| United States|
6.5% (Feb 2015)
27.03 sq mi
Keith G. Bosman
| Kenosha Public Museum, Dinosaur Discovery Museum, Kenosha North Pier Light|
University of Wisconsin–Parkside, Carthage College, Gateway Technical College, Herzing University-Kenosha
Kenosha is a city in and the county seat of Kenosha County in State of Wisconsin. With an estimated population of 99,889 as of July 1, 2013, Kenosha is the fourth-largest city in Wisconsin. Kenosha is also the fourth-largest city on Lake Michigan, preceded by Chicago, Milwaukee, and Green Bay. Kenosha lies on the southwestern shore of Lake Michigan, 35 miles (56 km) south of Milwaukee and 50 miles north of Chicago. Kenosha is part of the U.S. Census Bureaus Chicago-Naperville-Joliet, IL-IN-WI Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Kenosha is located in the southeastern corner of Wisconsin at 42°34?56?N 87°50?44?W (42.582220, -87.845624). Kenoshas eastern boundary is Lake Michigan. It is bordered by the Town of Somers to the north, the village of Bristol to the west and the village of Pleasant Prairie to the south. Kenoshas passenger train station is the last stop on Chicagos Union Pacific North Metra Line and is located almost halfway between Milwaukee and Chicago.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 27.03 square miles (70.01 km2), of which, 26.93 square miles (69.75 km2) is land and 0.10 square miles (0.26 km2) is water.
Pre-Clovis culture settlements were discovered in the greater Kenosha area in the late 20th century. These prehistoric settlements date approximately to the era of the Wisconsin glaciation. Paleo Indians first settled in the area at least 13,500 years ago.
The Potawatomi originally named the area gnozhe ("place of the pike").
The early name by the Ojibwa Indians is reported as Masu-kinoja. This describes the place of spawning trout as "trout (pike) come all at same time". There were thousands of fish entering the rivers from Lake Michigan. Harvesting these fish provided food for the coming months. There is also a town of Masu-kegan in Michigan.
The first white settlers were part of the Western Emigration Company. They arrived in the early 1830s from Hannibal and Troy, New York, led by John Bullen, Jr., who sought to purchase enough land for a town. Thwarted in Milwaukee and Racine, the group arrived at Pike Creek on 6 June 1835, building log and later frame homes. The first school and churches followed by 1835, with platting completed in 1836. As more settlers arrived and the first post office was established, the community was first known as Pike Creek in 1836. In the ensuing years the area became an important Great Lakes shipping port, and the village was once again renamed in 1837, this time to Southport. (This is still the name of a southeast-side neighborhood, park, and elementary school, as well as several businesses).
In 1850, another change brought the growing city (and later Kenosha County) its current title, an Anglicized version of the early name Kinoje. Kenoshans often refer affectionately to their city as "K-Town" and "Keno" (the latter adopted by some local businesses).
Between 1902 and 1988, Kenosha produced millions of automobiles and trucks under marques such as Jeffery, Rambler, Nash, Hudson, LaFayette, and American Motors Corporation (AMC). A prototype steam car was built in Kenosha by the Sullivan-Becker engineering firm in 1900. Two years later the Thomas B. Jeffery Company, builders of the Sterling bicycle, began production of the Rambler runabout. In 1902 Rambler and Oldsmobile were the first cars to employ mass-production techniques. The 1902 Rambler was also the first automobile to incorporate a steering wheel, rather than use the then-common tiller-controlled steering. In 1916 Jeffery was purchased by auto executive Charles W. Nash and became Nash Motors. In May 1954, Nash acquired Detroit-based Hudson and the new firm was named American Motors Corporation. A 47-acre (190,000 m2) west side park and an elementary school are named for Charles W. Nash.
In partnership with French automaker Renault, AMC manufactured several models in Kenosha in the early 1980s including the Alliance, which won the 1983 “Car of The Year” award from Motor Trend magazine. Two decades earlier, AMCs 1963 Rambler Classic had also received the award. In 1987 Renault sold its controlling interest in AMC to Chrysler Corporation, which had already contracted with AMC for the production of its M-body mid-sized cars at the Kenosha plant. The AMC Lakefront plant (1960–88), a smaller facility, was demolished in 1990 (a chimney-demolition ceremony that June drew 10,000 spectators) and was redeveloped into upscale HarborPark, with its rambling lakeside condominiums, large recreational marina, water park and promenades, artworks, sculptures, fountains (including the 2007 Christopher Columbus fountain), the Kenosha Public Museum, which opened in 2000, and the Civil War Museum, which opened in 2008, all connected by the Kenosha Electric Railway streetcar system.
From the start of the 20th century through the 1930s, many Italian, Irish, Polish and German immigrants, many of them skilled craftsmen, made their way to the city and contributed to the citys construction, culture, architecture, music and literature.
Kenosha has 21 locations and three districts listed on the National Register of Historic Places including the Library Park, Third Avenue, and the Civic Center historic districts. The city has a Kenosha Landmarks Commission, and among the many local city-designated landmarks are the 1929 YMCA at 711 59th Place, the Manor House at 6536 Third Avenue, the John McCaffary House at 5732 13th Court, the St. Matthew Episcopal Church at 5900 Seventh Avenue, the Washington Park Clubhouse at 2205 Washington Road, and the Justin Weed House at 3509 Washington Road.
In June 1993, the city installed reproductions of the historic Sheridan LeGrande street lights that were specially designed for Kenosha by Westinghouse Electric in 1928; these can be seen on Sixth Avenue between 54th Street and 59th Place. A classic two-mile (3 km) downtown electric streetcar system was opened on June 17, 2000, and on September 22nd, 2014 the Kenosha city council approved a crosstown extension of the system incorporating the existing route between 48th and 61st Streets on both Sixth and Eighth Avenues.
Kenosha, decades ago a bustling hub of manufacturing, is today a bedroom community due to the ease of access to the Chicago-Milwaukee corridor. According to county statistics, 49% of Kenoshas workforce commutes outside of Kenosha County to their positions. Many travel northward towards Milwaukee or south into the Chicago area. Kenoshans consider neighboring communities Pleasant Prairie and Somers to be suburbs of Kenosha.
Kenoshas three downtown museums, the Kenosha Public Museum, the Civil War Museum and the Dinosaur Discovery Museum, are Smithsonian Institution affiliates.
Completed in 2001, the Kenosha Public Museum is located on the Lake Michigan shoreline. Its main exhibit is a prehistoric Woolly Mammoth skeleton uncovered in western Kenosha in 1992. The bones revealed new clues about ancient American history; cut-marks on the bones indicated that the animals were butchered by humans using stone tools. Carbon dating indicated their age to be 12,500 radiocarbon years old or 14,500 calendar years old, one thousand radiocarbon years earlier than the previously-accepted presence of humans in the Americas. The museum also displays other Ice Age and fine-art exhibits.
The Kenosha History Center is within the 1917 City water treatment plant on Simmons Island adjoining the 1866 Kenosha Light Station, and showcases the history of Kenosha from the Indians and the first settlements to the present day. The 1906 Kenosha North Pier Light is also nearby.
Kenoshas 59,000-square-foot (5,500 m2) Civil War Museum opened on June 13, 2008. The main exhibit, "The Fiery Trial", opened September 15, 2008. It is a 15,000-square-foot (1,400 m2) exhibit offering an interactive experience of the role of six Midwestern states before, during and after the American Civil War.
The Dinosaur Discovery Museum, designated a federal repository, opened in August 2006 in the historic Old Post Office adjoining the 56th Street streetcar line at Tenth Avenue, and includes an on-site paleontology laboratory operated through the Carthage College Institute of Paleontology.
The Kenosha Transit Carhouse at 724 54th Street, which houses Kenoshas historic fleet of PCC streetcars, is occasionally open for guided tours.
A Maritime Museum is being developed within the restored 1866 Southport Light and Lighthouse Keepers cottage on Simmons Island. A Childrens Museum was also planned for the upper two floors of the Orpheum Building on Sixth Avenue at 59th Street, currently occupied by Scoops Ice Cream.