Writer / Angela Cornell
The county seat of Starke County is a city in name only. To many who live and work there, it’s a pleasant small town brimming with potential. For the most part, that is thanks to the community pride and hard work of the town’s leaders, business owners, movers, and shakers.
Knox, which runs on Central Standard Time, boasts the variety of commerce that is typically only found in a larger town, much of which is found on the main thoroughfare, Heaton St., which becomes Hwy. 35 outside of town.
On the north end of Heaton St., just inside of town limits, is the old Nickle Plate Railroad Depot with some interesting exhibits about the railroad and its history.
Across the road from the museum is one of Knox’s beautiful parks, Wythogan Park. During warmer months, this area is used to host community events. Even when there’s nothing planned, this park is a wonderful place to visit for an afternoon. There are several hiking paths, including one that highlights historic features like the decommissioned railroad watchtower and reportedly the last 1915 Rochester Pony Truss Bridge in existence. In the park, there’s also a splashpad, a skate park, and several playgrounds, making it a perfect place to visit when the weather breaks. To learn more about Knox’s other parks and playgrounds, visit the city’s website at cityofknox.net.
The Historical Society Museum is dedicated to preserving the county’s history, which is richer and more fantastic than most people realize. The exhibits at this museum commemorate some of the most unique pieces of Starke Co. history, including a memorial to Knox native and Indiana governor, Henry Schricker, and even a taxidermied two-headed calf, which was born six miles east of Knox in 1938. Learn more about the Starke Co. History Center by checking out their website, starkehistory.org, or by visiting them at 1520 S. Heaton St. They are open Thursday and Friday 10 AM – 4 PM and on Saturdays from 10 – 2.
As a place with a rich history, it’s no wonder that there are a few business owners, some of whom have always lived in Knox, who have chosen to open up antique and vendor malls in the town.
One such place is Born in a Barn, owned by husband and wife team Jerry and Vicki Cooley, who sell more than just beautiful antique glassware. They also sell furniture, collectibles, toys, and much more. Born in a Barn is located at 302 N. Heaton St. Call them at 574-772-3802 or visit them online at borninabarn.business.site.
However, the town is not all about history. There are other truly unique stores in town. One 10-56 Brewing Company. This laidback restaurant offers beers, wines, and ciders, including some of their own brews. Visit this company for some delicious food and drink at 2120 S. Hwy 35 in Knox on Thursdays 4 PM – 8 PM, Friday 4-10, Saturday 12-10, and Sundays 12-4. Check out their Facebook page at facebook.com/1056brewing or call them at 630-816-5790.
For those who are into natural healing, Back to Basics Organics, located in the Knox Mall, has a variety of products, from spices to organic teas and fair trade coffee, as well as spices and aromatherapy oils. This business is located at 1307 S. Heaton St. Due to the pandemic, they are only open Wednesday 9:30-6 and Saturday 9:30-2. Discover more about this store’s story on their website, backtobasicsorganics.com.
Many of the businesses in town are on Heaton St. However, there are other hidden gems around town that deserve recognition. Take The Studio, for instance. This spa offers massages ranging from 30-90 minutes and has other services like cupping, facials, and exfoliating dry brushing. The Studio is located at 51A W. Lake St. Visit them at Facebook.com/TheStudioGinaRachael or call them at 574-933-1636 to schedule an appointment.
There’s also Bowlaway Lanes. Knox’s bowling alley has been an entertainment “staple” for years, and is still an excellent option for a fun evening out with friends or family. They also offer a limited menu of burgers, pizzas, and beer. They are located at 2355 S. US Hwy 35 and are open Thursdays 3-10, Fridays 3-11, Saturdays 1-11, and Sundays 1-9. For more information, visit them online at facebook.com/KnoxBowlaway or call them at 574-772-4527.
Knox has dozens of locally owned restaurants. Whether a visitor is looking for American fare like pizza or comfort foods or somewhere that offers family dining, or even ethnic options, Knox has it! There are also specialty shops, like Poppin’ Off Popcorn and Fingerhut Bakery. Check out the Chamber of Commerce’s list of Knox restaurants at StarkeCountyChamber.com/Directory-Categories/RestaurantsCafesBakeries/.