Harveys Lake History

The Lake's Restaurants and Bars
Part II

Eddie Day and the Nightimers
Sandy Beach 1967
Courtesy, Eddie Day Pashinski

Part II will review various public accommodations at Sandy Beach, Warden Place, Sunset and Alderson.


THE STONE HOUSE and SANDBAR

Perhaps no site at Harvey's Lake has hosted a wider variety of public and private accommodations than the Stone House at Sandy Beach. The unique and familiar Stone House was built in 1923 by Capt. Chalkley N. Booth on a plot owned earlier by Dr. A. P. O'Malley. C.N. Booth was a colorful figure in the early twentieth century. Born in Delaware in 1877, Booth enlisted in the PA National Guard at the outbreak of the Spanish-American War in 1898 and served in Puerto Rico.

After the War, Booth joined the Pennsylvania State Police when the force was created in 1905. He served with Troop B at the Wyoming Barracks. In 1910 Booth resigned to serve as Chief or Captain of the private police force of the Lehigh Valley Coal Company. In 1937 he formed the private Booth Detective Agency which he operated until his death in June 1941.

Stone House, 1975
FCP Collection

The Stone House was the summer home of C.N. Booth and his wife, Margaret. In their later years the couple principally resided at the Hotel Sterling, Wilkes-Barre. The Booths sold the Stone House in May 1929 to William V. Davis and Thomas Pugh, who were developing Sandy Beach.

In late 1930 the new owners leased the Stone House as a roadhouse known as the Beach Stone House. During the evening of December 26, 1930, club operators Richard Habsacker and Walter Cutter experienced a gas explosion from a faulty basement furnace, which forced patrons and the orchestra to flee. The Stone House was heavily damaged.

In May 1931 Morris Goldman assumed management of the roadhouse, and by October 1931 the club had serious issues with liquor law violations.

In July 1933 the Beach Stone House was leased and managed by Jimmy Brennan, another colorful figure who gained local fame as an early stage actor with the Poli Stock Company which owned theaters in Wilkes-Barre and Scranton. After Jimmy Brennan's early death at age 58 in August 1944, his widow, May Gallagher Brennan, managed the Beach Stone House through 1947. In 1949 she relocated across the road as Brennan's Bar and Grill (later May's Old Place), which today (2021) is Rich and Charlotte's.

In 1948 Sam and Alice Slomowitz purchased a significant portion of Sandy Beach, including the Stone House. Additional beach property was acquired in August 1961.

In 1952 the Stone House reopened as Panko's Steak House, operated by John Panko, but it seemingly did not survive into 1953. In later years, Panko owned and operated the successful Castle Inn on Memorial Highway.

In most years, however, the Stone House was the Slomowitz summer residence while they managed Sandy Beach.

Tavel Restaurant 1976
Courtesy, Jim Pearsall

In August 1973 the Slomowitz family sold its Sandy Beach holdings, including the Stone House, to Scarlet Enterprises, Inc., owned by Helen Sgarlat. In June 1976, a French restaurant was opened at the Stone House. Known as Tavel, it was operated by the remarkable 24-year old chef Jim Pearsall, who had the Hill House restaurant in 1969-1970 at the Harvey's Lake Ski area.

Ownership of the Stone House in later years would change, but there was one additional attempt to sustain a restaurant at the Stone House by New Jersey lawyer, William J. Hayes. In October 1997 Hayes created a corporation titled Sandy Beach Inn, Inc. The Sandy Beach Inn and Tiki Bar opened in September 1998. Interestingly, the inn served Emu, a member of the Ostrich family. Hayes also owned an Emu ranch in New Jersey.

In December 1998 the Sandy Beach Inn received a highly-favorable and detailed review in the Times-Leader newspaper. This late in the season, however, the restaurant was only open Fridays through Sunday, and not its usual six days weekly during more seasonable weather.

Hayes found that operating the Lake restaurant from New Jersey was problematic, and in August 1999, he unsuccessfully sought to sell the business on eBay. The highest offer of $320,000 would have resulted in a significant loss against Hayes' investment. In the summer of 2001, the Sandy Beach Inn was alternatively advertised as Captain Bill's Crab Shack and Tiki Bar, and was operating only Fridays through Sundays. The inn closed on September 2, 2001, and did not reopen.

The Stone House is now a private residence.


The Sgarlat Enterprises

The Lake has a history of independent women contributing to its legacy as a resort center. Examples are Martha Hill at Sunset; Sophie Osko who created the Grotto brand; and both Nettie Wintersteen and Shirley Hanson, at different times owners of the Lake's amusement park.

In the modern era, Helen Kochen Sgarlat (1921-2002) was another example of a spirited woman who often headlined the Lake's era in the 1960s-1970s. In April 1939, Helen Kochen, Swoyersville, married Harry F. Sgarlat, Forty Fort (1917-2009). H. F. Sgarlat was a son of the prominent Frank B. Sgarlat (1881-1937), an area home-builder and owner of a major Wyoming Valley sand and gravel corporation.

Helen Sgarlat, 1964

During WWII, Harry F. Sgarlat was attached to the 2860th Engineers Dredge Crew, serving in the Leyte, New Guinea and Philippine campaigns. He was awarded two battle stars on his Asiatic-Pacific Ribbon and a Philippine Liberation ribbon. In civilian life he worked with his father's company, and in 1957 he was one of the incorporators of the Frank B. Sgarlat Sand Gravel Company.

Helen Sgarlat was frequently a passionate advocate in controversial issues at the Lake

Helen Sgarlat was a Democrat who also ventured into wider local politics. In April 1964 she ran against her party as an Independent candidate to serve as a National Delegate to the 1964 Democratic Presidential Convention. In June 1964 she was at the county's Democratic convention in Nanticoke, to support Mayor Frank Slattery, Wilkes-Barre, against Dr. John L. Dorris, the incumbent, for Chairman of the Luzerne County Democratic Party. Sgarlat was "roughed up" at the convention and she sought to have Dorris, along with the party's vice-chair, and two Nanticoke policemen arrested for assault. Dorris won re-election and in October 1964, a Luzerne County Grand Jury refused to indict Dorris and the others.


Scarlet Inn

In early August 1965 Helen Sgarlat acquired the Top Shelf bar and restaurant at Sunset for $40,000 in a bankruptcy court proceeding filed by Peter Ambrose, the inn's owner. The Top Shelf was earlier known as the Circle Inn, and even earlier as the Cotton Club. The purchase included the popular Tail O' Pup summer refreshment stand near the club.

On August 19, 1965, Helen Sgarlat re-opened the Top Shelf as Scarlet's, also known as Scarlet's Inn. It was advertised as "Harvey's Lake Newest, Nicest Lounge and Cocktail Center."

Scarlet's Inn did not advertise widely. Presumably, it operated as a traditional night-club for its time. But, as with many Lake clubs, Scarlet's attracted periodic LCB violations, typically for Sunday sales, or unpermitted sales between 2:00 AM and 7:00 AM.

Circle Inn, 1949, later Sgarlat's
FCP Collection

After ten years, Scarlet's Inn was offered for sale in April 1975. The property, with its bar, restaurant, three apartments, liquor license, beach privileges and refreshment stand were listed for $125,000.

In August 1977 Helen Sgarlat sold the inn for $75,000, when it became the Flagstone House Inn, and later a personal care home.

More recently, the Borough rejected the site for a new municipal building, and it is currently (2021) for sale.


The Sandbar

Eddie Day and the Nightimers
Sandy Beach 1967
Courtesy, Eddie Day Pashinski

Helen Sgarlat was also associated with Sandy Beach. In the late 1960s, Sandy Beach was nearing the end of its lifetime at the Lake. On Sunday, February 10, 1969, a winter storm destroyed the movie screen of the Sandy Beach Drive-In theater. The owners of Sandy Beach, Sam and Alice Slomowitz, did not re-open it.

The Sandy Beach dance hall did re-open on Easter Sunday, April 14, 1968, with The (or Thee) Eddie Day Groop, with dances every Friday evening. Eddie Day's earlier band, Eddie Day and the Nightimers, had played at Sandy Beach in 1967 season. In the 1969 season Eddie Day was the booking agent for musical entertainment at both Sandy Beach and Hanson's. The Groop would evolve in late 1969 into Eddie Day's Trials and Tribulations (or T.N.T.) band. Soon, the T.N.T. record "Smiling Phases" would be number 17 on the WARM-radio hit-chart. Bingo parties were also regular features at Sandy Beach, operating all year.

Edie Day Group Poster, 1968
FCP Collection

At the end of 1969 Sam and Alice Slomowitz sold the Sandy Beach complex to Felix V. and Veronica Vallone for $100,000. This included the Stone House along with the beach, dance-hall and restaurant, boating facilities and the drive-in grounds. On Friday, May 15, 1970, Vallone opened Sandy Beach with Eddie Day and T.N.T., along with continuing the bingo parties.

On July 26-27, 1970, Sandy Beach presented the Attic Players' presentation of the Neil Simon comedy hit "The Star-Spangled Banner." The production was under the supervision of Eddie Day who was leasing the Sandy Beach hall. The play was favorably viewed by local critic, Roy E. Morgan. Another play "The Fantasticks" was performed on August 1-2, 1970. But a projected plan to establish a continuing summer playhouse at Sandy Beach was not supportable.

Another winter storm destroyed the roof of the Sandy Beach amusement center/dance hall on February 22, 1971. But Sandy Beach reopened on May 28, 1971, with bathing, boating and its picnic ground.

Sandbar Entrance, June 1973
FCP Collection

A new feature, the Sandbar, opened on Saturday, June 19, 1971. The bar was open evenings seven days weekly, with live-entertainment Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Examples of entertainment were Ted Bird, guitarist, and bands Resurrection, Moses (Albany, NY), Crossfield, and Joe Nardone and the All Stars.

Eddie Day and T.N.T. did not appear at Sandy Beach in 1971-1972. In mid-1973 the Vallone's lost Sandy Beach in a bankruptcy proceeding.

Ownership of Sandy Beach reverted to Alice Slomowitz, who held a mortgage on the property. Sam Slomowitz had died in June 1971. At this time, Eddie Day and T.N.T. returned to the Sandbar on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday nights. Other bands appeared on available evenings. The return of Eddie Day's band to Sandy Beach was short-lived. In mid-July 1973 Eddie Day moved his performances from the Lake to the Wilkes-Barre CYC.

Sam Slomowitz

In late August 1973, Alice Slomowitz sold Sandy Beach for $95,000 to Scarlet Enterprises, Inc., controlled by Helen Sgarlat. The sale also included the Stone House. On May 22, 1974, a fire destroyed the Sandbar, described as a cafeteria-restaurant and bar. Sandy Beach was scheduled to open two days later, but the fire closed Sandy Beach operations. It was reported a car was seen in the area and a fire broke out in the restaurant shortly after the vehicle left the scene, but no further developments were ever reported.

In later years, Helen Sgarlat sold the Stone House to private interests. Helen Sgarlat also transferred ownership of Sandy Beach out of Scarlet Enterprises, Inc., to both herself and to other interests. Over time the Sgarlat family divested all interests in the beach and it now remains undeveloped and privately-owned.

For a time in 1976 Harvey's Lake Borough was planning to purchase Sandy Beach as a public recreation area. The plan was approved by the Luzerne County Planning Commission in August 1976. But taxpayer opposition resulted in 4-3 borough council vote in early September 1976 to defeat the plan.

The Borough revisited the purchase of Sandy Beach in late 1978. But the Borough only managed to lease the Stone House in 1979 as a borough building for a time, until litigation and taxpayer opposition resulted in ending the plan.


Warden Place

In the early years, Warden Place cottage owners and summer visitors were served by candy and grocery stores, shops, and boarding houses.

Capt. William E. Bond (1820-1904) was a native of England who immigrated to Pittston. In the early 1890s, Bond held a monopoly on operating steamboats on Harvey's Lake with the City Charter and the "Big Boat," later renamed the Shawanese. He also leased the Kahler cottage at Warden Place which he operated as a boarding house until he moved to Dallas in 1895 where he built a machine shop.

In the early years of the twentieth-century at least two other boarding houses served Warden Place. Calvin Dymond had the Warden Place boarding house and Mary Titus had a boarding house in the early 1910s.

Possibly Fogel Cottage (Lake Breeze), 1910
FCP Collection

In June 1912, a news account stated that Warden Place was experiencing more cottage growth than at any other point on the Lake. Cottages here also had unique access to underground piped water from a water company reservoir at the top of a hill overlooking the development. In May 1913 Martha James, Plymouth, leased the L. J. Fogel cottage which she managed as a boarding house. One year later, on Decoration Day 1914, Martha James Schworm opened her newly-built Lakeside Inn, the largest landmark at Warden Place, which would operate under various owners, until its loss by fire in 1978. The Fogel boarding house evolved under new managers as the Lake Breeze Cottage, then as the Lake Breeze Hotel, and finally under new ownership into Solomon's Hotel.

There was another spurt of growth at Warden Place after WWI. Albert Brader purchased W.A. Kitchen's general store to re-make it into an ice cream parlor and quick-lunch stop. William's store had an associated barber shop. Lots at Warden Place were available for $200 and up at $5. down and $5. monthly. In 1923 a new Warden Place four-room cottage was for sale for $2,100 and a three-room bungalow for $2,300.

In time for Decoration Day in May 1922, Charles Solomon opened the Lake Breeze Hotel at Warden Place. Nearly a decade earlier, it was known as the Lake Breeze Cottage, operated by Martha James before her marriage and the construction of her Lakeside Inn.

Forest Inn
Times Leader, May 24, 1946

Charles Solomon was born in 1877 in Austria. His wife, Sallie, was the co-owner of the S.&.B. Restaurant, founded in 1921 on East Northampton Street, in downtown Wilkes-Barre. The three-story 20-room hotel, which could accommodate up to 50 guests, was destroyed on June 16, 1930, in a fire fought by Lake and Dallas fire-fighters. Hose lines into the Lake to draw water closed the entire road around the Lake.

The commercial history of Warden Place was often along Second Street (once known as Lake Street). Along this hill the Forest Inn was opened by E. E. Krauser on June 10, 1936, with a special turkey dinner and dancing. In later years, Krauser's parents, Gustave and Mary Krauser, operated the inn. Both parents were natives of Germany. By the late-1940s, it appears the Krausers had retired and the inn was sold in 1947 to Albert J. Myers, and it seemingly closed around 1970. Mary Krauser had passed away in March 1963. Gustave Krauser, 94, followed in February 1965.


Dunn's and Mel's

Dunn's Cafe
Times Leader, August 15, 1935

Another 1930's Warden Place bar on Second Street was Paul Dunn's Café, which he opened on August 15, 1935. Open all-year, the café served a wide variety of meals, from sea food to sandwiches, with a large choice of tap beers. In September 1946, Frank Melovitz assumed ownership of the bar and renamed it Mel's. Paul Dunn (Dunsavage) opened Dunn's Café, a seafood restaurant, at 78 S. Washington Street, in Wilkes-Barre. Mel's had a remodeling of the Lake café in 1950. When Frank Melovitz died in March 1968, his widow Jean (Jennie) operated Mel's until she sold it to Thomas and Mary Williams in late 1968 who renamed it as Tom and Mary's Bar and Grill.

Hanover Bank, which held a mortgage on the property, foreclosed on Tom and Mary's in December 1969. The status of the property is unclear from 1970 to 1981.


KG's Bavarian Hofbrau Haus

George B. Yuhas, Jr., and his wife, Karin, began to purchase parcels along Second Avenue in 1974 including the Tom and Mary's Bar and Grill site in 1981.

Karin Yuhas was from Berlin, Germany, and in March 1983 George and Karin Yuhas opened KG's Bavarian Hofbrau Haus, a German-food restaurant and bar.

A description of KG's appeared on November 22, 1985, in the Times Leader:

KG's
Times Leader. September 28, 1984

KG's Bavarian Hofbrau Haus is the only German restaurant in our area. It is hidden, protected and guarded by the endless mountains of this valley and enhanced by the beauty of Harvey's Lake. It is not easy to write about this mysterious place without being repetitious; since people have long raved about it, talked about it, written about it and has now the exclusive distinction of being featured on television's popular PM Magazine.
At this fabulous and famous place, you are a welcomed guest - just like at a friend's house - where you feel at home. The cozy atmosphere, the down to earth personality of the owners (George Bernard Yuhas, Jr., born and raised here and his "Darling" wife Karin from Berlin, Germany) the enchanting Bavarian Décor and the music - from classic Beethoven to their famous German Boom-ba Polkas (Karin is now selling exclusively beautiful custom-handmade "KG's Bavarian Boom-bas) to Magic Sounds. It all generates the wonderful feeling of being happy and alive.
The fine line of imported spirits, cool German beer and wines, their exquisite and excellent classic German-European cuisine is truly a refreshing and welcome change. It is and has something for everybody from a complete gourmet dinner to their unique snacks to their "quick Bavern-schmaus" (Farmer's Feast).
Karin does all the cooking, personally selecting daily fresh foods and George does all the baking and those terrific desserts. All this is enjoyed by KG's Bavarian Hofbrau Haus guests and those who always knew, but only share the secret (the good food) of this magic place with their dearest friends.
Dinners from beginning to end, no matter what dish you choose, the top quality will surprise you and the meal will delight you, reminding you that actual fresh homecooking and baking is still considered an art; where a simple, nourishing dish from veal, roast, steak, chicken, pork to fish, turns into "my favorite dish."
Come along, come in twos, come with ten or more, choose from their unique menu or from your own ahead for any occasion it becomes an occasion, fondly remembered and reminiscent.
The slogan of this fine establishment is not exaggerated: come spoil yourself to good food and taste - ala KG's..., at KG's..., by KG's..., with KG's..., - only KG's Bavarian Hofbrau Haus at Harvey's Lake.

KG's was open Thursday through Saturday at 5:00 PM and closed in early 1988.


Link's Tavern

Link's Tavern on the waterfront at Warden Place is among the few establishments which served the Lake community for over 50 years.

The tavern was opened in 1920 by Margaret (or Maggie) "Blackjack" Link. Margaret Lenahan had been married to Charles Link from Sugar Notch, but he had died at age 31 of pneumonia in October 1918, survived by Margaret and three children. Margaret's father, James Lenahan, was a former long-term councilman for Sugar Notch Borough.

Originally a summer bar, Link's was open year-round by 1924. During Prohibition, Link's served as a grocery store and restaurant. A son, Jack C. Link, would later serve as a co-operator of the bar. He enlisted in the U.S. Army during World War II and his service was noted in local newspapers:

Link's Tavern c. 1940's and Jack C. Link
Courtesy of Catherine Link

Mrs. Margaret C. Link, Warden Place, Harvey's Lake, has received word from her son, PFC Jack C. Link, stationed with the Coast Artillery, Fort Bliss, Texas, that he had just been raised to the rank of corporal. Prior to his entry into the Armed Forces, Corporal Link was employed as safety instructor with a large New York contracting firm, engaged in the building of governmental projects. He also assisted his mother in the conduct of their business known as Link's Tavern, located at Warden Place, Harvey's Lake.
Times Leader. January 21, 1943.
Mrs. Margaret Link, proprietor of Link's Tavern, Harvey's Lake, recently received a letter from her son, Corporal John Link, with the Armed Forces somewhere in North Africa. He is in the best of health and likes his assignment with the artillery. Clippings from the "Post News" which he enclosed in his letter to his mother shows that the American Doughboy, regardless of where he is stationed still loves to indulge in his favorite form of sports.
The portion of the clipping which refers to boxing during time off states "Battling Socko" Link started right at the bell in his set-to with E. E. Jaeger by looping home a vicious left to Jaeger's face, which floored him. The bout was stopped midway in the second round, with Link getting the "nod."
Other clippings from the same issue of his "Post News" also made reference to Jackie's ability to entertain the boys with the "spoons." This is made possible by holding two ordinary spoons, back-to-back between the fingers of one hand and keeping time with music. Quote from the bulletin: "Close on the heels of the winners was the "Boogie Woogie" team of Johnny Link and Clarence Cochrane. Link manipulated a pair of spoons to the piano clicks dished out by Cochrane. Each received gold medals."
Times Leader. August 11, 1943.
Sgt. Jack C. Link, son of Mrs. Margaret Link, Harvey's Lake, helped build one of the first fixed Bailey bridges across the Rhine in 10 ½ days. He is attached to the Seventh Army. Thirty per cent of the material they used was captured from the Germans. Sergeant Link, who attended Laketon High School and Our Lady of Victory Church at Harvey's Lake, entered service on September 28, 1942.
Times Leader. June 14, 1945.

After the War, Jack Link returned to the Lake to operate Link's Tavern with Margaret Link. At this time, the building was replaced by an enlarged Link's Bar and Grill. He would the rest of his life at the Lake.

Link's
Courtesy, Catherine Link

In the late 1940s - early 1950s, Link's had modern dock facilities with 54-foot berths and a boat ramp. In 1956 a water-ski school was operated from Link's dock but did not survive into 1957. By 1960 Link's had a remodeled bar and a marine service for boat and motor repair, fishing tackle, bait and boat rentals for fishermen. Three years later, Link's advertised a new lunch bar open year-round to attract ice-fishers and summer anglers. With the April opening of trout season, Link's held an early breakfast starting at 6 AM.

Margaret Link passed away in May 1967. Jack C. Link sold the tavern in 1978 which became a private residence. His wife, Cecilia C. Link, formerly a nurse with the Tunkhannock schools, passed away in 1979. John C. Link passed away in December 1983.


Sunset

On June 2, 1923, the Wilkes-Barre Times Leader predicted that the summer season would be the greatest in the history of Harvey's Lake. The newspaper noted the Lake was the leading summer resort in Northeastern Pennsylvania, with good roads, beautiful scenery and "splendid police protection ensuring the elimination of disagreeable happenings."

An early boarding house operator at Sunset was Mary Fairburn who as early as 1907 leased the Wilcox cottage along Carpenter Road for Fairburn's summer boarders. Except for 1910, when Fairburn leased a cottage near the Picnic Ground, Fairburn leased the Wilcox cottage for her popular lodge into the WWI period. In 1915 Mrs. William Watson, Wilkes-Barre, opened a neighboring boarding house close to Fairburn's. Mary Fairburn, 59, principally a Plymouth resident, died in September 1921, on the cusp of Sunset's extraordinary growth as a Lake resort destination.


Nanrek Inn

The long-forgotten Nanrek Inn was owned by Mary C. Kernan, from North Wilkes-Barre. She was the widow of John Kernan who died in 1916.

Kernan's Nanrek Inn was opened in 1922 and described in an Evening News account on August 26, 1922:

Nanrek Inn at Harvey's Lake is a most delightful place to spend the weekend. Mrs. Anna Kernan, the owner of the Inn, has left nothing undone for the comfort of the guests. Pleasant surroundings with a beautiful view from spacious porches make the place particularly attractive to vacationists. The Inn is centrally located, situated on the lake front just at the bridge and an attractive feature of the inn is the home cooking. Mrs. Kernan serves a special chicken dinner on Sunday of each week. Reservations may made by calling Bell phone 11-7.

The inn offered room for tourists in addition to restaurant service. Its last year was 1933, when it opened on June 13 with bar service in the now post-Prohibition era. Mary Kernan, 74, died in November 1946.


Inlet Boarding House

Another 1922 venture at the Lake was the Inlet Boarding House, owned by Mrs. A. D. (Minnie) Barrall Smith, spouse of A.D. Smith, who was the general manager of the Turner Brick Factory in Berwick. Their home was in Nanticoke.

The Inlet Boarding House was described in the Wilkes-Barre Record on July 15, 1922:

The Inlet Boarding House is one of the new places about the lake. Mrs. A. D. Smith is the proprietress and is making a specialty of home cooking, with meals at all hours. Rooms may be had by the day or week. This Sunday Mrs. Smith is featuring a fine chicken dinner. Inlet Boarding House is the fourth place in the rear of the bowling alleys and reservations may be made by calling Bell phone, Harvey's Lake 7-3.

The Inlet Boarding House seemingly survived into 1926. Minnie Smith died in early March 1931 from injuries after a February fall at the home of a sister.


Bon-Air Restaurant

Oneonta Pavilion and Bon-Air Restaurant (lower right)
FCP Collection

The Lake frontage opposite the Oneonta Hotel, and later the expansive Oneonta dance pavilion, was an attractive Sunset site for small business ventures. It was also next to the Lake Transit Company's steamboat landing.

The Bon-Air restaurant was originally a partnership of W. Rugh and G. Groh, formed about 1921, but dissolved in mid-1922, with Rugh as the sole owner.

The Bon-Air was described in the Wilkes-Barre Record on July 3, 1922:

The Bon Air restaurant at the steamboat landing, has been so thoroughly done over that it is practically new. The management is new and the place offers a pleasant environment for dinner at the lake, with special inducements of cleanliness, quality and a place of refinement. The place is attractive with new fixtures and the management is well known in this city because of their former connection with The Columbus [restaurant]. They offer street car tickets for sale there for the accommodation of persons at the lake.

In 1925 the Bon-Air was purchased by George Seretas. He would annually lease out management of the restaurant for the summer season.

By 1935 the restaurant was owned by J. F. Barry, Wilkes-Barre, when the Bon-Air was destroyed in a January 24, 1935 fire. The loss was reported in The Evening News the following day:

Fire of undetermined origin destroyed the Bon-Air Restaurant at Harvey's Lake, Sunday. The place was owned by J. F. Barry of 774 South Main Street, city, who estimated his loss at $9,000.
The blaze was discovered shortly before 1:30 am o'clock, the hour at which Chief of Police Ira C. Stevenson, who is also assistant fire chief of Harvey's Lake, received an alarm. He called out about 20 of the 60 members of the volunteer fire department, before telephone service failed.
The Bon-Air was located near the entrance of the lake, across the roadway from the telephone building. A pole bearing main lines of the telephone company was burned carrying about 300 feet of cable. Service was not restored until yesterday afternoon.
Chief Stevenson reported that the building had been so far consumed when firemen arrived that no attempt was made to pour water on the flames. The wind blew towards the lake and no other buildings were endangered. Few people braved the weather, 10 degrees below zero, to watch the blaze.

Gill's

Gill's was a small hotel and restaurant near the Bon-Air and Oneonta Pavilion dance hall. The Gill family also owned a Kingston Corners restaurant and pie shop.

Gill's opened in 1923 and was noted in a Times Leader article on June 14, 1924:

Long experience in catering to the needs of a hungry public has made Gill's Restaurant one of the much patronized establishments at the lake. This restaurant had its initial opening last season and leaped into instant favor with the visitors. The location being just a few steps from the Oneonta pavilion is one of the good features. Refreshments of all kinds are served as well as those tasty home cooked meals that never fail to send the diner away satisfied with himself and firm in his resolve to call again.

There are virtually no ads for Gill's after 1924, and Gill's was lost in the June 1928 fire which destroyed the neighboring Oneonta Pavilion dance hall.


Belmont Restaurant

Mildred Dunn's Belmont Restaurant opened on August 21, 1922, and was adjacent to the Oneonta Pavilion dance hall. It was formerly the American Restaurant. In early February 1923 fourteen inches of snow fell at the Lake and roofs collapsed, including at the Belmont, which was a total wreck. Despite the loss, Dunn rebuilt the restaurant. The Times Leader noted the new Belmont on July 21, 1923:

Mrs. Mildred Dunn, who conducts the Belmont restaurant, has been making extensive improvements to the restaurant building. It has been completely renovated and newly painted, making it one of the most attractive establishments to be found at the lake.
In additional to the regular lunch and restaurant business Mrs. Dunn conducts a store and cottagers may obtain high grade provisions for their needs. The Belmont is a most desirable place to have your lunches and all kinds of refreshments are served.

Five years later, a monster fire in late June 1928 destroyed the Oneonta Pavilion along with the Belmont Restaurant and other structures.


Petitte's Inn

Petitte's Inn is an example of many small establishments which failed to survive the risks of a seasonable business venture at the Lake.

It was described in the Times Leader on June 2, 1923:

One of the most homelike places at Harvey's Lake is Petitte's Inn, situated on the main road just before you come to the Lake and close to all the amusements.
The Inn is pleasing in every way. Clean, cool, comfortable, and airy. Home cooked meals amidst pleasant surroundings make the place a most delightful spot to spend the week or long vacation.
Mrs. F. O. Petitte gives personal attention to all the cooking and general supervision of the Inn. A special chicken and waffle dinner is served every Sunday at a nominal price. Mrs. Petitte also serves an old-fashioned dish of strawberry short cake and real cream for 25 cents. The Inn is open all year round.

Gosart's

"And the camp's most out of food, Go to Gosart's.

If the auto needs repairing, or if you are in a shopping mood, Go to Gosart's.

If they don't have the thing you need, they send out for it with speed, make it snappy, that's their creed, Go to Gosart's"

Gosart's
FCP Collection

This anonymous poem was slipped under the door of Gosart's Sunset store one June day in 1923.

The Gosart general store was the lynchpin of the Sunset summer colony in the early decades of the twentieth century. Jacob C. Gosart, Jr. (1900-1948) was born at Harvey's Lake, a descendent of a pioneer family at the Lake. His obituary in the Times Leader on December 8, 1948, recites the family history:

Jacob C. Gosart, Jr., of Harvey's Lake, State fire marshal for the Department of Forests and Waters and a member of the pioneer family of the Harvey's Lake section, died this morning at 8 in General Hospital, where he had been a patient since Friday.
The son of Mary E. Pendleton Gosart and the late Jacob Gosart, Sr., he spent his entire life as a resident of that section. Until 10 years ago, when his father died, he was associated with him in the operation of a general store at the Lake. His grandfather, the late A. R. Pendleton, founded the business prior to the Civil War and operated it until the time of his death, when Jacob Gosart, Sr, took over. At the death of his father, Mr. Gosart, Jr., retired from the business.
Mr. Gosart's grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. A. R. Pendleton, were pioneer land owners in the Lake section and were holders of original land grants in Orange, Dallas Township and Franklin Township. His grandfather twice removed, was one of the 40 settlers of Wyoming Valley who held the fort located at what is now known at Forty Fort, during the Wyoming Massacre.

In the 1920s Gosart's not only was Sunset's principal grocery store and "green grocer," it also was a gas-station, an auto accessories store, a popular stop for ice cream and soft drinks, and for a time, the local post-office. Gosart was also a realtor for lots, cottages and farms.

Gosart also owned and operated the Dodge Inn next to the Gosart store. On March 4, 1925, a fire destroyed the inn as reported in the Wilkes-Barre Record on March 5, 1925:

The fire of an unknown origin which visited Harvey's Lake early yesterday morning destroyed a cottage owned by Clifford Edwards, of Courtdale, and the Dodge Inn, a three-story building, owned by J. C. Gosart, and not Gosart's store as had been reported. The Edwards cottage was valued at about $5,000, while J. C. Gosart has estimated his loss at about $25,000. Mr. Gosart was protected by fire insurance only to the extent of $1,000.
The fire started in the Dodge Inn which building is leased by Postmaster and Mrs. J. C. Gosart to Miss M. E. Gray. Miss Gray was asleep on the third floor when the fire was discovered by Phillip Shorre, a boarder, who occupied a room on the second floor. Shorre made his way out of the burning building and secured a ladder and placed it at Miss Gray's window. Miss Gray evidently had been overcome by the smoke and Shorre climbed the ladder and carried the woman to safety.
Postmaster Gosart quickly aroused the nearby residents and with the assistance of Chief of Police Ruth a volunteer bucket brigade was formed. In the meantime, a call was sent to Kingston Borough for assistance and Burgess C. Murray Turpin dispatched the Kingston fire department, in charge of Chief Shallenberger, to the scene of the blaze. The West Side fire- fighting apparatus made a rapid run to the lake but it arrived too late to hope to save the Dodge Inn or the adjoining cottage. The fire department, however, performed efficient service in preventing the spread of the flames.
Captain Ruth last night discounted reports that the fire was of incendiary origin. He expressed the believe that inasmuch as the fire had started in the middle of the Dodge Inn, it might have been caused by a spark from one of the several open fire places with which the Inn was equipped.
Dodge Inn was formerly used as a grocery store and post-office by Mr. Gosart but when he erected a building closer to the lake-side he leased the building to Miss Gray.

Alderson to West Corner

With a railroad from Wilkes-Barre to the Lake by 1887, followed by the Picnic Ground in 1891, the Alderson village became a magnet for small enterprises for residents and visitors.

In 1900 Alderson had a wide mix of commercial operations in addition to a railroad depot, post office, Methodist Church, and a one-room school along the Lake shore. J. A. Allen had a grain mill; L. B. Avery operated a general store and pharmacy; the Harvey's Lake Supply Store met farmers' needs; A. W. Honeywell had a grocery store; and W. H. Perrego had a confectionary store.

Mrs. Lucinda Frank, who would pass away mid-1902, had a well-established Alderson boarding house under her "quiet, firm, discreet management." The boarding house was associated with the Albert Lewis Lumber Company at Alderson. Her husband, Lewis Frank, held a management position with the company and Lucinda Frank operated the boarding house for about eight years. it was said that "no person, with or without money, ever asked for a meal or a night's lodging in vain at her house."

Nearer the Picnic Ground, in a structure still standing, Squire Ralph A. Davis owned the Davis Boarding House which was noted in news articles from 1911 to 1949. In its early years, it was leased to Alice Schultz and touted in a Times Leader article on July 26, 1924:

Davis Boarding House
FCP Collection

The Davis Boarding House is proving to be very popular at the lake, located just north of the picnic ground. Good accommodations may be had here, rooms that are clean and well kept, appetizing meals and good water, from an artesian well on the premises. A most enjoyable vacation or week-end may be spent at the Davis Boarding House under ideal conditions. Mrs. Alice Schultz gives her personal attention to the supervision of the service at the house and you may be assured that home-like conditions and pleasant surroundings will be ever present during your stay.

Kocher Boarding House, 1903
FCP Collection

Along Noxen Road near the Picnic Ground, Sylvester and Evaline Kocher, operated the Kocher Boarding House. The Kochers were descended from pioneer settlers in the Sorber Mountain region near Ruggles. Sylvester Kocher (1846-1927) was born on July 4, 1846, in Lake Township and served nine years as a Lake Township school director. Evaline Poole Kocher, 75, died in June 1942. They were grandparents to Benjamin S. Rood, owner of Rood's camping ground at the Lake.

At West Corner, the Sandy Beach area, there were two early boarding houses. Patrick J. Parks, Plains, built a 22-room hotel in 1899. Each year through 1915, Parks was denied a liquor license for his hotel due to local opposition, largely because it was claimed there were already sufficient licenses elsewhere at the Lake. The Parks boarding house was destroyed in a January 1917 fire. Parks died in 1920.

Sylvester and Evaline Kocher, 1903
FCP Collection

Herman Krumbiegel (1843-1906) was born in Germany and acquired his property at the West Corner in 1880. The site is not clearly described but Queen of Peace Road was once known as Krumbiegel's Hill. After Herman Krumbiegel died, his wife, Johanna, managed the 14-room hotel. A 1912 article noted Krumbiegel's inn was drawing guests from New York and Philadelphia.

Johanna Krumbiegel, 76, died in January 1922, and the hotel passed to her daughter, Laura, with her son-in-law John Brislin, who continued to operate it. John Brislin, 49, died in September 1930. The closure date for the hotel is not known. Laura K. Brislin died in early June 1956.

The Washington Inn, opened by the Rood family in 1935, became the West Corner's principal inn, although small, in later years. It is covered elsewhere under the Rood Enterprises article on this website.

 

Copyright June 2021 F. Charles Petrillo

 

Copyright 2006-2021 F. Charles Petrillo