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Saturday, April 20, 2024

A Flair for Fun

A trip down memory lane lands many at Kramer’s Lake

If you find yourself at a loss for conversation in Southwest Indiana, just ask if anyone remembers Kramer’s Lake. Located near the line between Posey and Vanderburgh counties, the Kramer family operated the rural destination from 1961 to 1998. The five-acre lake offered fishing and picnic areas, floating docks equipped with trapezes and sky-high water slides, and an entertainment pavilion with live music performances many months of the year.

Kramer’s Lake drew nearly 1,000 visitors a day at its peak, and generations of those merrymakers enjoy reminiscing. Here, a few share their memories.

Photo of Kramer’s Lake provided by Brad Kramer

“I have people still now tell me, ‘Oh, I met my wife, or I met my husband there. … We used to come there and have a good time.’”
Paul Kramer
Mount Vernon Senior High School Class
of 1967, and son of Kramer’s Lake founders
Lucille and Earl Kramer

“I’ll never forget meeting Bob Griese in the summer of 1964 with a bunch of his football players. As I was sliding down the slide, I slid right into him. It was my first encounter with a celebrity-to-be. We all rented a paddle boat and raced all day long until my legs about fell off. He was such a down-to-earth great guy.”
Marcia Matthews Hocker
Modern expressionist painter in Owensboro, Kentucky, William Henry Harrison High School Class of 1967

“(In the 1970s) Kramer’s Lake hosted bands on Wednesday and Sunday evenings … a melting pot for people throughout the Tri-State area. You could meet new friends from as far away as Princeton and Jasper.”
Dr. Ray Lamey
Evansville anesthesiologist, Gibson Southern High School Class of 1976

Photo of Kramer’s Lake provided by Brad Kramer

“I lived at Kramer’s Lake every summer. I mean, every high schooler went there every weekend. Back in high school in the ’60s … that was the place to go. As silly as it sounds, all those ‘Beach Blanket Bingo’ movies, well, that was our ‘Beach Blanket Bingo.’”
Matt Williams
Television and film writer and producer in New York, F.J. Reitz High School Class of 1969

“It was THE place to be on the weekends! Of course, we all wore bikinis that came up to our belly buttons, and that was considered risqué. It was a wonderful way to meet others from everywhere in the area, not just Evansville.”
Joni Matthews
Evansville marketing executive,William Henry Harrison High School Class of 1976

“Lifeguard parties. Once they shut down the park and all the people left, once a year … ohh buddy, we would do crazy things on the trapeze and the water slides. We were young and dumb, and it was fun.”
Mike Moran
Financial advisor in Carmel, Indiana
Mater Dei High School Class of 1989
Kramer’s Lake lifeguard in the mid-1980s

Photo of Brad Kramer at Kramer’s Lake provided by Brad Kramer

“(In 1991) typically, I’d sleep as late as possible, and the lake would open at 10 a.m. I would ride my bike up there. It’s hard to imagine a 10-year-old riding their bike a mile down the road now. … (As a teenage lifeguard) it really was about the friendships with the other employees. There was a lot of fun to be had after shifts.”
Brad Kramer
Evansville pilot, Mount Vernon Senior High School Class of 1999, and Vernon Kramer’s son and the youngest Kramer grandchild 

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Jodi Keen
Jodi Keen
Jodi Keen is the managing editor of Evansville Living and Evansville Business magazines.

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