“Where the beautiful town of Syracuse is now located the place was deserving of little more than a name. A small mill was erected at the outlet of Turkey Creek. Here and there a small wooden building constituted what was then know as the Village of Syracuse.” This is how Syracuse was remembered by P.M. Henkel of Goshen in the early days.

After the Miami Indians were ordered to vacate the lake area and move to Kansas, a little flour mill was built on Turkey Creek by Samuel Crosson. As the mill creaded into existence it became a trading center and meeting place for the new settlers arriving from the east. This is believed to be the first flour mill in the newly formed Kosciusko County.

Soon after the mill was built, Mr. Crosson formed a business partnership with Henry Ward. Seeing the need for a town Crosson and Ward surveyed and platted a four block square area consisting of 101 lots. The community known as Crosson’s Mill officially became Syracuse on October 11, 1837. The survey of the new town started at the waters edge of what is now Syracuse Lake and extended westward up the hillside. Thus, the downtown area of Syracuse does not run true with the compass. Today, if one stands on the corner of Main and Huntington Streets, wishing to face north, he would be looking directly at the building where Edward Jones and The Mail Journal reside.

The Village of Syracuse grew very slow until the coming of the railroad which opened up a trade and travel route to the rest of the world. October, 1874 marked the beginning of train service to the community. Although Syracuse was platted in 1837, it was 38 years later before it was incorporated. After the coming of the railroad the village with a populations of three hundred began to grow by leaps and bounds. Suffering from growing pains it was evident that a form of town government must be established. In September, 1876 a petition for incorporation drawn up by Edwin Forrest Holloway and signed by numerous citizens of Syracuse, was presented to the County Commissioners.

An election was held two weeks later with a majority voting for incorporation. The County Commissioners of Kosciusko County declared the town of Syracuse, Indiana, officially incorporated October 18, 1876. This was just on hundred years after the signed of the declaration of Independence by the thirteen colonies in 1776 at Philadelphia.

The first town board consisted of Amos King, Adison Green, and Evan Miles. Miles was elected by his peers as the first chairman of the Syracuse Town Board. His son-in-law, Edwin Forrest Holloway, who prepared the incorporation petition, was elected and served as the first town clerk.

(Article written by Jack Elam in 1987 Sesquicentennial Publication.)

Click on the address to see a picture of what downtown Syracuse looked like in 1955.

Town of Syracuse

  • The form of government for Syracuse is that of a town.
  • It is headed by a Town Manager who answers to the five members of the Town Council.
  • Syracuse is incorporated.
  • The amount of land area in Syracuse is 4.167 sq. kilometers (3 sq. miles)
  • The amount of surface water is .8 sq. kilometers.
  • Syracuse is:  509 miles from Washington, D.C., 130 miles from Indianapolis, 117 miles from Chicago, 48 miles from Fort Wayne and 39 miles from South Bend.
  • The name “Syracuse” means “city on a hill”.  Samuel Crosson and Henry Ward named and platted the town of Syracuse in 1837.

Kosciusko County

  • Kosciusko County was named in 1835 for the Revolutionary War General Tadeusz Kosciuszko of Poland (the “Z” was dropped).
  • The county seat is Warsaw, http://www.kcgov.com/.
  • Over 100 lakes were carved by ancient glaciers (the larges is Lake Wawasee).
  • Fourth largest county in Indiana.
  • Kosciusko County Visitor’s Bureau is located on US 30 in Warsaw behind the huge “V” shaped sign.  Their website is www.koscvb.org.
  • A county map can be found at http://www.koscvb.org/maps-and-travel-tools.


Syracuse, Indiana is a town of approximately 3,000 full-time residents.  The environment in Syracuse is that of an active small town, making Syracuse a fantastic place to live or visit.  It lies in the northeastern corner of Kosciusko County, with easy access from US 6 to SR 13 on the north, and from US 30 to SR 13 on the south.  There are seven lakes in and around the town, making it a water lover’s paradise.  Lake Wawasee, the largest of these lakes, is the largest natural lake in Indiana.  With access to Syracuse Lake, there are more than 3,500 acres of water for year-round recreation.  There are also many homes, condominiums, hotels and Bed and Breakfasts for out-of-town guests to rent while they enjoy the Syracuse area.

Evidence of the attractions the Syracuse- Wawasee Lakes Area provides can be found i the number of homes dotting the shore of both Syracuse Lake and Lake Wawasee.  Quaint summer cottages and magnificent modern homes overlook the clear and sparkling waters of both lakes.  The high demand of the lake property is a considerable testimony to the pleasures of the area.

Syracuse is home to one of the finest school systems in Indiana.  In additions to a standard curriculum, there are a variety of educational opportunities available to all students.  High School students from Wawasee High School consistently rank well in the State and Nation in academic tests.

A fine park system in the town of Syracuse adds to the pleasure the lakes area offers.  A public beach is available, as is a public dock.  Lakeside Park is a center for family and community fun throughout the entire year.  Park Rhythms, is a featured event throughout the summer, where local entertainers perform for your listening enjoyment.  Permanent residents, summer dwellers and visitors can enjoy swimming, water-skiing, boating and many other water activities when visiting our parks.  Mid-May through Mid-October, the Chamber along with the Syracuse Parks Dept., hosts a Farmer’s Market at Memorial Park (at Crosson Mill), on SR 13 in Syracuse.  This event hi-lights local artists and farmers that bring their homegrown and handmade items to sell.  We celebrate Fall Harvest Festival in October to close the Farmer’s Market for the season.  This event consists of; Cider Press, live farm animals, pumpkin decorating and much more!

There are a number of activities scheduled throughout the year that encourage participation by the local community, including the Artisan/Farmer’s Market, CruisIn & Carshow, Garden shows, Art Blasts, Art Fairs, Syracuse SummerFest, 4th of July activities – Fireworks, Flotilla Road Race, Liberty Family Bike Ride and annual Flotilla. Annual Triathlon, Fall Harvest Festival, Holiday Celebration – parade, lighting of the town Christmas Tree, caroling, Santa visit with Hot Cocoa and cookies!  The new year then starts all over with our Winter Carnival/Snowmobile Races and events.

These events, the friendly people who live  here, the lakes and our small town feel are just a few of the reasons that the Syracuse-Wawasee community is a wonderful place to live, work and play.

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