Remembering December 7

It has been 71 years since the bombing at Pearl Harbor – the attack that pulled the United States into World War II. A young Navy Reserve officer from Santa Claus, Indiana, had been called into active duty just a few months prior. Lt. Commander Bill Koch was sent to Pearl Harbor soon after the…

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A Halloween tale

Back in 1994, it was such a thrill to take part in naming our first big roller coaster. We knew it was going to be built in our Halloween section, so there were nearly endless theming ideas. It turned out to be a rather creepy experience. The first shivery chill occurred on a very hot…

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“The moose at the front gate should have told you…”

You might think that once the front gates close at the end of the season, we don’t see another Guest until the next summer. Taking a walk through the (mostly) still and silent park will tell you a completely different story though. During the off-season, we play host to Guests of a different kind. Often…

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An unforgettable entrance

It was the summer of 2002, less than a year after Mr. Koch passed away. A lovely bipartisan effort by our state legislature resulted in the renaming of a portion of Highway 162 the "William A. Koch Memorial Highway." We put together an unveiling ceremony, using one of the huge highway signs. It was to…

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Remembering Bill Koch

Ten years ago today, we said good-bye to a wonderful man. Bill Koch devoted his life to developing Santa Claus Land and the town of Santa Claus. Bill and Pat Koch made quite a team. Here there are in 1999, trying out one of the trains for The Legend wooden coaster, which opened in 2000….

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Pasta perfect

When a family-owned business has been around for 65 years, there are always new discoveries. By that I mean … we're forever finding precious old photos and mementos tucked away in odd places. The other day, Mrs. Koch bounded into my office carrying a big box. Look what we just found in the attic over…

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“She planted far more than flowers…”

She was independent and hard-working. She was smart and she was funny. And she lived to be 100. But sadly, our beloved "flower lady," Frieda Foertsch, passed away yesterday. From 1954 until 2009, Frieda graced us with her formidable presence. Whether working the front gate, helping in the kitchen, sewing a new red suit for…

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Speaking in the House

Last week, Mrs. Koch and Dan accompanied our marketing director to the Statehouse for some meetings with elected officials. When they peeked in to see the goings-on in the House, our local Representative, Sue Ellspermann, asked Mrs. Koch to say a few words. Since it was off-the-cuff, there was no script. (Not even a few…

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Birthdays are holidays, too…

…so let's take a minute to say Happy Birthday to a very special man. Bill Koch was born in Evansville on January 10, 1915. He graduated from Reitz High School in 1932 and Purdue University in 1937. Then it was off to Annapolis for post-graduate work at the U.S. Naval Academy and ship reconstruction work…

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Wow

Mrs. Koch is pretty popular on the motivational-speaker circuit. (So much so, she sometimes overbooks. Recently, I had to step in for her; the audience's disappointment was palpable.) The talk she gives to groups of a certain gender is called WoW (Women of Wisdom). She gets lots of standing ovations. She earned a "wow" of…

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Can we tie in with today’s big nat’l news?

You betcha! This banner is hanging outside the building of the town's sole C-store. It made me think of a story from a few years back… It was the summer of 2002, less than a year after Mr. Koch passed away. A lovely bipartisan effort by our state legislature resulted in the renaming of a…

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Where did our fountain go?

Long, long ago … before the town of Santa Claus was even named … a giant meteor crashed into one of the town’s hillsides, leaving behind a giant crater for folks from miles around to come and see. It was amazing. A shooting star came to rest in this town. And it happened on Christmas…

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