Old Silk Stocking Historic District

Kokomo City, Howard County, IN

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Elliott House

Photo: Elliott House, circa 1889, located at 1200 West Sycamore Street in the Old Silk Stocking Historic District, Kokomo. The District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2008. Photographed by wikipedia username:Rapierce, 2008, [public domain], accessed January, 2024.



Periods of growth/more intense construction within the district are reflected in the various densities of architectural styles that define/correlate with economic growth and stability. The two styles most prevalent in the district are Queen Anne (with its variations) and American Foursquare, either in single-or double-residence configuration. Other styles represented in varying numbers are: Federal, Second Empire, Italianate, Romanesque Revival, Neoclassical, Gothic Revival, Craftsman (high-style and common bungalows), early-twentieth century- Revivals (Tudor, Mediterranean, Spanish, Colonial, and Gothic), Ranch, and a mixture of other variants on vernacular styles such as gable-front, cross-gable, or T-plan.

The district is roughly bounded by West Taylor Street on the north, Washington Street on the east, Wildcat Creek on the south, and Phillips Street on the west. The streets comprising the district are laid out in the standard north-south/east-west grid common to most Indiana towns developed in the same period. The one exception is the traffic circle in the southwest corner of the district at the intersection of Kingston Road and West Superior Street. The topography of the district is generally flat except along a portion of the southern boundary at the north bank of Wildcat Creek.

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The sequential development of the district, composed of approximately seven separate additions combined over time, is reflected in the various densities, by age and style, which appear within the district. For example, the 500 and 600 blocks of West Taylor Street are heavily populated with residences in the Queen Anne style, built circa 1890; the predominance of American Foursquare and Free Classic homes in the blocks between 400 and 1000 West Mulberry and South McCann Streets suggest heavy development in the 1895-1910 years. The mixture of styles spread along the north and south sides of West Sycamore Street in the district suggest two possibilities. The multiplicity of styles along this main thoroughfare might be explained by the more spacious parcels of land associated with early homes on the north side of the street (1875-1900) that were subdivided and new homes of the prevalent style favorites became infill between earlier residences. Secondarily, most of the south side of West Sycamore Street, in the district, developed in the first two decades after 1900. The predominance of bungalow-style homes along streets south of West Sycamore Street, such as West Superior Street, also point to development in the 1910s-1920s. There are 250 contributing resources and 100 non-contributing resources. The period of significance is 1848-1958.

The District reflects, in many of its residential properties, a period of economic growth in Kokomo's past that lasted for more than three decades; the district serves as a living canvas depicting the popular architectural styles of the period. The name of the district, chosen by a group of its inhabitants in the 1970s, appears to stem from the "silk stockings" worn by gentry during Indiana's Gas Boom-era in the late 1880s and early 1890s with the obvious connotation that folks living here were members of the wealthy upper crust of Kokomo's citizens. Some homes in the district were constructed during this period of instant wealth and others demonstrate the legacy of prosperity, buttressed by many factories and varied industries, which operated in Howard County for decades following the collapse of the natural gas boom in the early 1890s.

The district is associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of our history; in particular, the initial platting and further development of a significant residential area within the greater Kokomo community that resulted from the economic/industrial residue of the natural gas boom. The district embodies the distinctive characteristics of a type, period, method of construction; the district contains a collection of residential buildings that reflect the changing architectural tastes and the distinctive characteristics of 17 architectural styles popular during the period of significance (1848‑1958).

† Adapted from: Silk Stocking Historic District, nomination document by John Warner, circa 2008, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C. Accessed January, 2023.

Street Names
Indiana Street North • Kingston Road • Maple Street West • Mulberry Street West • Superior Street West • Sycamore Street West • Taylor Street West • Walnut Street West


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