Toddler Herb Klemp sits on the windowsill of the stone cottage under construction on Lake Road 8. Today he poses in the same spot with the plaque that marks the date of the 1939 structure his parents built by hand. Photo courtesy of Amy Heaven
Courtesy Gardner Lake Community
1939 was a significant year for many reasons. That year the newly-matured Gardner Lake project symbolized the end of a decade of drought and, Herb Klemp was born. Herb’s parents had discovered the beauty of the young lake and were determined to build their dream cottage on the east shore on a lot with a panoramic view. It is unknown for certain but it is likely that the lot was acquired during the February, 1934 lottery when parcels were sold for $100 each. Herb’s parents, Heinie and Mimi Klemp bought an adjacent lot with family friends, Phillip and Bertha Voltz, both from Kansas City, Kan.
The senior Klemps built the charming stone cottage at 15590 Lake Road 8 single-handedly. Initially completed in 1940, the Klemps continued to expand and refine the dwelling even adding a popular children’s pool filled with fresh lake water. Herb’s earliest memories are of weekends fishing, swimming and boating during the summer months, and playing on the solid ice in the winter.
In 1964 Herb married the lovely Helen Grove and they started their family, eventually raising three daughters, who spent every weekend and any vacation time at Gardner Lake. Since then, grandchildren have enjoyed the same children’s pool that has brought so much pleasure for decades.
In 1985 Herb and Helen removed a shed and a kitchen addition from the stone cottage. Making improvements to the lot adjacent allowed for the construction of their full-time residence with a breathtaking view.
In the early 90’s Herb was persuaded by Barbara Jacobe to fill in as acting vice president of the Gardner Lake Association. The association had been spearheaded by Barbara to protect the historic beach house and successfully see it included on the National Register of Historic Places. Six months later Herb found himself at the helm of the organization with Helen publishing the newsletter. During his tenure, he was instrumental in establishing the lake road representative program that is still effective today.
Gardner Lake is surrounded by charming original structures that echo the joy of living on the water. The “Original Cottage” plaque program is making metal markers available to home owners with one of these little jewels on the shore. To qualify you need to establish a construction date of all or part of your dwelling prior to 1942. The plaques are $200 with a portion to benefit the Gardner Lake Association.