You know, anyone who doesn’t like Kokomo must have his thoughts scrambled so tight that he just doesn’t appreciate the things that have made this city one to be proud of.
As fellow writer Tom Hamilton has said so many times, “I love this town.” I can go back in time as he does and remember the things of my childhood that have made a mark in my memory.
The city of Kokomo got its name from its founder, David Foster. He named it after a Miami Indian chief, Ma-Ko-Ko-Mo. Mr. Foster built and lived in a log cabin, from which he traded with the tribe. In exchange for stocked goods, he got furs.
That cabin also served as the first to hold court, and the first school and church. Mr. Foster also gave 40 acres to be the site of the county seat. He was a great friend to the Miami, and often invited them in to stay over night. His portrait can be seen on the door of the courthouse. He and his wife had 11 children.
There have been many dignitaries visit here: Benjamin Harrison, William McKinley, Teddy Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, Richard M. Nixon, John Kennedy and Robert Kennedy.
Kokomo is the home of many inventions, and thus is known as the City of Firsts. In 1893, Elwood Haynes, with Elmer and Edgar Apperson, built a “horseless carriage” in their Kokomo machine shop. On July 4, 1894, Mr. Haynes made the first trial run. He first used a horse and buggy to pull the car out into the country on Pumpkinvine Pike, 3 miles east of the city. He then drove his car about 6 miles, at about 7 miles an hour, making a successful run.
He also joined up with the Apperson brothers and formed the Haynes-Apperson Automobile Co., and started production of the automobile. This started others to form factories all over the state. Indiana has been home to 256 different makes of cars.