Meadow Lake History

The idea for the lake hit Viola (Vi) Koch in 1952 as she and husband Marvin Koch ate lunch on their 268 acre farm five miles southeast of Tipton Iowa. The Koch's, who had saved money for a trip to Colorado that year, were gazing down on a cattail marsh that always seemed to retain a lot of water.

Vi, knowing that Marvin was a "stay-at-home guy", began to think of another way to use their vacation money. She said, “Let's just use this money for our own vacation spot'".

The Koch's hired a surveyor and bulldozer operator to build a dam. The large drainage area into the valley soon turned the marsh into a five acre lake. The Koch's stocked the lake with bass, bluegill and years later catfish.

In 1955, they opened an office near the lake and began letting friends and neighbors camp there. Koch's Meadow Lake campground continued to grow in popularity and size over the years.

By 1973 there were 52 permanent campers on the site which featured restrooms, showers, laundry, camping hookups, and a recreation hall.

In 1980, the west side of the lake was developed and opened to camping expanding the area to its present 33 acres and 60 campsites.

Marvin passed away in 1999 but Vi, now 96 years ‘young’, still operates the campground and warmly welcomes all members and visitors.

Many permanent members have returned to the Meadow Lake campground every season for more than 40 years. Several of them refer to this peaceful, green oasis as their ‘little bit of Heaven.’

The 1895 red barn is the first thing you see turning into the half-mile lane. The 23-acre woods behind the barn has grown untouched since Jesse James roamed Iowa. Rumor has it that these woods furnished the lumber for the neighbors barn that Jesse slept in. The
old saw mill can still be found along recently opened trails, accessible to campers.