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History of our Communities
The city of Elkhart sprung up at the conflux of the St. Joseph and Elkhart Rivers. Business flourished and entrepreneurs built lavish homes like Ruthmere, today a house museum. Railroads ruled in Elkhart’s early history and celebrated at the NYC RR Museum. By mid-1930 Shult began producing travel trailers, leading the way to Elkhart becoming the world’s “RV Capital”.
A historic courthouse anchors downtown Goshen with its Main Street lined with refurbished brick buildings. Mid-town, a fortress-like police booth stands as a monument to the days when John Dillinger was the bane of local bankers. A restored Old Bag Factory houses shops of working artisans while Goshen College influences a lively art scene.
Bristol was home to Indiana’s first consolidated school. The school building is now the Elkhart County Historical Museum. Bristol also boasts the county’s oldest church, and Indiana’s historic gristmill, Bonneyville Mill, just outside the town.
Once, Middlebury’s Main Street was a main route to and from Indianapolis. Today Queen Anne and Gothic Revival homes capture the feeling of bygone days. A town landmark, Krider Gardens, contains vestiges of a 1933 Chicago World’s Fair exhibit.
In 1874 a B&O Railroad route paved the way for Nappanee. Around that same time Amish pioneer, Christian Stahly, came to the area to purchase an 80-acre farm for his son. That farm is now Amish Acres, preserved for visitors to experience the rustic life of the Amish at the turn of the last century.