Getting Here

The Electric Streetcar links the Dinosaur Discovery Museum, Kenosha Public Museum, and Civil War Museum.

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  • History
  • History
  • History
  • History
  • History

Kenosha, Wisconsin History

An early group of Native Americans originally named Kenosha, Wisconsin Kenozia which means "place of the Pike".  In 1836, after more settlers arrived and the first post office was established, it was renamed to Pike Creek. In the ensuing years, the area became an important Great Lakes shipping port and the village was once again renamed — to Southport. In 1850, one last change gave Kenosha its current title, a modernized version of the early Kenozia, and the name for which the county is also named.

The transportation industry developed much of the area's great economic resources. Kenosha has been the home to many well-known automotive industry leaders such as Nash Motor Company, American Motors Company and DaimlerChrysler Corporation. Other industry giants that make the Kenosha Area their home today include Snap-on, Ocean Spray, Jelly Belly Candy Co., Uline and Jockey International.

The Kenosha Area is filled with interesting and unique historical places, including the United States' oldest operating velodrome (bicycle racing track). Weekly races are still held there in the summer months, drawing crowds from near and far. Kenosha is also one of only three Wisconsin cities to have more than one National Register Historic District. Visit Kenosha's four National Register Historic Districts — including the Civic Center Historic District, Library Park Historic District, Third Avenue Historic District and the Pearl Street Historic District — as well as two historic lighthouses.  Kenosha’s rich history is preserved and proudly displayed at our various museums, including the home of the Kenosha County Historical Society – the Kenosha History Center.

The Kenosha Area also boasts a number of famous names and faces who are from our community. What do The Odd Couple, Happy Days and On.Cor frozen dinner commercials have in common? Well, Al Molinaro of course! Al is a proud native of Kenosha and says that he loves the area's culture and friendliness. Two-time Emmy winner Daniel J. Travanti of Hill Street Blues fame and movie actor Mark Ruffalo ("The Hulk") also once called Kenosha home. Cocoon's Don Ameche and War of the Worlds radio broadcast creator Orson Welles also lived in Kenosha at one time or another. Kenosha is also the hometown of Miss America 2012 Laura Kaeppeler.