The former Tell City Marina is shown in an artists’ proposal from locals Carly and Caleb Kuric. The Kurics have been commissioned to depict the beloved 1960s marina on the Ohio River floodwall at Veterans Sunset Park. The project benefactor is Angela Fischer James.
PCN Photo: Courtesy of TCRAA
The former Tell City Marina is shown in an artists’ proposal from locals Carly and Caleb Kuric. The Kurics have been commissioned to depict the beloved 1960s marina on the Ohio River floodwall at Veterans Sunset Park. The project benefactor is Angela Fischer James.
PCN Photo: Courtesy of TCRAA
TELL CITY – Plans are going ahead for a new mural on the Tell City Veterans Sunset Park floodwall.

The former Tell City Marina is shown in an artists’ proposal from locals Carly and Caleb Kuric. The Kurics have been commissioned to depict the beloved 1960s marina on the Ohio River floodwall at Veterans Sunset Park. The project benefactor is Angela Fischer James.

Tell City once boasted a favorite marina, a place where residents and visitors could dock their boats to play on the river and explore what Tell City had to offer.

The mural is planned to showcase the moment in time when Sunset Park had a boat marina full of life and livelihood.

“We’re bringing history of the Ohio River onto the floodwall,” said Tell City Regional Arts Association President Pat Jarboe.

The mural plans to highlight a time when the marina boasted a yacht club, a 150 person party barge and many different local types of boats coming and going along the river.

Local artists Carly and Caleb Kuric, who are a married couple, will be painting the section of wall.

Caleb is a local artist who attended the American Academy of Art with a term at an art school in Warsaw, Germany.

Carly is a Southern Indiana University graduate.

They were commissioned by Angela Fischer James through TCRAA to start the project.

The mural’s home will be on the wet side of the wall, between the William Tell apple and the butterfly and is planned to take up a large section.

The couple will be using paint rollers and brushes to render the giant image.

“There’s no expositional text,” Caleb said, “It will be all landscape.” They are accepting photographs from the community to create images. People who’ve submitted photographs of their own boats from the 1960s and 1970s, back when the Yacht Club was present and active, could see their old boat permanently rendered in the full mural.

“The colors might be tricky,” Caleb said. Since they’re working from photographs showing people’s actual boats, they want to get the original designs and colors right.

After putting down the base coats of paint, they plan to take a projector out at night to project against the wall and hand draw the boats. Afterwards, they will begin the process of brushing in colors to bring the scene to life.

“It’ll be as if you’re looking at the wall from a boat on the river,” Caleb described. “So, the wall will be in the painting,” Caleb added.

The couple hopes to get started by the end of this month or beginning of July. They hope to finish by the end of summer.

History

The marina was built in Tell City in the early 1960s, located on the Ohio River at the end of the Washington Street floodwall entrance at river mile marker 727.

A photo book held by the Tell City Historical Society gives some details about the history of the Tell City Marina. The book is called “Tell City, IN Marina” and was compiled by Kathy Pohl Finley in 2018.

Inside the book reads, “History [of the marina] is compiled from Norma Fischer’s memories and the newspaper articles she saved and interviews with Dick Veeck, Jimmy Hartz and Gene Borders in 2018.”

In the early 1960s the concrete boat ramp already poured into the river. A dock extended from near the ramp, with several other docks extended off the main dock to house more boats.

So popular was the marina, a gas pump was built at the end of the main dock so visitors and regular boaters could fuel when necessary or at their leisure.

Boats of several different varieties docked at the marina. Small boats and houseboats were most common. Some boaters chartered their houseboats for people without their own boats to enjoy the river.

In 1968, new boat docks were built a little upriver from the original Sunset Park boat ramps. The newer docks covered 1,100 feet of docking space and could house from 60-70 boats at a time.

Between 1967 and 1968, the U.S.  Army Corps of Engineers gave a marina barge of creosoted cypress with a building. Randall Fischer and Dick Veeck converted it into the Tell City Yacht Club, a recreation room, where they added carpeting, air conditioning, a built-in bar and color TV.

The Yacht Club had a gas dock tied to Sunset Park ramp that sank in 1972. It was raised and replaced in a few months by a larger floating gas station.

The Yacht Club hosted several organization functions, including the first Tri Kappa Kaffee Klatch in 1974.

A party barge was introduced in 1976, costing $80,000, capable of hosting 150 passengers and a fully stocked alcohol bar.

The docks were removed for winters and 1978 was the last year the docks were installed.

By 1974, the Cannelton dam was installed and boaters preferred to cruise on the other side of it.

The Yacht Club barge was converted into a restaurant in 1987 but sank in December 1988 on Christmas Day. It remains on the bottom of the Ohio River.

The Tell City Party Barge was sold in 1982 and had a better fate, where it was used at the World’s Fair in Knoxville, Tenn., as a dock waiting area with cocktail waiting lounge.

Copyright 2021