In between the cities of Chicago (110 miles east) and Indianapolis (150 miles north) is the city of Elkhart, Indiana that resides in the region that is predominately called Michiana. Several different Native American tribes inhabited Elkhart long before Europeans arrived in the region, and in 1831 after Dr. Havilah Beardsley purchased land from a Native Chief named Pierre Moran, the town of Elkhart was born. Elkhart officially became the name of the region in 1839 after previously being called the Village of Pulaski.
The 2010 census defined Elkhart’s population right around 51,000 people and today Elkhart remains a growing town in which many Indianans come to for leisure and growing job opportunities. Two of the main industries in Elkhart are musical instrument manufacturing and recreational vehicles. Some of the nicknames for Elkhart include the RV Capital of the World and the Band Instrument Capital of the World.
Elkhart is an eclectic city comprised of many families with about 70% of the households being owned by married couples with or without children under 18.
Elkhart’s education system has three public school districts including the Baugo, Concord and Elkhart community schools, as well as four private religious schools serving K-12, K-8 and K-6. There are also several universities in the Elkhart area including Bethel College, the Indiana Institute of Technology, Ivy Tech Community College and Indiana University South Bend.
Things to Do
Elkhart has a very rich history in the performing arts and live entertainment going all the way back to the late 19th century when shows would stop in Elkhart and perform at the historic Bucklen Opera House while traveling between New York and Chicago. Today the Lerner Theatre located downtown is one of the more historic venues in Elkhart that remains a popular attraction for musicians, theatrical performances and movies.
Elkhart is also home to several famous museums that are fun for the whole family including the RV/MH Hall of Fame & Museum, the Midwest Museum of American Art, The Ruthmere Mansion and the National New York Central Railroad Museum. At all of these illustrious museums one can learn about the rich history of the region and enjoy some of the best art in the entire state of Indiana.
Outdoor recreation is also a major part of living or visiting Elkhart with 35 different outdoor destinations that range from parks and greenways to water and skate parks. Some of the more notable parks in Elkhart include the Linton’s Enchanted Gardens, the Wellfield Botanic Gardens, the Elkhart Riverwalk and the Elkhart Environmental Center.
The NIBCO Water and Ice Park that was built in 2007 is a very entertaining feature of downtown that provides fun throughout the entire year with an ice skating path possible during the winter months and splash pads and fun in the sun during summer.
One of the biggest events in Elkhart that happens every year is the Elkhart Jazz Festival, which has become known as one of the best jazz festivals in the United States outside of New Orleans and Telluride, Colorado. This year’s event in late June of 2017 marks the 30th anniversary of this very illustrious and premier festival in Elkhart, so it will definitely be one for the record books.
Rhapsody in Green is another yearly music festival in Elkhart that happens each June in which the Parks and Recreation Department sponsors a weekend full of live music and food in Elkhart’s Island Park.
When it comes to good food, Elkhart has you covered no matter what it is you are craving. In recent years, microbreweries have been sprouting up everywhere in the Elkhart area creating even more opportunities for the community to come together and eat tasty food and drink great beverages.
The Iechyd Da Brewing Company is one of the best restaurants in Elkhart and is known for its simple, yet delicious food and even better beer. The Texas Roadhouse is an incredible steakhouse that is a local’s favorite that consistently provides delicious options. Also, McCarthy’s On The Riverwalk is another restaurant gem in Elkhart that provides great views along with an ever-changing menu.
Elkhart has always been a city along the rails and today, the interurban trolley is one of the best ways to get around Elkhart and the surrounding towns in the Michiana area. Today, Amtrak railways go right through Elkhart and can easily connect anyone to all different areas of the country through daily connections.
Also the Indiana Toll Road goes right past Elkhart, which is located at the 92 through 96 exits. This toll road is one of the more popular ways travelers pass through the state and Elkhart is and has always been the perfect place for a pit stop or a resting point for travelers of all types.
No matter what exactly it is you’re looking to do in Elkhart, there is something fun for everyone throughout the entire year! You can learn more about the city of Elkhart and its current events by going through the city’s most reliable news source, The Elkhart Truth, which has been serving the Elkhart community since 1889.
The city council in Elkhart is comprised of nine members, 6 of which are elected in districts and three who are elected by at-large elections. The mayor of Elkhart is also elected through an at-large city vote. The Elkhart County Superior Court is located at 315 S 2nd Street in downtown and is one of three courthouses in the area.
City Hall is located at 229 S 2nd Street in downtown and is the focal point for the local government.
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