Harveys Lake History


Harvey's Lake Post Offices


Lake House Post Office (Rhoads Hotel) 1874-1875
FCP Collection



The earliest post office in the Harvey's Lake region was Lake post office created on November 1, 1850, with Lewis Allen, a son of Otis Allen, Sr., as postmaster. The Lake post office location is not described in any news or historical account but undoubtedly was at the Allen home in present-day Loyalville. The Allen settlement was among the earliest patches of homes in Lake Township.

Otis Allen, Sr., moved from Jackson Township to a nearly unsettled area near present-day Loyalville in 1836. In 1838 Allen moved to Lee's Pond at the intersection of Route 92 and Loyalville Road. Lee's Pond was named for Daniel Lee who moved there in 1806. The pond was once a 60 acre largely cranberry marsh created in part by beaver dams. By 1874 the pond had been significantly drained by farmers. By the 1870s the area became known as Allen Town or Allenville. Lake Township was created in 1841, and when Otis Allen, Sr., died in January 1842, Otis Allen, Sr., became the first person who died in the new township. He is buried in the Allen family cemetery. The first school in the township was at the Otis Allen, Sr., home, taught by Jonathan Williams in the winter of 1842-43 and 1843-44. There was also a separate one-room Allen school house in later years.

In April 1854 Abram Bisher became the Lake postmaster, followed by Oliver M. Martin in late July 1861. John J. Shook, who later developed the Ruggles lumber trade, replaced Oliver in mid-April 1864. He was succeeded by William Mordan in mid-December 1868, followed by Oscar Hoffman on January 29, 1869, and then Joseph A. Booth on November 24, 1871 (Booth Corners). The post office locations undoubtedly moved to the homes or business locations of the various postmasters.

Mail from Wilkes-Barre to the Lake post office was carried by horse and wagon. An incident in the summer of 1870 was reported in the July 28, 1870, issue of the Pittston Gazette:

An accident of a curious a character occurred to an old gentleman named Pettebone, who carries the mail between Wilkes-Barre and Lake post-office, on Thursday last. About four miles from Wilkes-Barre, on the road to Harvey's Lake, Mr. Pettebone attempted to pass one of the wagons of the G.A.R. Excursion, and the road being very narrow, he drove horse, wagon, and all over an embankment into a ravine rocks, stumps, and brush. The members of the Grand Army immediately rushed to the rescue, and in a few minutes had raised the wagon and horse, to neither of which any damage was perceptible. The old man was more unfortunate, and was bleeding profusely from the face. Two medical gentlemen in the party made an examination, and found that the only injury he had received was on the nose. It appears that Mr. Pettebone was afflicted with cancer on the nose, and in falling struck his nasal organ in such a manner as to cut the cancer clean off. The nose was put into as good shape as possible by the two doctors, and if the cancer does not again make its appearance the accident will prove to have been a blessing in disguise.

On March 24, 1879, Joseph A. Booth was re-named the post-master for Loyalville, the new designation by the U.S. Post Office. In February 1894 the post office relocated to the E. M. Allen store in Loyalville. The Loyalville post office continued until April 14, 1904, when it was merged with the Alderson post office at Harvey's Lake.

The former Lake post office which was now at Outlet Mills was re-established at the top of Carpenter Road nearer Harvey's Lake on June 9, 1880, with Henry Worthington as postmaster, but he did not establish postal services. On July 12, 1880, Joseph P. Worthington became the Lake postmaster with a reappointment on June 28, 1884. His home and post office still stands at Carpenter and Ridge Roads and was actually in Lehman Township until it was later incorporated into Harveys Lake Borough.

Charles R. Rhoads became the Lake postmaster on November 1, 1886. Charles E. Rhoads (1853-1902) was the son of James W. Rhoads, former postmaster of Lake House (later the Rhoads Hotel). He retained his postal position despite his implication in the death of a waitress at the hotel. But a jury acquitted Rhoads in 1897 along with a co-defendant, a physician who was attending the woman. C.E. Rhoads died in 1902 and his brother, Frank Rhoads, became the postmaster at the hotel for 15 months. His successor, William J. Hill, was appointed in late 1903. Hill operated a long-standing refreshment and candy stand at the Sunset bridge. The Hill family served the Lake for four decades. The lake post office was discontinued on January 12, 1894, and services were transferred to the Shawanese post office at Sunset.


A Loyalville Diversion

There is no contemporary news account to explain the decision to name the area Loyalville. There is no explanation in any local or regional historical text. However, on April 30, 1936, the Wilkes-Barre Record offered an account by Zora L. Williams, 86, daughter of George Allen, and granddaughter of Otis Allen, Sr. Her father George Allen was the first tax-collector of Lake Township. Total township taxes were $33.00 in 1842.

Zora L. Williams celebrated her 86th birthday yesterday at her home in Loyalville. Despite her advanced age Mrs. Williams is active, reads and hears as well as a person half her age. She was born and has lived within sight of her present home.
The octogenarian has been active in community and church work. She joined the Church of Christ, Sweet Valley, when aged 18. She recalled vividly the great flood of 1865 and the Civil War. "I lost two brothers in the Civil War, have lived through the Spanish-American and the World Wars, but do not want to live through any more," she stated.
Mrs. Williams's husband [L. Dow Williams] died 17 years ago. She has one brother living, G.S. Allen, Market Street, Kingston.
The aged woman recalled how her community came to be known as Loyalville. "On the top of this hill right here by my home," she said, "at the beginning of the Civil War, a pine pole was erected and the flag raised to show the community was loyal to the flag and the Union. The flag, she continued, remained up all through the war and from that demonstration the name Loyalville was taken for the community."
When the conversation drifted to the young people, she said:
"I pity the younger generation and the difficult times they have to confront. They all have ambitions and a desire to get ahead, but what chance have they?"
"How about the girls and women smoking?" she was cautiously asked. "It's a disgrace and lowers the standards of a girl below what they should be," she replied. "If I were a young man no young woman who smoked would find favor with me. And I do not think women should vote. Voting and smoking are two things women should not do."
Mrs. Williams ahs been a reader of the Record since it was a weekly back in 1870. She reads the paper daily.

Zora (Izora) Allen Williams died in mid-March 1937. Her account of the Loyalville name rings true. Support in the North to engage in the Civil War was not universal. There were draft riots in New York City in July 1863 opposing Lincoln's conscription of men into the Union army. In Columbia County a band of Civil War opponents were known as the Fishing Creek Confederacy.

Two grand-children of Otis Allen, Sr., sons of George Allen and the brothers of Zora Allen Williams, died in service during the Civil War. Nathan Allen, 25, enlisted on August 30, 1862, in Company K. Pennsylvania 142nd Infantry Regiment. He was promoted to Corporal on August 18, 1864, and was killed at the battle of Hatcher's Run (Dabney's Mill) near Petersburg, VA., on February 8, 1865. Three soldiers carrying the company flag were killed at Hatchers Run. Nathan Allen retrieved the flag and he, too, was fatally shot. He is buried at the City Point National Cemetery in Hopewell, VA. His brother Clark B. Allen enlisted at age 21 on October 16, 1862, and served in the 151st Pennsylvania Infantry. He died on July 9, 1863, due to medical issues at the Campbell General Hospital in Washington, DC. He is buried at the U.S. Soldier's and Airmen's Home National Cemetery, Washington, DC, which is near Abraham Lincoln's summer cottage.


Lake House

James W. Rhoads, owner of the Rhoads Hotel (formerly the Lake House), was appointed as postmaster of a newly created Lake House post office at the hotel on July 29, 1874. Rhoads was the former Luzerne County Sheriff from 1868 to 1871. But the Lake House post office closed October 28, 1875, and its short-lived services transferred to the Lake post office, likely at Booth Corners.



Following the designation of a Loyalville post office in March 1879 a new post office was created on July 12, 1880, at Outlet, along Harvey's Creek near the Lake and site of Outlet Mills, an old lumbering village then in decline. Joseph C. Morgan was the Lake post master at Outlet Mills in 1880 and he became the first Outlet postmaster.

At Outlet Ziba Mathers succeeded Morgan as postmaster on July 23, 1884, but he became the postmaster of Luzerne Borough in September 1885. It is likely that a son, B. F. Mathers, became the postmaster until he moved to Ontario, Canada, in April 1887. (He would later return to Wilkes-Barre and became a prominent businessman.) The Outlet post office was at the Mathers Outlet store but it was unpopularly moved to the nearby Mathers family grist mill at the Outlet when B. F. Mathers relocated.

There is a gap in the post office history until George B. Herbine became the Outlet post-master on July 26, 1889. The Outlet post office was closed in mid-April 1892 by the U. S. Postal Service. While the lumbering era was over there were increasing farming and residential activity and a clamor to reinstate postal services which was successful when the Outlet post office was reopened with the appointment of Lizzie Hoyt as postmistress on December 12, 1893. Mary L. Freeman followed on March 22, 1901. Freeman was succeeded by Agar J. Ferguson on January 28, 1902, with William Mordan succeeding Freeman on June 8, 1903. Outlet finally closed on June 30, 1905, and services transferred to Shawanese.


Alderson Post Office, c. 1928, later Javer's Store
FCP Collection


The Alderson post office was created on October 20, 1887, for the lumbering and railroad interests of Albert Lewis. This Lake area was formerly known as North Corner. William C. Alderson was a Philadelphia based official with the Lehigh Valley Railroad and would become Treasurer of the Railroad. Edward Bush was the first postmaster followed by George M. Young on March 24, 1892. In the Lewis lumbering era, Alderson was essentially a "company town" and both Bush and Young were trusted Lewis employees. The Alderson post office was opened by Bush on November 14, 1887. Mail was sent from Wilkes-Barre to Alderson by railroad.

Other postmasters were George C. Armitage, on January 26, 1915; Peter T. Delaney on June 1, 1940, and Irwin A. Rood on December 6, 1940. But Rood resigned on December 21, 1940. A replacement, John B. Newhart, accepted the post on March 6, 1941. Ruth Avery became the postmistress on February 1, 1944, followed by Roy H. Tyson on December 1, 1944.

In addition to his remarkable 25 year tenure as postmaster Armitage was a well-known fisherman at the Lake. His catches would be reported in news accounts. In early October 1917 he had an evening catch of 18 pounds of catfish and a four-pond eel (Eel could ascend the Susquehanna River and Harvey's Creek to enter the Lake.) In 1927 Armitage and his wife, Iris Avery Armitage, had caught nearly 30 Lake Trout by mid-August.

During Armitage's term the Lehigh Valley Railroad abandoned its twice daily runs from the city to the Lake in December 1928. The railroad which had carried the mail to Alderson was replaced with daily truck runs servicing Luzerne, Trucksville, Shavertown, Dallas, and Alderson.

The Alderson post-office closed on May 1, 1949, when the Harvey's Lake post office was established. At this time the only other lake post office was at Shawanese at Sunset.


Laketon Post Office; I.A. Rood's, c. 1925
FCP Collection


The Laketon post-office at West Corner was created on February 28, 1891, with Winfield H. Perrego as post-master. He was a descendant of the pioneer Perrego's at the Lake.

Martin Fahey became the Laketon post-master on March 19, 1895, but Winfield H. Perrego resumed the post on November 28, 1896. With his death his widow, Minnie O. Perrego, became the postmistress on January 12, 1903.

Irwin A. Rood, who had a store at West Corner, was appointed on March 18, 1918, and was Laketon's last postmaster and served until September 30, 1935, when Laketon closed and services transferred to Alderson.



Shawanese was established at Sunset on January 12, 1894. Under political pressure the Lake post office was renamed Shawanese by influential "blue-bloods" from the Wyoming Valley, who had Lake interests, in the mistaken belief that Harvey's Lake once hosted a Shawnee Native American village. They also had an interest in a steamboat at the Lake which the owners named the Shawanese but they failed to have the Lake renamed Shawanese Lake. They misread an early Pennsylvania map which had a regional lake marked as having a Shawnee village along its shore. They mistook the lake as Harvey's Lake when it was actually Lake Ganoga near Ricketts Glen. There is no actual evidence a Shawnee village was at Lake Ganoga either.

The postmasters of Shawanese as recited in the official U.S. Post Office history are:




Date Appointed

(Originally established as LAKE)
This post office was officially established on June 9, 1880. The postmaster appointed on that date, however, did not serve. Joseph P. Worthington, the first postmaster to serve, was first appointed on June 28, 1880, although it is likely the office didn't open for business until a month or so later.

Joseph P. Worthington



Discontinued on July 8, 1880
Reestablished on July 12, 1880

Joseph P. Worthington
Charles E. Rhoads



Changed to SHAWANESE on January 12, 1894

Frank R. Rhoads
William J. Hill
Mary E. Gosart
Patrick J. Garrity
Patrick J. Garrity
Walter S. Puterbaugh
Walter S. Puterbaugh
Mable Eleanor Puterbaugh
Mable Eleanor Puterbaugh
Margaretta P. Bryant
Margaretta P. Bryant
Jack Kennedy
Carol A. Snyder
Nancy L. Smith
Nancy L. Smith
David L. Gutkowski

Acting Postmaster
Acting Postmaster
Acting Postmaster



Worthington's - Shawanese Post Office, 1880-1886
Artwork by Dorothy Ricci

Mary Pendleton Gosart (1879-1956) was the Shawanese postmistress for 20 years. She was the daughter of Asa R. Pendleton, who was an early store owner along Old Lake Road near Sunset. She was the spouse of Jacob C. Gosart, Sr. (1875-1938). The Gosart family, like the Pendletons, were early pioneers at the Lake and were descended from an original member of the 40 settlers at Forty Fort before the Wyoming Massacre.

A.R. Pendleton founded a Sunset store prior to the Civil War. Upon his death, the store was managed by his son-in-law Jacob C. Gosart, Sr., and later Jacob G. Gosart, Jr. (1900-1948). The Gosart store was once a Sunset landmark with three gas stations, auto accessories, ice cream, and cottages, boats and canoes for rent. A descendant, Charles Gosart, opened a Shavertown store along the highway in 1939.

The Puterbaugh family served as postmasters at Shawanese for 44 years. George P. Puterbaugh was a farmer in the Alderson area since the mid-1880s. His son, Walter S. Puterbaugh, became the postmaster in June 1945 followed by his daughter [Mable] Eleanor Puterbaugh in May 1958. The family store was at Sunset with its 197 square foot post office was at the end of the structure. In September 1984 another daughter, Margaretta P. Bryant, became the postmistress until early 1989.

The Shawanese post-office shared the Puterbaugh grocery store building (later owned by Nick DiVernoica). The Diveronica store closed in mid-September 1997. The post office remained opened while the building was offered for sale. On March 13, 2011, a robbery at the post-office closed the post office which also had environmental issues. The building was condemned on October 26. 2011, and the post office did not reopen. In August 2017 services were formally transferred to the Harveys Lake post-office near Sandy Bottom. The Diveronica building was later razed.


Gosart's Shawanese Post Office - Store, c. 1925
FCP Collection

Harvey's Lake

By the 1940s the only post-offices at the Lake were Alderson and Shawanese at Sunset. While the Shawanese was adjacent to the Sunset bridge, the site was actually in Lehman Township. In its early years Shawanese was generally open only during the summer season.

Neither Alderson or Shawanese clearly identified with Harvey's Lake. Moreover, the Lake was transforming from a largely summer colony to an extended or 12- month residential community.

On November 8, 1945, an editorial in the Wilkes-Barre Record advocated for a post-office named Harvey's Lake:

Recognizing Harvey's Lake
Although Harvey's Lake has borne that name for more than 150 years the popular and official name of this largest natural lake within the limits of Pennsylvania - and the name is also the general designation of the community surrounding the lake - has never made its way into the postal guide.

Shawanese Post Office, 2009
FCP Collection

This large and growing community of all year round and summer homes formerly had three post offices, now for the winter reduced from two to one. The survivor is at Alderson and bears that name. Laketon post office has been abolished. Shawanese, near the old Oneonta place, is open only during the summer months.
No reference to Harvey's Lake is found in the postal guide. This always makes for delay in the delivery of mail from distant points addressed to Harvey's Lake. A Harvey's Lake post office known as such would be in order, a logical if delayed recognition of the long- lived name which can be traced back to the discovery of the lake by Benjamin Harvey in 1781.
Writing in 1889 in his history, "The Harvey Book," the late Oscar Jewel Harvey said that the lake had continued "from at least 1795 to the present time, to be popularly and officially known as Harvey's Lake and to be so designated particularly on maps and in public documents published by or under the auspices of the county of Luzerne, and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania."
Although there has been little agitation of the subject, informal proposals have been made by some Harvey's Lake residents and cottagers looking forward the establishment by the post office department of a post office bearing a name descriptive of the whole community and not one section. Irresistibly, in the light of history, there can be only one such name - Harvey's Lake. Those tempted to urge that the Indian name "Shawanese" would be a more suitable designation could do well to remember that an attempt to christen the lake Shawanese during the early 90's was unsuccessful.
At least one other similar post office anomaly presents itself in Luzerne County for parallel with the Harvey's Lake case. Warrior Run residents are served through a post office named Peely.

On November 13, 1945, local Cong. Daniel J. Flood wrote the following letter to the Record:

Shawanese Post Office, left; Diveronica's, right, 2012
FCP Collection

Editor, the Record:
In your always interesting and highly informative editorial columns, I observed yesterday that editorial, entitled, "Recognizing Harvey's Lake."
I want you to know that I am in full agreement with the statements made therein, and agree that, by all means, the historic background of Harvey's Lake and its name should be commemorated by designation in the Postal Guide.
I think you should know that for the past several weeks, I have been working on this problem with the Post Office Department in Washington. I have had some communication with Judge Andrew Hourigan on this subject, and I am advised that even now a group of interested persons in the Harvey's Lake area are preparing the necessary petitions to present to me in support of my request to the Post Office Department.
At present, as you indicated, there is the Shawanese Post Office in the Harvey's Lake area, operating only as a summer post office. In addition, there is the Alderson Post Office, open all the year round. I have requested the citizens of the Lake area to designate which of these two post offices now named they would like to have changed, so that one can bear the name Harvey's Lake.
It is interesting to observe once again that you seem to have your finger on the pulse of public opinion in your area.
Daniel J. Flood, M. C.

The issue simmered for a time. Then in the summer of 1948 the Harvey's Lake Protective Association strongly endorsed the Harvey's Lake postal designation. The result was reported in the Wilkes-Barre Record on April 5, 1949.

Harvey's Lake Post Office, 10/22/1966
FCP Collection

Postmaster General Jesse M. Donaldson has signed an order changing the name of the Alderson Post Office to Harvey's Lake, effective May 1, 1949. This is in response to the petitions signed by a large number of permanent and summer residents served by the Alderson Post Office.
As far as the Post Office Department is concerned, there is no apostrophe in Harveys Lake. This is in keeping with a department practice. In the list of post offices for the entire United States are found no apostrophes.
Official notice of the change came yesterday to Roy H. Tyson, postmaster at Alderson, from V.C. Burke, first assistant postmaster general.
Harvey's Lake Protective Association at a meeting at Harvey's Lake on August 23, 1948, unanimously decided to petition the Post Office Department to change the post office names, that of the Shawanese summer office as well as Alderson, to Harvey's Lake. Whether the office known as Shawanese will be made a branch of the Harveys Lake Post Office is undecided as far as is known. After the association voted to ask for the change, the request was presented to the Post Office Department by Mitchell Jenkins, then serving as congressman from Luzerne County.
Since there has been much correspondence on the subject, Postmaster Tyson was consulted by the department and he favored the change. The zeal of a group of citizens who circulated petitions did much to help bring favorable action.
Improved mail service is expected to result from the change. Harvey's Lake is much better known than either of the present two post office names and much of the mail is addressed to Harvey's Lake. It was for this practical reason that Mr. Tyson favored the change as postmaster, and he is convinced that it will benefit the people served by the post office.

Ground-breaking for the Harvey's Lake post-office near Sandy Bottom occurred on October 30, 1964, with remarks by Cong. Daniel J. Flood and postmaster Roy H. Tyson. A similar ceremony occurred on December 12, 1964, for a new post-office at Dallas.

In late August 1966 Roy H. Tyson and his staff moved into the new Harveys Lake post-office. A formal dedication of the Lake's new post-office was held at 11:00 AM on October 24, 1966, followed by a ceremony at the new Dallas office at 2:00 PM. Flood was at both ceremonies. Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Benjamin R. Jones was master of ceremonies at Dallas.

Roy H. Tyson served as postmaster from 1949 to 1970. He was followed by Warren A. Johnson from 1971 to 1975. Chester A. Jescavage served from 1975 to 1977. John B. (Jack) Konsavage may have followed Jescavage. The following have since served:




Date Appointed

John P. Tosh, Jr.
Debora A. Malewicz
Mrs. Matilda Raklewicz
Romaine Stout
Walter Storm
Dorothy Bert
Kimberly A. Shepherd




Copyright 2019 F. Charles Petrillo