Elkhart, Indiana is a city with a rich history and plenty of attractions for visitors. Located in the northernmost part of the state, it is close to the cities of South Bend, Mishawaka and Goshen. It is also home to one of the largest Amish communities in the world. Elkhart is known as the world capital of recreational vehicles, band instruments, and cargo sorting yards.
It is also home to numerous parks, museums, and other attractions. The city's reputation as the world capital of recreational vehicles can be attributed to the many RV manufacturers found in Elkhart. At the gigantic complex off Interstate 80, visitors can see caravans and motorhomes that date back to a 1913 Earl Travel Trailer and trace their evolution to the high-tech homes far from home that are produced today. Among the must-see exhibits is a 1931 Chevrolet Housecar that Paramount offered to Mae West to tempt her to leave Broadway for Hollywood, as well as the older Winnebago models and the smaller Airstream models. Elkhart is also known as the world capital of band instruments. This can be credited to Conn, which has been producing instruments since 1875. Over time, the various instrument manufacturers that came to the city more than 100 years ago have been absorbed by the Conn-Selmer brand, which is headquartered here. The Robert Young Rail Yard is recognized as one of the largest cargo sorting yards in the entire world.
It has been in operation since the late 19th century when it was connected to the immense New York Central Railroad (1853-1896).Elkhart offers a wide variety of things to do and offers something for a wide range of interests. The area is home to one of the largest county fairs in the country, a nationally renowned jazz festival, and several other special events. Visitors will find vibrant urban energy and several museums, as well as the pace of life of the Amish. Three of Elkhart County's parks are located in Elkhart itself: Island Park, Bonneyville Mill County Park, and Ruthmere. Each park is unique and is maintained with recreational and natural interests in mind.
Whether you want to fish, hike, bike, kayak, take pictures of nature, or just want a place to relax, Elkhart County Parks make it easy. An impressive neoclassical former bank building from 1922 is now an exciting showcase for an extensive collection of American art from the Midwest from the 19th century to the present. Around 1,200 works are exhibited at a time and there is always something new to see. To keep up to date with the area's contemporary art scene, the Elkhart Juried Regional is held every fall. The Lerner Theater has a transparent terracotta façade, dominated by four ribbed columns with Ionic capitals. Inside is an auditorium with capacity for 1,700 people under a magnificent dome which measures up to 40 feet in diameter. At Bonneyville Mill County Park visitors can explore more than 110 acres with amenities for fishing, archery, disc golf (24 holes), country sports and winter snow sports.
There's also a Japanese-style Island Garden designed by a Japanese landscape architect dotted with rocks weighing up to 16,000 pounds. The collection of this private museum is amazing and has more than 70,000 comics and more than 10,000 toys. Bringing communities together on the Heritage Trail are some 16 quilt gardens - intricate flower gardens inspired by mosaic - that flourish throughout the summer. This four-day party is a platform for more than 100 artists and attracts 20,000 people to Elkhart every year. Recent editions have included artists such as Ramsey Lewis, Gregory Porter, Ben Folds and Ben Davis. Today we all know Elkhart as the world capital of recreational vehicles. More than 80 percent of global recreational vehicle production is found across this region.
That means that if you see a motorhome rolling down the road anywhere in the world chances are it was built with craftsmanship and dedication of Hoosiers.