Harveys Lake
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Hanson's Dances


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Hanson's Amusement Park
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Hanson's Dances

Photo Copyright 2008 FCP Collection

The Starfires were a popular local band at Hanson's. This picture is from August 26, 1966. Left to right are: Richard Roediger, Bob Gardner, Eddie Day (Pashinski), Richard Gumbravich, and Rodger Griffith.


The Lake and other ballroom venues in the Wyoming Valley were energetic magnets for evolving musical styles in the twentieth century.  The Oneonta and Sunset Pavilions (at Sunset) belonged to the jazz age.  Similar settings, especially Fernbrook Park in Dallas, saw the great dance bands of the 1930s and 40s.

Three decades after the “dance band” era had entranced the Nation, a new musical craze, rock and roll, breathed new life in the Lake’s amusement centers.  Local musical talents providing weekend retreats for teenage crowds, were stationed at area parks, including Hanson’s Amusement Park.  From the early 1960s to the early 1970s, dances featuring local and national talent were regularly held in the second-floor dance hall above the restaurant. 

A weekend dance at Hanson’s could draw two thousand people to enjoy emerging national talent which included Bobby Goldsboro, Chubby Checker and the McCoys.  The dark hall, built to serve the musical dreams of much earlier youth, jumped to the raucous beat of a stimulating but uncertain generation, many of whom lost themselves to the wonderfully deafening music. 

Many others milled along the outside of the dance floor searching for fun and sometimes a little trouble. Hanson’s dances were able to draw considerable local talent from the Wyoming Valley; the most popular area attractions were Joe Nardone and the All Stars, and Eddie Day with both the Starfires and TNT.

Page 1 | 2 | 3 Next: Part I: 1960s

Copyright 2006-2007 F. Charles Petrillo

Copyright 2006-2008 F. Charles Petrillo