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’s name was changed 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 had a strong presence in Kenosha for more than 100 years. 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 Amazon, Jockey International, Ocean Spray, Snap-on, and Uline.
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 has more than one National Register Historic District. Visit Kenosha's four 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.
Over the years, Kenosha has been the hometown of a number of famous names and faces such as:
- Actors Mark Ruffalo, Don Ameche, Al Molinaro, and Daniel J. Travanti
- Famed actor, writer, director, and producer Orson Welles
- Inventor Christopher Latham Sholes
- NFL players Alan Ameche, Melvin Gordon III, Trae Waynes
- MLB player Gavin Lux
- NBA player Nick Van Exel
- Creatives such as portrait painter George Pollard and children’s book author Florence Parry Heide
- Visual Effects Supervisor on the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy and triple Academy Award Winner, Jim Rygiel
- L.A. based musician Tom Goss
- Comedian Jeff Cesario
- Miss America 2012 Laura Kaeppeler