Images of America Holiday World: Review

Holiday World book

You really can’t learn about Holiday World without learning about the Koch (and Yellig) families. The Kochs’ son Bill married “Santa” Jim Yellig’s daughter Pat, and those two ran Holiday World for years. Jim died in 2001 (in the week following 9/11), but Pat continued on (she no longer works at the park, but is still going strong at 86). Bill and Pat had five children, and the park continues in the family. There is background there, with the oldest son who ran the park dying suddenly and young in his 40s, and then some drama among the remaining kids and in-laws. Another son died young as well, and currently the wife and family of the oldest son are in charge. This book was published in the early 2000s, before this had all happened, but I did some reading online to catch up to current news.

Holiday World Old Woman in the Shoe

The nursery rhyme figures have been here since my childhood visits.

Holiday World History

I loved that this book reminded me of some parts of Holiday World/Santa Claus Land that I’d forgotten: there used to be booths with chickens or rabbits inside that would do a trick/”drive” a truck etc. while you watched. Fun memory! I also was reminded of the doll museum and Hall of Presidents — I loved those and miss them each time I now walk by the area where they used to be.

If you are a Holiday World fan as well I think you’d enjoy this book.

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4 thoughts on “Images of America Holiday World: Review

  1. I’ve been there a couple of times in my life, and would have loved to have gone back. That will probably not happen now. I’m glad you, your sibs, your children, and your dad get to go back each year.

  2. I also have fond memories of the old Santa Claus Land. Our family would drive to visit relatives in a very small town near it and stopped quite often in nice weather. It was such a special place to me and my two brothers. We took our daughter and two grandsons to Holiday World and enjoyed that as well. The book sounds interesting and I know I’d enjoy it.

  3. My kids have been there with Church (from Southern Indiana) but I have not. I’ve always heard its the nicest, most family-friendly amusement park.

  4. Holiday World is a wonderful place! I grew up in neighboring Dubois County. As a child, we might get to go once a year. I know one time I got to take my school chum, Eloise Buse, along. That seems very atypical for me. Also I grew up Methodist and our church camp was near Santa Claus Land. Our church camp was the Santa Claus Campground. In the summers, Daddy and Mother would drive there for camp meeting in an open air type building. Around the campground were huge old wooden buildings. Many families would stay in these dorm type buildings during Camp Meeting time. Luckily I do have an old photograph of the buildings. I read the first “tabernacle” was built there in 1884. I read camp meeting was held there through the 1950s.

    Some years ago Pat Koch came and spoke at a Women’s Day Conference at the Seymour High School Auditorium. She was a dynamic speaker. She was Catholic. The man she married was Protestant. One was a staunch Democrat while the other was a strong Republican. . . She was a spirit filled woman. I am sorry for the family sadness that has befallen the Kochs. If you do good, Satan will attack you in one form or another!

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