Harveys Lake History

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Inns & Boarding Houses

The Tabard Inn opened in 1909 adjacent to the Picnic Grounds

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.


The Avon Inn

The Avon Inn was opened by Dora and Noah Raskin in 1912, at first advertised as a �Kosher Boarding House.� Originally, it was apparently a leased home on the Barnum plot at Pine Street and Lakeside Drive. Between 1914 and 1922 Dora Raskin purchased four plots, largely from James B. Barnum, totaling about 60 acres. The original inn was extensively enlarged for the 1914 season which included a dining area seating 200 and a large dance hall. The new Avon Inn had 22 sleeping rooms served by two bath rooms. The property also had one single 9 room house and a single 8 room house for lease, rooming, and functions.

A Raskin purchase in 1922 of 3.9 acres behind the Avon Inn became the Young Mens Hebrew Association of Wilkes-Barre summer camp known as Camp Ahmy from 1924 through 1928.

The Avon Inn was a popular destination for Jewish clients enticed by Dora Raskin's strictly Kosher cooking. Noah Raskin was the inn's general manager. In addition to inn guests, the hotel attracted automobile parties as day or evening guests, and it hosted weddings. The Raskins managed its own farm on the site to insure fresh food. Other attractions were tennis, and bathing and boating on the Lake front.

Dora N. Raskin died in mid-April 1929 and the Avon Inn did not recover from her loss. Noah Raskin retained experienced outside assistance to manage the inn. He also sought to attract weekend excursion guests by bus from New York City.

Financial difficulties resulted in a sheriff sale of the Raskin properties on November 27, 1931, with the mortgage lender First National Bank of Wilkes-Barre acquiring the hotel. The bank retained management to operate the Avon Inn in May 1932 until October 1936 when Frank Lutinsky purchased the property and converted it into the Pine Grove Lodge.


Pine Grove Lodge

The Avon Inn properties were acquired by Frank Lutinsky, Sr., (1896-1976) in October 1936 from the First National Bank. A Navy veteran of World War I, Lutinsky organized the Harvey�s Lake American Legion Post No. 387. He was its first Commander. He also would serve as President of the Harvey�s Lake Protective Association.

In 1937-1938 property was known as Pine Grove Camp. The rate was $13.00 weekly for room and meals. There were also canoe and horse rentals for a modest fee.

In 1939 the name was recast as Pine Grove Lodge. A day rate for a room and meal was $2.75. A special Pine Grove bus left the Martz terminal in Wilkes-Barre every Saturday at 1:30 p.m. to the Lodge for week-end guests. The week-end rate including the bus was $6.00. In addition to Pennsylvania guests, others came from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Massachusetts. Activities included tennis, archery, badminton, softball, volley ball, shuffle board, boating, bathing and dancing.

Pine Grove Lodge typically rented rooms at six dollars weekly in the late 1930s. There were also cabin rentals at six dollars weekly and cottages at twelve dollars weekly. There were also trailer sites for rental. The Lodge also accommodated outings, banquets and parties.

By 1970 the property was reformed again as Pine Grove Apartments renting apartments and cottages of one to four bedrooms. The former Avon Inn/Pine Grove Lodge main building was vacant a decade later. At 2:15 a.m. on May 13, 1980, a fire was discovered at the Lodge. The Harvey�s Lake and Kunkle fire departments responded but the fire nearly destroyed the building which was later razed.


Carpenter's Hotel

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.


The Tabard Inn

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.


Stonehurst Lodge

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

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