The Goshen Area
Goshen is in the heart of the Midwest, and in the middle of Elkhart County. It stands today in what was once the heart of Miami Indian Territory. Although the city originated in the early 1800s, the name Goshen was not officially adopted until 1831, when the town was named after an early settler from Goshen, New York. The largest percentage of early settlers were from Ohio and Pennsylvania, including many Amish who brought with them religious beliefs and social customs that are still evident today.
Elkhart County is the home of the recreational vehicle industry, which makes up more than 23 percent of this area’s employment. And Goshen is home to the county’s only four-year institution, Goshen College, a 1,000-student liberal arts college with roots in the Mennonite Church. The Maple City Greenway, a network of bicycle/pedestrian paths and hiking trails, connects residential neighborhoods, schools, parks, the library and the downtown area. It is one of the most comprehensive systems of its type in the Midwest, spanning more than 10 miles.
Worship, culture and values
The strength of Goshen is its diverse population. Its residents are caring, supportive and friendly. Goshen maintains that small town feel, yet offers the amenities found in larger cities. Sixty-one churches from 34 religious denominations offer worship opportunities for everyone interested in a church relationship. Inter-church efforts and community fellowship are the basis of the community’s strong spiritual tradition.
The Goshen area is also steeped in the Amish and Mennonite heritage. It is one of three areas in the United States with a large concentration of Old Order Amish people. Residents and visitors to Goshen benefit from the Amish dedication to creativity and the products of their artistic talents. The Amish heritage is also celebrated at attractions and restaurants throughout the region.
In addition, the community is entertained by local dance troupes, musical ensembles and theater groups. A local art association, area museums and art fairs further foster appreciation for the arts. Goshen is also home to a growing artisan community. Their work can be seen at many local guilds and The Old Bag Factory, a converted factory that is now the home to many local artists, furniture makers and craftsmen.