Kokomo, Indiana, may be a small city nestled in the heart of the Hoosier state, but it has a rich and diverse history that spans centuries. From early Native American settlements to the invention of the automobile, Kokomo has been the site of many significant historical events. Here are seven of the most noteworthy:
1. Miami Indian Settlements: The Miami tribe originally settled in the area that is now Kokomo in the 1800s. The tribe had a significant presence in the region for many years before being forced out by European settlers.
2. Civil War Connections: During the Civil War, Kokomo served as a hub for the Union Army. The city was home to a military hospital, a training camp, and a prison camp that housed Confederate soldiers.
3. Automobile Industry Roots: Kokomo's history is closely tied to the automobile industry. Elwood Haynes, who is often credited with inventing the first gasoline-powered car, built his early models in Kokomo in the late 1800s. The Haynes-Apperson Automobile Company was later founded in Kokomo in 1898.
4. Historic Courthouse: The Howard County Courthouse, which was built in the late 1800s, is an iconic landmark in Kokomo. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978 and remains an important symbol of the city's history and heritage.
5. First Female Mayor: Of particular note is the fact that Kokomo was the site of the first-ever election of a female mayor in the United States. Belle Gunness was elected as the town's mayor in 1893, and served in the role until 1894.
6. Indiana State University Campus: Indiana State University's Kokomo branch campus opened in the city in the 1940s. The campus has grown and developed over the years, offering a range of academic programs and facilities to students in the area.
7. Tornado Devastation: In 2013, a massive tornado tore through the city of Kokomo, causing widespread damage and destruction. Despite the devastation, the community rallied together to support one another and rebuild the affected areas, demonstrating the resilient spirit of the city and its people.
From early Native American settlements to groundbreaking inventions and political milestones, Kokomo has played an important role in shaping the history of Indiana and the United States. Today, the city remains a vibrant and dynamic community, rich in both history and modern amenities.
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