RV Capital of the World

Elkhart County is considered the Recreational Vehicle Capital of the World.

The RV/MH Hall of Fame showcases the growth, history, and accomplishments of the recreational vehicle and manufactured housing industries, with displays and restored units dating back to 1913. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The RV/MH Hall of Fame showcases the growth, history, and accomplishments of the recreational vehicle and manufactured housing industries, with displays and restored units dating back to 1913. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Over 80 percent of the nation’s recreational vehicles are manufactured in Elkhart County. You’ll find everything RV here from manufacturing, service, repairs, parts, and accessories to dealers, campgrounds, and rallies. Take factory tours and watch recreational vehicles being assembled.

Although the majority of northern Indiana RV manufacturers are located in the surrounding communities of Goshen, Middlebury, Shipshewana, Wakarusa, and Nappanee, the city of Elkhart is considered the hub of the RV industry.

How did it all begin?

Its humble beginnings were in 1936 when Wilbur Schult, a dynamic promoter and retailer, bought Elkhart’s Sportsman Trailer Company from Milo Miller and started producing one trailer each day and sold them to consumers for the amazing price of $198.

1928 Pierce Arrow Fleet Housecar © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

1928 Pierce Arrow Fleet Housecar © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Schult was such a promoter that by 1939, he was the largest manufacturer in the industry and Elkhart was beginning to attract numerous suppliers and more manufacturers. In addition, Elkhart’s major highways and railroad transportation links and central location to large metropolitan markets made it accessible for easy shipment of goods.

By the late 1940s, when things began to boom again after the war, industry magazines began calling Elkhart the “Trailer Capital of the World”.

Today, the RV industry is a multi-billion dollar industry. In fact, nearly one thousand manufacturers of RVs, RV supplies, and parts are located in Elkhart County.

RV/MH Hall of Fame

You won’t want to miss the RV/MH Heritage Hall of Fame in Elkhart.

In 2007 the RV/MH Heritage Foundation moved from its cramped quarters in downtown Elkhart to a new 56,000-square-foot facility easily accessed from either the Indiana Toll Road (take exit 96 off of Interstate 80/90) or from within Elkhart via County Road 17.

There is on-site parking for up to 200 vehicles; the largest recreational vehicles can easily be accommodated.

1974 GMC Motor Home © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

1974 GMC Motor Home © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The RV/MH Hall of Fame showcases the growth, history, and accomplishments of the recreational vehicle and manufactured housing industries, with displays and restored units dating back to 1913. America’s most scenic vistas come to life as you wander the varied exhibits showcasing the evolution of recreational vehicles.

The facility also features a conference center that seats 350 and a theatre with 75 permanent seats, a stage, and screen. After hours, the lobby can accommodate table seating for up to 200.

Details

RV/MH Hall of Fame

Shortly after the RV/MH Heritage Foundation was formed in March 1972, the Foundation honored the inaugural class of inductees into the RV/MH Hall of Fame.

Since that time 347 industry pioneers and leaders have joined the elite group.

Today, the Foundation maintains the national RV/MH Hall of Fame, Museum, Library, and Conference Center at its headquarters in Elkhart, Indiana.

The RV Founders Hall displays trailers, photos, and memorabilia reaching back to the 1920s and 1930s and is open to the public.

1958 Airstream Der Kleine Prinz (The Little Prince) © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

1958 Airstream Der Kleine Prinz (The Little Prince) © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The RV/MH Exhibitor Hall contains interesting displays illustrating the history and products of many of the parts manufacturers and service providers to the RV and manufactured housing industry.

Admission: $10; seniors, $8; youth ages 6-18, $7

Open: Monday-Saturday, 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.; Sunday, 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.

Address: 21565 Executive Parkway, Elkhart IN 46514

Location: From Indiana Toll Road (I-80/I-90) east of Elkhart, take Exit 96 South to County Road 17, turn left (east) on Executive Parkway to RV/MH Hall of Fame

Phone: (574) 293-2344 or (800) 378-8694 (toll free)

Website: rvmhhalloffame.org

Please Note: This is Part 1 of a 7-Part series on Amish Country

Worth Pondering…

Recreational vehicles are wonderful… To travel by RV is to see nature and human beings, towns and churches and rivers, in fact, to see life.
—with apologies to Agatha Christie

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