Koontz Lake Indiana Historical Events Profile and Resource Guide, City or community of Koontz Lake, Indiana Historical Events and Facts, Information, Relocation, Real Estate
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Koontz Lake, Indiana Historical Events
I enjoyed reading memories from Koontz Lake. Dorothy Green was my mother-in-law, I married her son, George. Our family had many good times at the lake, I remember having great fun skating in the winter, it is a spring fed lake so often someone would fall through the ice but that didn't stop us from seeing how far out we could skate. Dorothy sold the grocery store in 1960 and went to work at the "Bargin Center". She still rented cottages. Remember Sigrid's beauty shop, the Chicken Coop, Cramer's Beach? Dorothy loved to read, do crossword puzzles, the White Sox's and the "Democrats".
Dorothy watched the tornado from her front window as it took off the top of the tavern across the lake and threw cars into the lake like they were toys. Dorothy passed on in February 1976 but you can see a painting at the town Library given by her family and friends in her memory.
Submitted by: Toby Green
Memories of Koontz Lake, Indiana
As a child I remember going to my Aunt and Uncle's property on the lake. They, and most of the people I knew from the lake, were wonderful people, who always had extra time for a lively young child. In the early 1960's, people at the lake were close. Everyone seemed to know everyone else. Neighbor helped neighbor, and crime was virtually non-existent. The lake bordered with Swan Lake, which was somewhat larger, and often sponsored ski competition and fishing tourneys. Persons living at Koontz Lake learned to stay at their own lake and catch the fish as they got spooked from Swan Lake.
The town had a volunteer fire department, and it was the center of the community, often hosting community get-togethers on the various holidays. The fire department was also about the only alternative to the local pub for men to get together in the afternoons. In those days almost every fire truck on the department was either surplus or built from scratch by the firefighters. Their brush truck was a Studebaker, and it had a unique sound as it roared by on many a grass fire. I believe the Chief at that time was a man by the name of Sonny.
Another landmark of the town was a little restaurant called the Y-GO-BY run by Alice and Tom Gedgood. Every kid in town called them Aunt Alice and Uncle Tom, and at their restaurant, every child felt special.
April 3rd, 1963 is remembered as the day of the Tornadoes. Tom Gedgood shot photos of the storm, even as his house flew over him. The devastation was incredible. Many were injured. Several homes were destroyed, some landing complete in the lake. Trees were toppled, and telephone poles leaned in every direction. RR3 was buried in branches of pine and oak. Sand washed over the roadways. What was incredible was how the people pulled together. Within a year, no one could tell the storm ever hit. Koontz Lake was then, and is now, a special community in Northern Indiana.
1940's & 1950's
My mother and father took frequent vacations at Koontz Lake when they were growing up in Richmond, Indiana, in the 20's and 30's. Later, after Dad went to work for Swift and Company in Chicago's stock yards, they resumed an annual trip to Koontz Lake to relax (mom) and fish (dad); I accompanied them as a young boy in the late 40's and early 50's and have quite a few memories of those vacations. We usually rented a cottage from a Mrs. Green (I believe her name was Dorothy Green) who owned three or four cottages as well as a nearby grocery/sundry store. I may now be turned around with my geography, but my best guess is that we were on the south side of the lake. The other side, opposite the Green cabins seemed to be all woods; at the cove at the east end was a pavilion with snacks and occasional entertainment; to the west of the cabins was an area of nice year-round homes. I met a young girl my age, Cindy Jenkins of Alton, Illinois, who spent summers at one of those homes with her grandmother. The Green cottages were very spartan: a pump at the kitchen sink served as a source of bath water as well as the water for doing dishes and cleaning fish; the wooden outhouse was out back; and the iceman put a daily block of ice through the door on the porch for refrigeration. We brought our own linens and towels and most of our food and drink with us from Chicago. The lake was marshy and contained quite a few stumps close to shore; we would fish from a rowboat that went with the cabin (sometimes they'd only leave us one oar, but we'd manage) and caught plenty of small bluegills and sunfish, and on a good day, we'd get some catfish hanging around the stumps. There was no electricity so after dark we'd get a can or two of night crawlers by flashlight. On a stormy day, we might go to a movie -- where? -- was there a theater in Walkerton? I would sure like to hear from anyone who has Koontz Lake memories from the same years.
Please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Dave Allen, Western Springs, Illinois
"Little" Koontz Lake
To the southwest of the main body of water at Koontz Lake there was, and is, a smaller "lake" connected by a channel. Dorothy Green's cottages and general store (Refer to previous discussion submitted by Mr. Allen) were in fact on the north shore of the little lake rather than on the south of the big lake and the narrow cove where the dance pavillion was located was thus to the west (still to Mr. Allen's right from his perspective). This area was indeed quite marshy and no more than 12-15 feet deep in the middle. The big lake was substantially deeper and afforded much better fishing. A fun aside to the description of the little lake is reference to the cabin a quarter mile down from the Green's property where gangster Al Capone and his cronies would occasionally spend some quiet time.
Submitted by Mary Lou McCusker
Late 1930's, early 1940's
Memories of Koontz Lake
I spent much of my early childhood with my Aunt and Uncle, Dot and Jim Hennigar, at Koontz Lake, Indiana. They owned a very nice cabin there on a fairly large parcel of land and we came and went on a 'year round' basis. The cabin that I remember was their second, a replacement for one that burned before I was born. The Hennigars were great friends of the Greens, and I remember vividly the delicious aromas that filled Green's Grocery. As I recall, the Greens had one of very few phones in the area, and I believe that we went there to make calls from time to time.
Certain groceries (perishables?) were delivered to our house by a fellow with a large, refrigerated truck perhaps once or twice a week. I think he had a regular route, and regular clientele in the area.
The roads were all unpaved, and we would go into the woods for sassafrass, which made a wonderful tea. We had a small boat, and fishing is what we did most of while we were there. I don't remember that anyone had motors for their boats, but I know we always came home with bluegill and sunfish. It seems to me that the outbreak of WW II pretty much ended our times at Koontz Lake, but I will never forget them.
Submitted by Alan Haines
1933 to 1935
I lived on Koontz Lake in 1933 to 1935. Lived in a cottage right on the lake located on south side of lake and about 1/2 mile from the Kriegbaum store. Looking across the lake from the south side, there was nothing but forest. My brother and I used to row across the lake and get off at a point that would take us to the Olberg farm where we would buy milk and eggs. (Helga Olberg - A young girl lived there) On the paved road that we used to walk down to the Kriebaum store, there was nothing but all forest across the road. I used to roam that forest as a young boy of nine or ten years old. There was no town, as such, of Koontz lake, but there was a number of houses on the northwest corner of the lake on the road to Walkerton. I went back to Koontz Lake in 1983 (50 years later) and couldn't believe the growth that had taken place - Cottages ALL AROUND the lake. That idyllic place I knew as a boy was gone. Cottages in those days were few and not up against one another, as it is now. I got to Groverton just as they were tearing down the old brick elementary school. My teacher at that school in 1934-35 was a Mrs. Smith. I was just devastated at the changes that I saw in 1983. I guess you could call it negative progress as far I am concerned. Just goes to show you time doesn't stand still. I am now 76 years old and live in New Mexico.
Submitted by: Robert Randall
This page is for perpetual written accounts of historical events
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