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Inns & Boarding Houses
In addition to the Lake's major hotels, dozens of smaller facilities--lodges, cabins, bungalows, boarding houses, inns & campgrounds--accomodated the seasonal crowds, as well as laborers and workmen who came to the Lake to harvest ice, cut lumber, or serve tourists. All of the big hotels are gone now, razed to make way for newer structures, or destroyed by fire. But several of these smaller establishments remain, some as apartments and at least one as an office building.
Avon Inn / Pine Grove Lodge
The Avon Inn was developed before World War I by Noah and Dora Raskin and expanded to become a vacation spot with over 50 acres of ground. It was located on a hill overlooking the Lake near the Picnic Grounds. It had a small resort atmosphere.
The Avon Inn was acquired by Frank Lutinski in 1937. Three years later he reopened the hotel as Pine Grove Lodge, a popular vacation setting for thirty-one years. In addition to sports and games, the Pine Grove Lodge filled summer evenings with dancing, dramatics, campfires and masquerades. Rooms and meals were available at the main lodge. Well-shaded cabins and trailer sites could be rented. The Lodge provided a bus from Wilkes-Barre to the Lake and Sunday transportation to church services at the Lake. In the early morning hours of May 13, 1980, Pine Grove Lodge was lost to fire.
Carpenter's Hotel/ “Sloppy”Tony’s
In 1908 the Rhoads Hotel at Sunset was destroyed by fire. A separate Rhoades tavern, built in 1883, survived and was converted into a small hotel. Frank Rhoads died in 1909 and his daughter, Amy, managed the hotel and later married J. D. Carpenter. They expanded the inn into a two-story facility known as Carpenter’s Hotel. In later years the facility was associated with Kitty Walsh as a tea-room.
In 1936 Carpenter’s Hotel was converted by Anthony Burnett into a night club known as Sloppy Tony’s. In mid-October 1946 an outdoor advertising sign at “Tony’s” caught fire. A strong wind fed the fire destroying the club, but firemen did save an attached dwelling. The night club was well-known for its heavy carpet of peanut shells, a trademark of Anthony Burnett, owner of the club. The club had been closed during the War while Burnett was in the service. In May 1948 Sloppy Tony’s reopened, apparently as a rebuilt club.
On Christmas Day 1950 Sloppy Tony and his wife, Ruth Johnson Burnett, died in a tragic accident at their South Wilkes-Barre home when they were overcome by gas fumes. They had spent the previous night out with Ray Hottle, owner of the famed Hottle’s restaurant, and it was Hottle who discovered the tragedy the next day.
Davis Boarding House
The Davis Boarding House, very near the Picnic Grounds, is one example of numerous short-term summer rental facilities during the Lake’s early resort history.
The Davis facility was later known as the home of Squire Ralph Davis who also had a gas station and store here. He also maintained a restaurant on the Lake side of the road next to the steamboat company’s coal house – near the Picnic Grounds.
Davis lost an arm in an accident at the Harvey’s Lake sawmill at Alderson in his youth. Yet he had a reputation as a crack marksman with a hunting rifle. His son, Elwood “Woody” Davis was a champion Lake swimmer.
Tabard Inn / Wa Hoo Inn / Harvey's Lake Hotel
The Tabard Inn, adjacent to the Picnic Grounds, was originally operated by John and Isabella Merical from 1909 to 1921. It had a capacity of 25 with a daily rate in 1915 of $1.25 and an $8.00 weekly rate.
William and Elizabeth Mann acquired the Tabard in 1921. The Tabard was sold to Tony Tiberio in April 1949. With a large addition it became the Wa Hoo Inn and by the 1980s the Harvey’s Lake Hotel.
The original Tabard is now enclosed within the expanded structure and is now apartments.
Ted Frantz, Jr., acquired lakefront property from the lumberman Arthur L. Stull in 1937 to create Stonehurst Cabins – a combination of rental and lot development facilities. He also built a lodge (left). The Lodge and log-cabin cottages were uniquely modern with complete utilities.
Stonehurst also offered a large private sandy beach to delight guests. After the development of the attractive resort, Frantz lost his life in a tragic boating accident one late evening in early September 1941 when his speedboat struck the moored but unlighted seaplane of Mack A. Stogner, a visitor from New York City.
In later years Stonehurst, adjacent to the Harvey’s Lake Yacht Club, was acquired by the late Tom Garrity and is the site of the Garrity realty office.
Sunny Bank was another 20-guest boarding house, shown at left circa 1915, which also was located at Alderson close to the Picnic Grounds. The house is one of the few from this era still standing.
Along with the Davis House and others, Sunny Bank was listed in travel literature supplied by the railroad to promote Lake excursions. At this time a round-trip Lehigh Valley railroad fare from New York City to Alderson was $7.95.
Near Sunny Bank Mrs. Ed Gaynor at Alderson (close to the railroad station) had a 15-guest farmhouse with a $1.50 daily rate and $9.00 weekly rate. Another guesthouse at Laketon, operated by Nellie Ranking, offered accomodations for 50 guests at $1.75 a night.
Copyright 2006-2008 F. Charles Petrillo