Kokomo Railroad Watchman Tower – Kokomo, Indiana - Atlas Obscura

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Kokomo Railroad Watchman Tower

This relic of transportation history still stands in this Indiana city.  


The Kokomo Railway Watch Tower is a two-story-tall remnant from an often overlooked time in American history. Before automated traffic lights were widespread, small towns like Kokomo implemented around a dozen of these physically manned towers. Inside, a railway worker could manually change the traffic lights, lower and raise guard rails, and report incidents to local police.

The tower was built around the 1930s, but its official end of use is unknown. Kokomo itself did not have automated traffic lights until the 1970s, but the railroad industry left town long before. 

Today, tourists can enjoy taking photos next to the tower. Currently, the structure is manned by a mannequin which can be best seen from down the street, or in the adjacent parking lot.

Parking next to the tower is difficult, and the aforementioned lot belongs to a local business and may be private, but the area itself (home to another famous landmark, The Kokomo Praying Mantis) has tons of free parking and offers many local shops and restaurants to fill out the rest of your trip.

Know Before You Go

There is a shop in the building right behind the tower, the owner is a huge fan of the tower and knows a ton about it. 

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February 16, 2022

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