Kokomo, Indiana

Kokomo, Indiana

Infobox Settlement
official_name = Kokomo, Indiana
settlement_type =
nickname = City of Firsts, Stop Light City

|imagesize =
image_caption = Downtown Kokomo in 2008


mapsize = 250px
map_caption = Location of Kokomo 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 = Howard
government_type =
leader_title = Mayor
leader_name = Greg Goodnight (D)
area_note =
established_date =
area_magnitude = 1 E7
area_total_km2 = 42.1
area_land_km2 = 42.0
area_water_km2 = 0.2
population_as_of = 2000
population_note =
population_total = 46113
population_density_km2 = 1099.0
timezone = EST
utc_offset = -5
timezone_DST = EDT
utc_offset_DST = -4
area_total_sq_mi = 16.3
area_land_sq_mi = 16.2
area_water_sq_mi = 0.1
elevation_m = 247
elevation_ft = 810
latd = 40 |latm = 28 |lats = 56 |latNS = N
longd = 86 |longm = 7 |longs = 54 |longEW = W
website = www.cityofkokomo.org
postal_code_type = ZIP codes
postal_code = 46901-46904
area_code = 765
blank_name = FIPS code
blank_info = 18-40392GR|2
blank1_name = GNIS feature ID
blank1_info = 0437425GR|3
footnotes =

Kokomo (pronEng|ˈkoʊkəmoʊ) is a city in and the county seat of Howard County, Indiana, United States,GR|6 Indiana's 13th largest city.

Officially known as the "City of Firsts" for, among other achievements, Kokomo was a pioneer of United States automobile manufacturing, with Elwood Haynes test-driving his early internal combustion engine auto there on July 4, 1894. Haynes and his associates built a number of other autos over the next few years; the Haynes-Apperson Automobile Company for mass-production of commercial autos was established in Kokomo in 1898. One Haynes associate, German immigrant and avid inventor Gene Schneiderman, developed both the first convertible top and windshield wiper for the automobile. Haynes went on to invent Stainless Steel flatware in 1912 to give his wife tarnish-free dinnerware. In 1938, the Delco Radio Division of General Motors (now Delphi) developed the first push button car radio.

Much of the town was destroyed on April 11, 1965, by an F4 tornado that was part of the Palm Sunday Tornado Outbreak.

Kokomo's population was 46,113 at the 2000 census. Plans of annexation have been made in 2008 to make the population of Kokomo over 60,000 and double the size of the city.


Kokomo was named after Miami Indian referred to as a chief, but later found to be local legend Ma-Ko-Ko-Mo, which is sometimes spelled as Koh-Koh-Mah or Kokomoko. His name translates to Black Walnut. There was a trading post for commerce between Native Americans and European-Americans here in the early 19th century. David Foster founded the first trading post in Howard County. In 1844, Foster donated forty acres of his land to create a county seat in Kokomo, which was a log courthouse, for use in the community. It was incorporated as a city in 1865.

On October 6, 1886, natural gas was discovered in Kokomo, leading to a "boom" in business. This discovery was directly responsible for Elwood Haynes' move to Kokomo, as he was a superintendent with a gas company with interests in Kokomo and Howard County. The Diamond Plate Glass Company began in Kokomo in 1887, lured by the cheap and plentiful natural gas. This company later became part of Pittsburgh Plate Glass, or PPG.

Kokomo's Nicknames consist of the "City of Firsts" and "Stop Light City" (given by truckers driving through Kokomo on US Highway 31, infamous for its many traffic stops).

Officially known as the "City of Firsts" for, among other achievements, Kokomo was a pioneer of United States automobile manufacturing, with Elwood Haynes test-driving his early internal combustion engine auto there on 4 July, 1894. Haynes and his associates built a number of other autos over the next few years; the Haynes-Apperson Automobile Company for mass-production of commercial autos was established in Kokomo in 1898. One Haynes associate, German immigrant and avid inventor Gene Schneiderman, developed both the first convertible top and windshield wiper for the automobile. Haynes went on to invent Stainless Steel flatware in 1912 to give his wife tarnish-free dinnerware. In 1938, the Delco Radio Division of General Motors (now Delphi) developed the first push button car radio.

A more reluctant notoriety of Kokomo was the involvement of local citizens in the Ku Klux Klan. There had been large numbers of followers for years, which culminated on July 4, 1923, with the largest gathering of Ku Klux Klan members in history, which assembled at Malfalfa Park in Kokomo for a mighty Konklave. Attendance is estimated to have been 200,000 people.

Kokomo serves as the "City of Firsts" in the food industry as well. In 1928 Walter Kemp, Kemp Brothers Canning Co. developed the first canned tomato juice because of a request by a physician in search for baby food for his clinic. Kokomo is also home to the first mechanical corn picker which was developed by a man named John Powell in the early 1920's. In modern times, Kokomo is home to the first Ponderosa Steakhouse and the second Kentucky Fried Chicken. Kokomo opened the first McDonald's with a diner inside, locally called "McDiner." This McDonald's theme failed nationally, but did well in Kokomo. Eventually, the "McDiner closed and was converted back to a regular McDonald's restaurant. Kokomo also opened the first Cracker Barrel not built near an interstate highway as well as the first Starbucks Coffee not built in a metropolitan area.

Ryan White

Ryan White was a teenager from Kokomo who became a national poster child for HIV/AIDS after being expelled from school because of his infection. A hemophiliac, he became infected with HIV from a contaminated blood treatment and, when diagnosed in 1984, was given six months to live. Though doctors said he posed no risk to other students, AIDS was poorly understood at the time, and when White tried to return to school, many parents and teachers in Kokomo rallied against his attendance. A lengthy legal battle with the school system ensued, and media coverage of the struggle made White into a national celebrity and spokesman for AIDS research and public education.

When White was finally readmitted, threats of violence and lawsuits persisted. According to White's mother, people on the street would often yell, "we know you're queer" at Ryan. The editors and publishers of the Kokomo Tribune, which supported White both editorially and financially, were also called homosexuals and threatened with death for their actions. White attended Western Middle School for eighth grade for the entire 1986–87 school year, but was deeply unhappy and had few friends. The school required him to eat with disposable utensils and use separate bathrooms. Threats continued.

When a bullet was fired through the Whites' living room window, the family decided to leave Kokomo. After finishing the school year, his family moved to Cicero, Indiana, where White enrolled at Hamilton Heights High School. On August 31, 1987 a very nervous White was greeted by school principal Tony Cook, school system superintendent Bob G. Carnal, and a handful of students who had been educated about AIDS and were unafraid to shake White's hand. Surprising his doctors, White lived five years longer than predicted and died in April 1990, shortly before he would have completed high school.

Gas tower

The Kokomo Gas Tower had been a symbol of Kokomo since it was constructed in 1954. The tower was 115 m (378 ft) tall and had a capacity of 340,000 m³ (12 million cubic feet). Due to high maintenance costs of $75,000 a year to maintain and up to $1,000,000 to paint, the gas company decided to demolish it in 2003. Other ideas were reviewed before settling on this decision, including a plan to turn the tower into a giant Coca-Cola advertisement. On September 7, 2003, at approximately 7:30 a.m., the Gas Tower was demolished by Controlled Demolition, Inc. (CDI). Pieces of the tower were sold to the public for $20-30, and proceeds went to a planned Kokomo technology incubation center and Bona Vista.


thumb|right|200px|Location of the Kokomo-Peru CSA and its components:

Kokomo is the larger principal city of the Kokomo-Peru CSA, a Combined Statistical Area that includes the Kokomo metropolitan area (Howard and Tipton counties) and the Peru micropolitan area (Miami County), [ [http://www.census.gov/population/www/estimates/metro_general/2006/List4.txt METROPOLITAN STATISTICAL AREAS AND COMPONENTS] , Office of Management and Budget, 2007-05-11. Accessed 2008-08-01.] [ [http://www.census.gov/population/www/estimates/metro_general/2006/List5.txt MICROPOLITAN STATISTICAL AREAS AND COMPONENTS] , Office of Management and Budget, 2007-05-11. Accessed 2008-08-01.] [ [http://www.census.gov/population/www/estimates/metro_general/2006/List6.txt COMBINED STATISTICAL AREAS AND COMPONENT CORE BASED STATISTICAL AREAS] , Office of Management and Budget, 2007-05-11. Accessed 2008-08-01.] which had a combined population of 137,623 at the 2000 census.GR|2

As of the censusGR|2 of 2000, there were 46,113 people, 20,273 households, and 12,204 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,847.2 people per square mile (1,099.0/km²). There were 22,292 housing units at an average density of 1,376.4/sq mi (531.3/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 85.10% White, 10.34% African American, 0.38% Native American, 1.14% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 1.17% from other races, and 1.84% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.61% of the population.

There were 20,273 households out of which 28.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.2% were married couples living together, 14.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.8% were non-families. 35.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.24 and the average family size was 2.90.

In the city the population was spread out with 25.0% under the age of 18, 9.4% from 18 to 24, 29.0% from 25 to 44, 22.2% from 45 to 64, and 14.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 89.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 84.8 males.

The median income for a householde in the city was $36,258, and the median income for a family was $45,353. Males had a median income of $38,420 versus $24,868 for females. The per capita income for the city was $20,083. About 9.6% of families and 13.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 18.5% of those under age 18 and 9.3% of those age 65 or over.

"City of Firsts" inventions

* 1894 - Elwood Haynes makes the first successful trial run of his "horseless carriage" on Pumpkinvine Pike.
* 1894 - The first pneumatic rubber tire was invented by D.C. Spraker at the Kokomo Rubber Tire Company.
* 1895 - The first aluminum casting was developed by William "Billy" Johnson from the Ford and Donnelly Foundry.
* 1902 - Kingston carburetor developed by George Kingston.
* 1906 - The first Stellite cobalt-base alloy was discovered by Elwood Haynes.
* 1912 - Stainless steel tableware was invented by Elwood Haynes as a response to his wife's desire for tableware that wouldn't tarnish.
* 1918 - The Howitzer shell, used in World War I, was created by the Superior Machine Tool Company.
* 1918 - The first aerial bomb with fins was first produced by the Liberty Pressed Metal Company.
* 1920 - The mechanical corn picker was created by John Powell.
* 1926 - Carl Molin developed Dirilyte golden-hued tableware.
* 1928 - The first canned tomato juice was created by Walter Kemp from Kemp Brothers Canning Company in response to a physician's need for baby food.
* 1938 - The first push-button car radio was created at Delco Radio Division of General Motors Corporation.
* 1941 - Globe American Stove Company manufactured the first all-metal life boats and rafts.
* 1947 - The first signal-seeking car radio was created by the Delco Radio Division of General Motors.
* 1957 - Delco Radio Division of General Motors developed the first all transistor car radio.



Kokomo's current mayor is (Democrat) Greg Goodnight (2008-present). The two previous mayors have been (Republican) Matt McKillip (2004-2008) [ [http://www.cityofkokomo.org/department/index.asp?fDD=2-0 City of Kokomo Indiana | Mayors Office ] ] and (Republican) Jim Trobaugh.

Future Plans

Annexation Plans

Kokomo has plans to annex much of the surrounding areas just outside city limits. If this plan comes into action, the communities of Alto, Darrough Chapel, and Indian Heights will reside inside of city limits. It will add 14,000 people to Kokomo's population making Kokomo home to 60,000 people and put Kokomo as Indiana's 11th largest city. Putting Kokomo in between Carmel, and Anderson. The plan to almost double the size geographically, and to include areas around Kokomo which benefit from fire protection, city sewers and other amenities, have been opposed by many of the people within the planned annexation.

US 31

A major roadway traversing through Kokomo, US 31 has become one of the state's most congested roadways. In Howard County, there are currently 15 traffic signals, giving Kokomo the nickname of "Stop Light City". US 31 connects Indianapolis, Kokomo, and South Bend and a need for a new roadway became apparent. In the next decade, Kokomo, will see a new interstate-style roadway on the East side of city limits. It will have interchanges at SR 26, Boulevard, Markland Avenue, Touby Pike, as well as where the current US 31 meets the new US 31. There will be similar changes to areas near South Bend and Indianapolis. The reconstruction in Howard County, will cost roughly $340 million.



*"Kokomo Tribune" [http://www.kokomotribune.com] , daily morning newspaper owned by Community Newspaper Holdings Inc. (CNHI).
*"Kokomo Perspective" [http://www.kokomoperspective.com] , a locally-owned weekly newspaper delivered every Tuesday or Wednesday.
*"Kokomo Herald", weekly newspaper
*"The Correspondent" [http://www.iuk.edu/~kosact/TheCorrespondent.shtml] , IU-Kokomo student newspaper


*WTTK-TV [http://thecw4.trb.com/] , The CW affiliate, channel 29
*WKGK-TV, Independent, channel 48 (Currently For Sale)
*KGOV, Kokomo government access channel, channel 2


*WFIU-FM [http://www.indiana.edu/~wfiu/] , Jazz, Classical, NPR- 106.1 FM
*WFRN-FM [http://wfrn.com/] , Christian Radio- 93.7 FM
*WIOU-AM, Talk, News and Sports- 1350 AM
*WIWC-FM [http://www.mbn.org/GenMoody/default.asp?SectionID=BE39F81FA16D44279E972DC73166E9FE] , Christian Radio- 91.7 FM
*WMYK-FM [http://www.classichits.org/] , Classic Rock- 98.5 FM
*WSHW-FM [http://www.wshw.com/] , Light Rock- 99.7 FM
*WWKI-FM [http://www.wwki.com/] , Hit Country- 100.5 FM
*WZWZ-FM, Adult Alternative- 92.5 FM



*Indiana University Kokomo [http://www.iuk.edu] (IUK)
*Indiana Wesleyan University [http://caps.indwes.edu/locations/ed_centers/kokomo.htm] - Kokomo Campus
*Ivy Tech State College [http://www.ivytech.edu/kokomo/]
*Purdue College of Technology [http://www.tech.purdue.edu/kokomo/]

School districts


*Kokomo-Center Township Consolidated School Corporation [http://blackboard.kokomoschools.com/webapps/portal/frameset.jsp] (K-12) Kokomo High School (NCC)
*Eastern Howard School Corporation [http://www.eastern.k12.in.us] (K-12, Greentown, Indiana) (MIC)
*Northwestern School Corporation [http://www.nwsc.k12.in.us] (K-12) (MIC)
*Taylor Community School Corporation [http://taylor.in.schoolwebpages.com/education/district/district.php?sectiondetailid=1] (K-12, Center, Indiana) (MIC)
*Western School Corporation [http://www.western.k12.in.us] (K-12, Russiaville, Indiana) (MIC)


*Kokomo Christian School [http://www.kokomochristian.org/] (K-5)
*Redeemer Lutheran School [http://www.redeemerkokomo.org/School/SCHOOLS.htm] (K-8)
*St. Joan of Arc and St. Patrick Catholic School [http://www.stsjp.org/] (K-8)



Howard County Historical Society

The Howard County Historical Society is a major attraction in the city of Kokomo. It occupies the Seiberling Mansion, the Elliot House, and their carriage houses. The Seiberling Mansion was originally the residence of one of Kokomo's riches citizens, Monroe Seiberling. The Seiberling Mansion has been on the National Registor for Historic Places since 1972. The Elliot House also began as a residence and was then converted into office space. The HCHS campus is a popular venue for weddings with permitting weather. During the winter the HCHS has 'Christmas at the Seiberling' a event which has activities for all ages, Including Santa Claus for children as well as tours of buildings. The Lighting of the building and the carriage rides through the Old Silk Stocking Neighborhood are the The HCHS resides in the Old Silk Stocking Neighborhood which is an attraction in itself. The neighborhood is on the National Register for Historic Places and is the only neighborhood in Howard County on the register. [http://www.howardcountymuseum.org/ Howard County Historical Society]

Kokomo Parks

* [http://www.cityofkokomo.org/department/division.asp?fDD=13-76 Old Ben] , a stuffed Hereford steer at Highland Park
* [http://www.cityofkokomo.org/department/division.asp?fDD=13-76 Vermont Covered Bridge] , located in Highland Park
* [http://www.cityofkokomo.org/department/division.asp?fDD=13-76 The Sycamore Stump] , a large stump at Highland Park
* [http://www.cityofkokomo.org/department/division.asp?fDD=13-48 Kokomo Beach]
* [ Kokomo Pipeline Skate Park] , located at Jackson Morrow Park
* [http://www.cityofkokomo.org/department/division.asp?fDD=13-77 Kirkendall Interpretive Center] , nature center located at Jackson Morrow Park

* [http://www.cityofkokomo.org/department/division.asp?fDD=13-76 Elwood Haynes Museum] , located next to Highland Park
* [http://www.automotiveheritagemuseum.org/ City of Firsts Automotive Heritage Museum]
* [http://www.kokomo-in.org/ Kokomo Visitors Center] (located on US 31 North)
* [http://www.johanningciviccenter.org/ Kokomo Event Center]
* Chief Ma-Ko-Ko-Mo Burial and Monument, east of downtown Kokomo
* Kokomo Country Club, golf club


* Kokomo Rib Fest, mid-June, downtown
* City of Firsts Soapbox Derby, Last Saturday in June
* [http://www.haynesappersonfestival.org/|Haynes-Apperson Festival] , Independence Day weekend
* Howard County 4-H Fair, mid-July [http://www.howardcounty4-hfair.com/] , in Greentown, Indiana
* Taste of Kokomo Festival, mid-August, downtown
* [http://kohkohmah.com/index.html Koh-Koh-Mah & Foster Living History Encampment] , mid-September
* Oktober Fest, 1st Saturday in October, downtown
* New Years Ball Drop [http://www.technokats.org/balldrop.htm] , December 31 at Downtown Square

For more information visit [http://www.kokomomainstreet.org/events.htm Kokomo Main Street Association website]

ports teams

*Indiana Mustangs [http://www.indianamustangs.org/schedule.htm] , Mid Continental Football League (1991-2007)
*Kokomo Dodgers, Midwest League (1955-1961)
*Kokomo CFD Saints [http://www.cfdsaints.com/] , semi-pro baseball (1989-2002)
*Kokomo CFD Knights [http://www.leaguelineup.com/kokomoknights] , semi-pro baseball - (2006-2007)

ports venues

*CFD Investments Stadium in Highland Park
*Kokomo Speedway [ [http://www.kokomospeedway.net/ Kokomo Speedway ] ]
*Memorial Gym

Major employers

* Chrysler LLC
**Kokomo Transmission Plant [http://www.daimlerchrysler.com/dccom/0,,0-5-8793-1-36904-1-0-0-0-0-0-91-7155-0-0-0-0-0-0-0,00.html] (4,200 employees)
**Kokomo Casting Plant [http://www.daimlerchrysler.com/dccom/0,,0-5-8793-1-36904-1-0-0-0-0-0-91-7155-0-0-0-0-0-0-0,00.html] (1,115 employees)
**Indiana Transmission Plant #1 [http://www.daimlerchrysler.com/dccom/0,,0-5-8793-1-464834-1-0-0-0-0-0-91-7155-0-0-0-0-0-0-0,00.html] (1,898 employees)
**Indiana Transmission Plant #2 [http://www.daimlerchrysler.com/dccom/0,,0-5-8793-1-464834-1-0-0-0-0-0-91-7155-0-0-0-0-0-0-0,00.html] (482 employees)
* Delphi Corporation [http://www.delphi.com/]
**Electronics & Safety World Headquarters
* Haynes International [http://www.haynesintl.com/]
* Holder Mattress [http://www.holdermattress.com/]
* Syndicate Sales, Inc. [http://www.syndicatesales.com/]
* Coca-Cola [http://www.cokecce.com/srclib/1.0.html] bottling plant
* Electronic Data Systems [http://www.eds.com/] (EDS)


* [http://www.cityofkokomo.org/department/index.asp?fDD=21-0 Kokomo Municipal Airport]


* (South)
* (South)
* (South)
* (East)
* (East)

Railroads [http://www.inaams.com/downloads/Indiana%20railroads%202005.pdf]
*Central Railroad Company of Indianapolis [ [http://www.railamerica.com/railmaps/CERA.htm RailAmerica ::: Railmaps ] ]
*Norfolk Southern Railway
*Winimac Southern Railroad (formerly part of the Columbus to Chicago Main Line)

Notable people from Kokomo

*Jack Purvis, Jazz musician
*Sylvia Jane Kirby, singer
*John O'Banion, singer
*Ryan White, AIDS activist
*Rupert Boneham, Survivor contestant
*Elwood Haynes, inventor, automotive pioneer
*Elmer and Edgar Apperson, automotive pioneers
*Steve Butler, six-time Sprint Car National Champion
*Steve Kroft, "60 Minutes" correspondent
*John D. Shearer, photographer
*Norman Bridwell, author of the "Clifford the Big Red Dog" books
*Strother Martin, actor
*Bob Ford, national-award winning sports editor for the "Kokomo Tribune".
*Kaitlyn Christopher, Miss Indiana USA 2005
*Floyd Talbert, soldier ("of Band of Brothers fame")
*John Oetjen, Grammy Award winner, television and film producer
*Joe Thatcher, pitcher for MLB San Diego Padres
*Jimmy Rayl, Splendid Splinter, Indiana Pacers 1967-1969, two-time All-American Indiana University
*Tom Underwood, former MLB pitcher, Philadelphia Phillies, St. Louis Cardinals, Toronto Blue Jays, New York Yankees, Oakland A's, and Baltimore Orioles

*Tavis Smiley, [PBS]

Movies filmed in Kokomo

*"A Romance of Kokomo" (1917), a silent film.
*"Terror Squad" (1987), starring Chuck Connors and resident Michael W. Gordon
*"The Ryan White Story" (1988), starring Judith Light and Lukas Haas

Other film references to Kokomo

*In the animated movie "Cats Don't Dance", the protagonist (Danny) hails from Kokomo.
*"The Blues Brothers (film)" featured a fictitious Kokomo bar, "Bob's Country Bunker", where patrons threw beer bottles at the band on a stage protected by a chicken wire cage.
*In the movie series "Band of Brothers" part 3 Carentan in the end the poem read says "...he lunged he thrust both high and low and skewered the boy from Kokomo" as referenced to Floyd M. Talbert a native of Kokomo.
* Also in the same series above referenced in part 1 Currahee then mention the Kokomo Police department when he receives the revolver seen in other parts.


External links

* [http://www.kokomo.lib.in.us/glhs/history/timeline.html Kokomo-Howard County Public Library]
* [http://www.kokomo-weather.com/ Kokomo Live Weather]
* [http://www.inkokomo.com/index.html In Kokomo]
* [http://www.cityofkokomo.org City of Kokomo]
* [http://www.kokomo-in.org/ Kokomo IN Visitors Bureau]
* [http://www.howard-county.net Howard County Community Net]
* [http://www.us31kokomo.com Kokomo US 31 Improvement Project]
* [http://users.anderson.edu/~roebuck/woodland_languages.html Woodland Indian Languages]
* [http://www.ckrr.us Club Kokomo Roadrunners]
* [http://www.churches-in.com/directory/IN/Kokomo/ Kokomo Churches]

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