Wakarusa, Indiana

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Wakarusa is a town in Harrison and Olive townships in Elkhart County, Indiana, United States. As of the 2000 census, the town had a total population of 1,618. Wakarusa is a small farming and manufacturing community located on Indiana 19 just north of Indiana 119. The town is 12 miles south of Elkhart, 25 miles southeast of South Bend, 120 miles east of Chicago, and 140 miles north of Indianapolis.

The town was in the news on August 5, 2009, following the visit of President Barack Obama to announce that Indiana was to receive $400 million USD in federal stimulus funds to help revive the state economy.



Wakarusa is located at 41°32′4″N 86°0′58″W / 41.53444°N 86.01611°W / 41.53444; -86.01611 (41.534490, -86.016223)[3].

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 2.3 square miles (5.9 km²), all of it land. The town sits in the middle of predominately rural farm land.


In 1836, rural Olive Township was formed in Western Elkhart County and in 1849, as the population grew, a post office named Mt. Olive opened. After more population growth, a new village named Salem was established to prevent people from having to travel to either Goshen or Elkhart to conduct business. Since there is already a town named Salem in Indiana, the name was changed to Wakarusa in 1859. The Mt. Olive Post Office was renamed for Wakarusa a year later.[4] The name "Wakarusa" comes from a word in the Potawatomi language meaning "knee deep in mud."[5]

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