Nappanee, Indiana

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Nappanee, Indiana
City of Nappanee
Downtown Nappanee
Downtown Nappanee
Location of Nappanee in Elkhart County and Kosciusko County, Indiana.
Location of Nappanee in Elkhart County and Kosciusko County, Indiana.
Coordinates: 41°26′39″N 85°59′58″W / 41.44417°N 85.99944°W / 41.44417; -85.99944Coordinates: 41°26′39″N 85°59′58″W / 41.44417°N 85.99944°W / 41.44417; -85.99944
Country United States
State Indiana
Counties Elkhart, Kosciusko
 • Mayor Phil Jenkins (R)
 • Total 4.42 sq mi (11.46 km2)
 • Land 4.42 sq mi (11.46 km2)
 • Water 0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)  0%
Elevation[2] 876 ft (267 m)
Population (2010)[3]
 • Total 6,648
 • Estimate (2016)[4] 6,780
 • Density 1,532.55/sq mi (591.74/km2)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code 46550
Area code(s) 574
FIPS code 18-52020[5]
GNIS feature ID 439936

Nappanee is a city in Elkhart and Kosciusko counties in the U.S. state of Indiana. The population was 6,648 at the 2010 census. The name Nappanee probably means "flour."[6] Nappanee holds the distinction of having the longest city name in the United States containing each letter in its name twice.[7] The town has several tourist attractions: Amish Acres, Nappanee Raceway, The Arts & Crafts Festival, and the Apple Festival.


Nappanee was originally sought after because of its fertile farmland because of the headwaters of the Wabash River in northern Indiana. It is the southern gateway to the Northern Indiana Amish Country. Before the 1800s, Nappanee was inhabited by the Miami and Pottawatomi Indians. The first white settlers came to the area In 1830. By 1870, seven farms had been established and a population of forty people were settled in Nappanee. Nappanee grew tremendously after the construction of the B&O Railroad in 1874. Farmers sold land to the Railroad so that its tracks would run right next to Nappanee on its route to Chicago. The railroad brought more settlers to Nappanee, and the B&O officially gave Nappanee its name. The families who settled in Nappanee were largely religious and conservative. Over time the B&O Railroad became CSX. Nappanee is still surrounded by family farms of Anabaptists, including Amish, Mennonite, and the (Schwarzenau) Brethren.[8]

The Frank and Katharine Coppes House, Downtown Nappanee Historic District, Arthur Miller House, Nappanee Eastside Historic District, Nappanee West Park and Pavilion, and Stahly-Nissley-Kuhns Farm are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[9]

A tornado touched down in Nappanee around 10:30 pm on 18 October 2007, injuring at least five people and damaging 200 to 250 buildings, half of them severely. The tornado was classified as an EF3. The damage included three recreational vehicles factories that are among the community's largest employers: Fairmont Homes, Franklin Coach, and Gulf Stream Coach.[10]

Amish migration to Nappanee[edit]

The Mennonite sect was formed in the early 16th century as part of the Radical Reformation in Germany and Switzerland. As a more radical branch of the wider Protestant Reformation against Catholic practices, the Mennonites were vigorously persecuted by religious authorities. During the latter part of the 17th century a group from the Mennonites led by Jakob Ammann separated to form the Amish group which was named after its leader. During the 1700s, the Amish were attracted to the promise of religious freedom in the British colonies in North America; they settled in Pennsylvania. Amish then migrated to Middlebury in 1841 from Pennsylvania. Nappanee's Amish originate from the early Amish immigrants from southwest Germany to Pennsylvania in the 1700s.[11]


According to the 2010 census, the city has a total area of 4.15 square miles (10.7 km2), all land.[12]


Phil Jenkins
Kathy Brown, Oversees city finances, including accounts payable, budget, and investments. Primary record-keeper for the city government.
At Large
Jacob Dermott
District 1
Todd Nunemaker
District 2
Kim Ingle
District 3
Sam Beachy
District 4
Dana Hollar
City Court Judge
Christopher Walter
Service to the City, 2010–present
Judge (appointed by Gov. Mitch Daniels). Presides over city court and issues sentences and fines for infractions or misdemeanors[13]


Nappanee from above.
Historical population
Census Pop.
Est. 20176,839[4]2.9%
U.S. Decennial Census[14]

2010 census[edit]

As of the census[3] of 2010, there were 6,648 people, 2,545 households, and 1,792 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,601.9 inhabitants per square mile (618.5/km2). There were 2,852 housing units at an average density of 687.2 per square mile (265.3/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 94.8% White, 0.7% African American, 0.3% Native American, 0.2% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 2.4% from other races, and 1.5% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6.2% of the population.

There were 2,545 households of which 37.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.7% were married couples living together, 12.0% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.7% had a male householder with no wife present, and 29.6% were non-families. 24.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.60 and the average family size was 3.09.

The median age in the city was 34.8 years. 27.9% of residents were under the age of 18; 8.6% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 27.6% were from 25 to 44; 23.4% were from 45 to 64; and 12.5% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 48.9% male and 51.1% female.

2000 census[edit]

As of the census[5] of 2000, there were 6,710 people, 2,521 households, and 1,792 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,818.9 people per square mile (702.1/km²). There were 2,647 housing units at an average density of 717.5 per square mile (277.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 95.48% White, 0.28% African American, 0.22% Native American, 0.34% Asian, 2.52% from other races, and 1.15% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.98% of the population.

There were 2,521 households out of which 39.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.1% were married couples living together, 9.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.9% were non-families. 23.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.65 and the average family size was 3.15.

In the city the population was spread out with 29.7% under the age of 18, 10.6% from 18 to 24, 30.9% from 25 to 44, 17.9% from 45 to 64, and 11.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 31 years. For every 100 females, there were 99.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.5 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $45,988, and the median income for a family was $53,329. Males had a median income of $36,200 versus $21,733 for females. The per capita income for the city was $19,229. About 4.5% of families and 4.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.9% of those under age 18 and 8.4% of those age 65 or over.

Amish community[edit]

There is a large Amish community founded in 1842, centered around the Nappanee. It is the sixth largest of all Amish settlements with 5,910 people (in 43 congregations) in 2017.[15]


Wa-nee is the combination of Wakarusa, a neighboring town, and Nappanee area schools. Over 375 teachers and staff are employed with Wa-nee Community Schools. Throughout the state, Wa-nee is known for its strong academic, extracurricular, and athletic programs.

  • NorthWood High School-Recently given the Indiana Chamber of Commerce “Best Buy Schools” distinction for quality education with conscientious use of taxpayer dollars.
  • NorthWood Middle School and Wakarusa Elementary-are also part of the Wa-nee Community Schools, but are located in Wakarusa.
  • Nappanee Elementary-Located within Nappanee
  • Woodview Elementary-A mirror image to Wakarusa Elementary structurally. Sits on the outskirts of Nappanee.[16]

The town has a free lending library, the Nappanee Public Library.[17]


Little Paws Playground in Stauffer Park.

Nappanee is a regional center for both the recreational vehicle manufacturing industry and the Amish craft and tourism industry. Many Amish and Mennonite families live in the area, often farming as well as working in the recreational vehicle industry or woodworking trade. Since the storms[which?] and sluggish economy, Nappanee has experienced a high rate of job loss.

Since 2014, the town has been home to a major bus assembly plant owned by British maker Alexander Dennis.[18]


Until train service ceased on March 7, 2005, Nappanee was a stop on Amtrak's Three Rivers train with service to Chicago and New York.

Tourist attractions[edit]

Amish Acres[edit]

Amish Acres was founded by Richard Pletcher. It is a historic farm and heritage resort which embodies a preserved barn and Amish house that help to "Embrace the Pace" as Nappanee's slogan implies. Amish Acres celebrates the Amish and shows features of their lifestyle. Amish Acre's original preserved Round Barn was relocated to it current location, and within it was constructed a theater in order to present shows. As well as see plays at Amish Acres, tourist can experience authentic Amish style cooking. Amish Acres offers other activities such as tours of an Amish house and a horse-drawn carriage ride. Amish Acres is home to Nappanee's Arts and Crafts Festival.[19]


The Nappanee Apple Festival[edit]

The Nappanee Apple Festival is held annually on the third week of September, lasting 3½ days. It consists of 100 craft booths, 50 commercial booths, 20 food vendors, two stages for entertainment, a large parade and an airplane flyover on Saturday morning. Nappanee annually bakes a seven-foot-wide apple pie that weighs 600 pounds. Every year an Apple Blossom Queen is chosen from NorthWood High School. The Nappanee Apple Festival attracted over 76,000 people in 2011 and is one of the largest festivals in the State of Indiana. Over 200 people from Nappanee volunteer to help with the Apple Festival each year. Other events include an apple peeling contest, 5K road run, half marathon, apple pie eating and apple peeling contests, goldfish races, wings & wheels show (cars and airplanes), tractor pull, farm tractor and antique farm equipment show, apple baking contest, kids and adult pedal pull contests, talent show, and a scholarship pageant.[20]

Amish Acres Arts & Crafts Festival[edit]

Richard Pletcher, founder of the festival and Amish Acres, remains CEO and Jennifer Pletcher Wysong is the festival director. The festival and marketplace takes place around Amish Acre's pond. Amish Acres has received many awards, making its way onto The American Bus Association's list of TOP 100 Events in North America in 2012. This achievement was awarded four times in seven years. Readers of Sunshine Artist magazine rank the Art and Crafts Festival as the third-best Classic and Contemporary Craft Show in America. The Art festival was also listed at the number one in the category of "best attractions for group travel in Indiana" in Travel Trade Magazine. Senior Group Traveler selected the Arts and Craft Festival as one of only seventy "Editor's Choice of Outstanding Festivals and Major Events"; the Art and Craft Festival being the only one chosen from Indiana. Amish Acre's Art and Craft Festival attracts people from areas as far as Chicago, Indianapolis, Toledo, and Detroit. Amish Acre's grounds can only support up to 300 booths which consist of 250 different cities from 30 states.[21]

Notable people[edit]

Amish Acres, a popular tourist attraction in Nappanee.

Twin city[edit]


  1. ^ "2016 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved Jul 28, 2017. 
  2. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-12-11. 
  4. ^ a b "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved June 9, 2017. 
  5. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  6. ^ "Nappanee - Indiana, United States". Retrieved 27 August 2017. 
  7. ^ "Ryan Stutsman - The Myth about Nappanee". Retrieved 27 August 2017. 
  8. ^ "Nappanee Chamber of Commerce – Doing Business In Elkhart and Kosciusko County Nappanee". Retrieved 27 August 2017. 
  9. ^ National Park Service (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  10. ^ Tom, Coyne (2007-10-19). "Tornado hits Nappanee, brings destruction". The Associated Press. Archived from the original on 2007-10-21. Retrieved 2007-10-19. 
  11. ^ "The Amish in Elkhart County, Northern Indiana - Amish Country". Retrieved 27 August 2017. 
  12. ^ "Places: Indiana". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2014-05-17. Retrieved 2012-04-21. 
  13. ^ "City of Nappanee, Indiana". Retrieved 27 August 2017. 
  14. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  15. ^ The 12 Largest Amish Communities (2017). at Amish America
  16. ^ "District Home". Retrieved 27 August 2017. 
  17. ^ "Indiana public library directory" (PDF). Indiana State Library. Retrieved 7 March 2018. 
  18. ^ "Bus company expanding in Elkhart County, creating more jobs". WNDU. September 26, 2014. Retrieved May 9, 2018. 
  19. ^ "Amish Acres Historic Farm & Heritage Resort". Retrieved 27 August 2017. 
  20. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-01-06. Retrieved 2012-04-04. 
  21. ^ "Amish Acres Historic Farm & Heritage Resort". Retrieved 2017-08-27. 


  • They Called It Nappanee: A History 1874-1974 by James L Weygand. (Nappanee, Indiana, 1974)

External links[edit]