While we were planning Evansville Living features for this last year of the decade, we realized as the calendar turned to 2020, the 1970s would be 50 years behind us. That math is not debatable, as shocking as it seems to me (and perhaps you) that the 1970s are 50 years behind us.
My family moved to Evansville from Iowa in 1971, when I was 7 about to enter the second grade. Coming from small towns in Iowa, I looked forward to living in the city.
A sense of place — 1970s Evansville, Indiana — factors large in my childhood memories:
• Walking to Washington Square Mall atop the cemetery wall.
• Attending every festival every year. I loved the Ohio River Arts Festival and the Freedom Festival.
• Our neighborhood (Greencove Acres between Green River Road and Covert Avenue) was small but had lots of young families. We played kick the can and entertained ourselves by staging shows, contests, and parades.
• My family embraced river culture — if a riverboat docked at Dress Plaza for excursions, we were aboard.
• Eating lunch at Keach’s Restaurant on South Green River Road. Fourth graders at Caze Elementary were allowed to cross the street for lunch.
My husband Todd, two years older than me, grew up in Newburgh, Indiana, and recalls:
• Driving with my dad down the old two-lane Division Street to his office, knowing it was time to turn when we saw the old Red Garter Lounge.
• USA Skating rink, where you could fast skate to the Bay City Rollers “Saturday Night,” hoping when you asked the young lady you’d been eyeing on the floor if she knew how to skate backward that you’d get a long song like “Stairway to Heaven.”
• How cool was it to browse Karma and Folz City Boutique for vinyl?
• The new subdivisions were being built in Newburgh, but everyone in old Newburgh knew almost everyone else. You could leave your house in the morning in the summer, and if you did something you weren’t supposed to during the day, your parents often would know about it before you got home.
• The best thing ever had to be the 1977 snowstorm. Our house was close to the Newburgh Overlook Park, the premier sledding place in Newburgh. All my friends would come to my house; we didn’t have a care in the world for weeks.
We asked social media followers about their memories of 1970s Evansville. We heard from multiple generations of people, each sharing specific memories of Evansville in the 1970s. This shared history forms the basis of the feature beginning on page 74, “Our ’70s Story.”
As always, I look forward to hearing from you.
Kristen K. Tucker
Publisher & Editor