
settlement_type = City
nickname = The City with a Heart, RV Capital of the World

imagesize =
image_caption =


imagesize =
image_caption =


mapsize = 250x200px
map_caption = Location in the state of Indiana

mapsize1 =
map_caption1 =
subdivision_type = Country
subdivision_name = United States
subdivision_type1 = State
subdivision_name1 = Indiana
subdivision_type2 = County
subdivision_name2 = Elkhart
government_type =
leader_title = Mayor
leader_name = Dick Moore (D)
area_note =
established_date =
area_magnitude = 1 E7
area_total_km2 = 57.7
area_land_km2 = 55.3
area_water_km2 = 2.3
population_as_of = 2000
population_note =
population_total = 51874
population_density_km2 = 937.7
timezone = EST
utc_offset = -5
timezone_DST = EDT
utc_offset_DST = -4
area_total_sq_mi = 22.3
area_land_sq_mi = 21.4
area_water_sq_mi = 0.9
elevation_m = 228
elevation_ft = 748
latd = 41 |latm = 40 |lats = 59 |latNS = N
longd = 85 |longm = 58 |longs = 08 |longEW = W
website = http://www.elkhartindiana.org/
postal_code_type = ZIP codes
postal_code = 46514-46517
area_code = 574
blank_name = FIPS code
blank_info = 18-20728GR|2
blank1_name = GNIS feature ID
blank1_info = 0434079GR|3
footnotes =

Elkhart (pronEng|ˈɛlkɑrt) is a city located in Elkhart County, Indiana, United States. The city is located 15 miles east of South Bend, 110 miles east of Chicago, and 150 miles 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. According to a 2008 estimate, the city has a population of 52,700. [cite web|url=http://money.cnn.com/magazines/moneymag/bplive/2008/snapshots/PL1820728.html |title=Best places to live 2008 |publisher=CNNMoney.com |month=August |year=2008 |accessdate=2008-08-29] Despite the shared name, Goshen, located about 10 miles south of Elkhart, is the county seat of Elkhart County.


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.cite web|url=http://www.richarddeantaylor.com/htm/elkhart.htm |title=History of Elkhart |author=Taylor, Richard D. |publisher=richarddeantaylor.com |accessdate=2008-08-29]

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." [cite web|url=http://www.amishcountry.org/elkhart.county.rv.history |title=The History of the RV and Manufactured Housing Industry in and around Elkhart Indiana |publisher=amishcountry.org |accessdate=2008-08-29]


In 1851, 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.cite web|url=http://www.elkhartindiana.org/egov/docs/1167354894448.htm |title=Origins of Elkhart - Transportation |publisher=City of Elkhart |date=2006-12-28 |accessdate=2008-08-29] 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.cite web|url=http://www.elkhartindiana.org/egov/docs/1167354162275.htm |title=Origins of Elkhart - The Early Years |publisher=City of Elkhart |date=2006-12-28 |accessdate=2008-08-29] 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. It has since been decommissioned.


There are several rumors to where the city's name came from.

The first says that the city was named after an Elkhart Indian Tribe, however there is no historical proof of such a tribe. Another rumor, and the reason given on the city's website, says that the city's Island Park looks like an elk's heart. However, it is unknown how Beardsley could have known what the Island looked like from above. Hot air balloons existed at the time but the first air flight did not take place until the late 1800s. A third rumor, and the most likely, claims that the source of the city's name was the Shawnee Indian Chief Elkhart, cousin of the famous Chief Tecumseh, and father of princess Mishawaka whom neighboring Mishawaka is named after. [cite web|url=http://www.stjosephcountymi.org/history/costly_victory.htm |title=Background History on St. Joseph County - Costly Victory |publisher=St. Joseph County, Michigan |author=Marvin, John |accessdate=2008-08-29]


Elkhart is located at coor dms|41|40|59|N|85|58|8|W|city (41.683149, -85.968798).GR|1

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.


*Source: [http://www.weatherbase.com/weather/weather.php3?s=781821 Weather Base]


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. [cite web | title=Elkhart City Fact Sheet | publisher=U.S. Census Bureau | url=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=| accessdate=2007-02-10]

In recent years, there has been an influx of people coming to Elkhart, particularly immigrants of Hispanic ethnicity.


Due to its close proximity to the South Bend metropolitan area, the commercial sectors of the city are small.


Elkhart is known for its manufacturing of musical instruments, pharmaceuticals, electronic components, recreational vehicles, and manufactured housing. 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.

In 1884 Dr. Franklin Miles launched the Miles Medical Co. in Elkhart, which in later decades produced products like Alka-Seltzer and Flintstones Vitamins. Later, the Miles Medical Co. was purchased by the German company Bayer, in 1979 and was consolidated into the larger Pittsburgh-based Bayer, Inc. by 1995.Fact|date=August 2008

Since its founding in 1902, Elkhart Brass Manufacturing has been a cornerstone of Elkhart's industrial base. From its locatation 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. [cite web|url=http://www.elkhartbrass.com/pages/company-mission |title=Elkhart Brass: Mission & History |publisher=elkhartbrass.com |work=Our Company |accessdate=2008-08-31]

Elkhart is home to many Recreational vehicle (RV) and boat manufacturers, including Bennington Marine, the Damon Corporation, Four Winds, Hy-Line, Keystone, Monaco, Skyline, Sun Valley, and Travel Supreme. Many other manufacturers, including Dutchman, Heartland, 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." [cite web|url=http://www.amishcountry.org/rv.scene/ |title=RV Scene |publisher=amishcountry.org |accessdate=2008-08-31] 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. [cite web|url=http://www.elkhart.org/page.cfm?id=6 |title=About Elkhart |publisher=The Greater Elkhart Chamber of Commerce |accessdate=2008-08-31]


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.

Other Transportation

Amtrak, the national passenger rail system, services the Elkhart Train Station. Two routes, Capitol Limited and Lake Shore Limited travel through the city. The Capital 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. [cite web|url=http://www.amtrak.com/servlet/ContentServer?pagename=Amtrak/am2Station/Station_Page&c=am2Station&cid=1080080552004&ssid=89 |title=Amtrak - Stations - Elkhart, IN (EKH) |publisher=Amtrak |accessdate=2008-08-29]

A public bus line runs through Elkhart and neighboring Goshen. The buses look like trolleys and thus explains why the line is called the Inter-Urban Trolley.

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.


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), one alternative school (Tipton Street Center), and the Elkhart Area Career Center.

Private Schools

In addition to the public schools, four private 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.

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.



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. 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. [cite web|url=http://www.elcotheatre.com/history.html |title=ELCO Performing Arts Center - Times gone by |publisher=elcotheatre.com |accessdate=2008-08-29]

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


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.Fact|date=August 2008

* The National New York Central Railroad Museum tells the history of the New York Central, Penn Central, Amtrak and Conrail railroads. Conrail established the Rail Yards in Elkhart that are now owned by Norfolk Southern.

* 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.


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.Fact|date=August 2008

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. [cite web|url=http://www.americancountryside.us/ |title=American Countryside Farmers Market |publisher=americancountryside.us |accessdate=2008-08-31]


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. [ [http://www.southbendtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070328/Biz/70328008 South Bend Tribune: High-flying air show grounded for '07 ] ]

ports 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 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. [ [http://www.lostremote.com/2007/08/23/new-nielsen-dma-rankings-released/ New Nielsen market rankings released - Lost Remote TV Blog ] ] 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-FM, WFRN, WFRN-FM, and WVPE (NPR).

ister Cities

*flagicon|England Burton upon Trent, East Staffordshire, England
*flagicon|Bulgaria Kardzhali, Bulgaria

Notable Residents and Natives

* Erich Barnes, football player
* Lindsay Benko, gold medalist swimmer
* Tracy Ferrie, musician
* Farrah Forke, actress
* Thomas Hampson, baritone
* Amber Jacobs, WNBA basketball player
* Shawn Kemp, former NBA basketball player
* Clarence C. Moore, engineer, supporter of HCJB and founder of Crown International
* Philip Myers, principal horn player with the New York Philharmonic
* Carrie Newcomer, musician, singer, songwriter
* Peter Reckell, actor
* Robert Spano, music director of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and the Brooklyn Philharmonic
* Tom Stevens, musician, singer, songwriter, bassist for The Long Ryders, Danny and Dusty and Gene Clark
* Rich Wingo, former Linebacker for the Green Bay Packers

ee also

*Elkhart County, Indiana
*Goshen, Indiana


External links

* [http://www.elkhartindiana.org/ City of Elkhart website]
* [http://www.elkhart.org/flash.cfm Elkhart Chamber of Commerce]

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