Harveys Lake History

Lake Stores and Public Services

Harveys Lake Store and Supply
FCP Collection

This article will review a few of the Lake stores and public services which once served the Lake's residents and visitors.

A. Harvey's Lake Store and Supply

Albert Lewis, the Lumber King of Wyoming Valley, built a railroad from Wyoming Valley to the Lake in 1887. He sold the railroad to the Lehigh Valley Railroad, but established at the Alderson section of the Lake a quasi-company town where he built a large sawmill. He also had sawmills at Dallas and Stull, near Noxen.

At Alderson, Stull, and even earlier at Bear Creek, where Lewis head-quartered his ice-harvesting operations, he also built a church, school and company store, to support his employees. At the Lake and at Stull, the stores were titled the Harvey's Lake Supply and Store.

Among the other early features of Alderson by 1892 were the Otis Allen feed and flour mill, Lewis' ice houses, A.V. Honeywell's general store, a one-room school along the lake shore (later a larger Alderson school was built), Lucinda Frank's boarding house, a post office and a train station.

The village also had a P. O. S. of A. Hall. The Patriotic Order Sons of America was a fraternal lodge for young men established in Philadelphia in 1847. It once had camps in 40 states and was most prolific in Pennsylvania, especially in rural areas. Today, it only survives in Pennsylvania with 14 camps.

Camp 464, P.O.S. of A at Alderson, was constructed in 1891 by Fred Shultz, Ruggles. It was taken down in June 1908 and rebuilt and its rear lengthened by 12 feet. By early 1921 the Alderson camp was inactive and it became Camp 464 of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows until 1933 when the dwindling membership was absorbed into the I.O.O.F. Osage Lodge No. 712 in Lehman. The Osage building is still standing.

The Harvey's Lake Supply and Store was a general store for Lewis' workers, but not with the rigors of "company stores" in the mining region. The store was also a principal community center, as was the railroad depot, for neighborly gatherings and "chit-chat." The store was situated along Kunkle Road near the railroad station.

Arthur L. Stull
FCP Collection

Lewis' lumbering operations in the Lake region were a partnership with his brother-in-law, Adam Stull, and later with Arthur Lewis Stull, son of Adam Stull. Members of the Stull family generally managed the company store.

By 1912 Lewis largely sold his Lake interests to Arthur L. Stull in order to concentrate on his massive Bear Creek holdings.

Albert A. Stull, a brother of Arthur L. Stull, was the last manager of the Lake store. He closed the store after Saturday business on April 29, 1939.

In June 1939 the Manhattan Stock Company opened a season of professionally-produced summer plays at the former store under the catch-phrase, "The Summer Playhouse Beautiful." But it only lasted the one season. An article on the playhouse can be found elsewhere on this website.

The site was eventually converted to residential purposes.

B. The J.C. Jackson Cottages

Rev. J. C. Jackson
FCP Collection

The Rev. Jabez Carver Jackson (1839-1919), known as "Bible" Jackson, was born in Carverton, but resided at Harvey's Lake most of his adult life. A Methodist minister, he generally walked to churches in the Lake region to preach the Bible. He was closely associated with the Carverton United Methodist Church.

In the mid to late 1890s, J.C. Jackson operated a boarding house he leased at Barnum Place, near the Picnic Ground. In 1901 he relocated to the Bitter Sweet Cottage. His wife, Samantha, aided in managing the summer business. In 1902 the Jacksons began to expand the operation and by 1908 they had several furnished cottages for summer lease.

A veteran of the Civil War, serving with Company F, 53rd Pennsylvania Infantry, J.C. Jackson was devoted to his personal fitness. In the summer of 1916, at age 78, J.C. Jackson pledged to walk 1,400 miles from the Lake to Oklahoma City, OK, to visit a daughter. To prepare for the trip he walked 25 miles daily for some time.

J. C. Jackson, Laketon, PA
FCP Collection

In early September 1916 Jackson began his trip. He planned to walk 20 miles daily for 3 months, giving gospel talks at his stops and writing newspaper articles describing his journey. He also hoped to continue his walk until he reached lower California and the Pacific Ocean.

By June 1917, Jackson had reached Oklahoma City. He had preached at more than 200 school houses and at noon-hour prayer meetings in work-shops and prisons. He sold souvenir cards and buttons along the way to pay expenses. Due to wet, uncomfortable weather, Jackson decided not to attempt the walk to California. He traveled home by train, arriving in Wilkes-Barre on Saturday, June 23, 1917.

Rev. Jackson died at age 81 on November 10, 1919, and is buried in Carverton Cemetery.

C. The Munshower Photo Studio

Munshower Gallery, 1935
FCP Collection

When Edmund F. Munshower (1858-1942) died on November 10, 1942, at the home of a niece in Jamaica, New York, a thirty-year tradition at the Harvey's Lake amusement park ended.

Photographic studios for summer visitors at the Lake were an early feature. James Beacham, Plymouth, had a summer studio at Sunset as early as 1897. William F. Clark, a Wilkes-Barre photographer with a Public Square studio, had a cottage near the Picnic Ground in the earliest years of the 1900s. He also had a photographic studio at the park where he made "tin-type" photos of park visitors. Clark sold his Lake gallery after the 1909 season to Thomas Kelly and A.D. Templeton. Occasionally, a Clark photograph of a Lake visitor appears for sale on eBay.

Originally from Montgomery County, PA, Munshower opened a studio at the Picnic Ground around 1912. He operated from a studio which mimicked a small castle. His specialty was individual or family photographs printed as postcards for summer guests to mail to family and friends. Often, one of the patrons would have a foot resting on a small box which had the lettering "Harvey's Lake." (W.F. Clark had similar posing on his photographs but the lettering on the box read "W.F. Clark.").

Munshower Photo Postcard.
Delmar Wintersteed behind goat.
FCP Collection

Munshower also used a goat tethered to a small cart in which children would sit for a photo.

Munshower's postcard-portraits are also listed for sale on eBay, but the identities of the people are rarely noted on the cards.

Limited evidence suggests Munshower closed his photo gallery by 1940, but he continued to work at the Lake park operating the shooting gallery.

Many boxes of Munshower's glass plate negatives of generations of park visitors which Munshower photographed were dumped at the park. Alford H. Jackson (1921-2010), as a young grandson of Rev. J.C. Jackson, retrieved a good number of the boxes. The negatives do not identify the individuals, couples, or families on the plates which are now in a private collection of Lake artifacts.

E. Dr. Lorenzo Byron Avery

Let me sleep, sweetly sleep, by the Calm Silver Lake; where I made me a Home, there my rest let me take.
Where the woods are so green, and the waves are so deep; where I lived, there I loved, Dearest Friends, let me sleep.
Lorenzo B. Avery


On February 20, 1926, two days after the death of L.B. Avery, as he was generally known, the Dallas Post published a full front- page article about the loss of the Lake's beloved doctor:

Dr. L. B. Avery
FCP Collection

Dr. Lorenzo Byron Avery was born in Tunkhannock on May 11th, 1857 - the son of Mr. and Mrs. Ledge Avery, a mechanic and wagon maker. When but a mere youth his family moved to Centermoreland which there became the center for his father's business.
Dr. Avery was reared during his boyhood days with one sister and two brothers. Other youthful associates during his school days at Centermoreland who still live are Hon. F.F. Morris, of Dallas and Dr. Carey now of Elmira, N.Y.
His early education was received in the rural schools where as a mere youth he commenced writing for publications. Dr. Avery attended a medical college and became a graduate doctor.
Dr. Avery from early life was a great lover of nature, flowers, birds, music, etc. He was a great research student and unexcelled scholar. [In 1880 he was a reporter for the New York Herald.] Dr. Avery returned to Centermoreland where he conducted a drug store business. In 1886 he married Miss Louise Turner of Vernon, and for thirteen years following Dr. Avery's family continued in the drug store business at Centermoreland, Avoca and for a short time at Noxen.
In 1898, just twenty-eight years ago, Dr. Avery and Mrs. Avery, with daughter Iris, age 7, and Marion, age 2, settled at Alderson where since they have resided.
Dr. Avery, assisted by Amos Kitchen, built the three-story dwelling which has since been the Avery residence and place of business. Dr. Avery entered the Alderson territory in the days when the sawmill activities first opened up. That was his real incentive in moving, buying and building there.

L. B. Avery Store, 1926
FCP Collection

For years he conducted a thriving drug store business and general store and was the active man of the community. At an early date he commenced corresponding for this paper and we deeply regret not being as yet possessed with the ability of Dr. Avery whom we have been students ever since taking over this publication fifteen months ago. In Dr. Avery we have noticed how his writings excelled as he was a most beautiful poem and obituary writer. As a news correspondent he is rated as second-to-none among all reporters for any communication in the State of Pennsylvania.
Dr. Avery, although a talented medical man, did not practice extensively as a doctor, his spirit and heart seemed to be wrapped up in love of home, fellow citizens, community betterment, deep research study and nature. Consequently, he lived his happy life --his home by the lake side - conducting a drug store and general business which provided for him and his family and gave to Dr. Avery the time to indulge into those things in life which seemed to call to him, more than the calling of capitalizing the ability which he had and which it is known by many would have made him a man of extreme wealth.
Dr. Avery always took the stand of being active in civic affairs for the betterment of the community - he delights in aiding the needy and is accredited as being as legally versed as many lawyers at the bar for during his life at Alderson he aided and transacted all work necessary to secure widow and veteran pensions for people of the community.
Dr. Avery was an outstanding example of being the man who would rather sit in the house by the side of the road and be a friend to a man.
Dr. Avery's hours at study made him so learned a man that no one could approach him on a subject that he could not intelligently converse on.
Dr. Avery as a lover of nature can be no more clearly explained than to mention of his requests right before death took him away. From a parchment left with his family we have the following points he requested: [that perhaps atop his grave a Lawson Cypress tree would be planted or] a crab apple tree, if permitted, for I love the beautiful sweets and the flowers. Perhaps the roots of these trees might go deeply enough in time to draw nutriment from me as is said to have been the case with Roger Williams. [ Williams was an early New England Puritan who founded Rhode Island and advocated separation of church and state.]
Plant flowers on my grave, mostly beds of sweet violets for they are one of my fancies. A mock orange bush would yet be pleasing, because it would attract the butterflies and hummingbirds.
Dr. Avery was known by everybody in "The Back of the Mountain Territory" and everybody who was heard the sad news, like ourselves, cannot imagine him as dead. May the memory of the fine qualities of so noble a man remain indefinitely. To Mrs. Avery and family, we extend our heartfelt bereavement.

Dr. L.B. Avery is buried at the Alderson Cemetery.

F. Deater's Market

Dave and Emily Deater
Courtesy Daniel Kerr: Great, Great Grandson

Located a few doors down from the Alderson church was Deater's Market, which was a general store, meat market and gas station which served the Lake from 1937 to 1957.

David T. Deater (1889-1957) was born in Bear Creek, but the family relocated early to Noxen. Here, Alvin Deater, a member of the family, established a meat market in the 1920s which operated for many years.

Dave Deater and his wife, Emily, moved to the Lake in December 1920. He worked for the Harvey's Lake Store and Supply at Alderson and for I.A. Rood's general store at West Corner.

Dave Deater, left; Pete Hoover, right,
at Deater's Store c. 1940s
FCP Collection

In June 1931 Deater helped found the Harvey's Lake Quoit Club which excelled in competition during the 1930s in the Back Mountain's Rural Quoit League.

In 1937 Dave Deater opened his own store at Alderson.

In these early years, there was residential and seasonal demand for general and grocery stores. In addition to the Supply Store, Javer, and Deater stores, Herman R. Garinger operated a general store along the Kunkle Road for 40 years from 1915 to 1955.

Dave Deater was known for his community spirit, deep faith as a member of the Reformation Lutheran Church at the Lake, and service as a tax collector for Lake Township.

G. Taft's Market

For 37 years, from 1966 to 2003, Taft's Market across from Sandy Bottom Beach was the West Corner's dependable country store.

Rood-Truska Store c. 1920s
FCP Collection

The store's owners, Taft A. Truska, Jr. (1929-2018) and Margaret "Peg" Preston Truska (1932-2018), acquired the store in 1968 from William Purcell who had purchased it in 1965 from the I. A. Rood estate. I.A. Rood (1878-1965) was from a pioneer family in Huntington Township. In 1901 I.A. Rood purchased the Al Goode store at West Corner. Rood was also the Laketon postmaster from 1918 to 1937. His sons, Vernon and Ben, created the Rood Campground opposite Sandy Beach. When I.A. Rood's wife, Lena Kocher Rood, died in 1945, I.A. Rood continued the store with family support for another two decades.

Taft A. Truska, Jr

The Truska family had a long history of service at the Lake. The father, Taft V. Truska, Sr., and his wife, Margaret R. Truska, operated the Sportsmen Bar and Grill, Noxen Road, across from Hanson's Amusement Park. In the 1930s, the Sportsmen was known as the Slim Inn for its owner Frank (Slim) Turoski. In 1942 the Truskas acquired the bar and it became Margaret's Inn and in early 1949 Truska's Bar and Grill. It became the Sportsmen's Bar and Grill when Albert and Margaret E. Truska Gulitus assumed ownership in early 1957. Margaret Truska Gulitus was a daughter of Taft and Margaret R. Truska. They operated it for 25 years.

A Times Leader series "People Like Me" focused on the impending closure of Taft's Market in the summer of 2003:

HARVEYS LAKE - Peggy Truska isn't tired of her customers. She's not tired of the conversations, the playful jabs at --- and from - people she has known for years. She's not tired of the new patrons who have become more and more common at Taft's Market as Harvey's Lake has changed.
No, she's not tired of any of that. She's just plain tired.
"We've been at this 37 years," the 71-year-old said. "When we opened up, we rented the building (which has been a retail store for more than 100 years) for $25 per month."
Peggy's last real vacation came in 1986, when a fire severely damaged the downstairs area of their building and forced a short shutdown. Upstairs is a two-bedroom apartment where Peggy lives with her husband Taft, 74.
"We closed for a day and went to Atlantic City on my birthday (Sept. 16)," Peggy said. Other than that, with no employees we can really never take a vacation or a break."

Peggy R. Truska

For years, Taft's sister, Josephine Evans, worked with them at the store, which sits directly across from [Sandy Bottom], about 3 1/2 miles from Grotto Pizza. That was some relief; now the two of them split the work day - 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. - seven days a week. As Peggy spoke Wednesday afternoon, customers drifted in and out: teens buying candy and moms buying beef the Truskas grind themselves (they also make their own sausage and kielbasa) and the buns, cheese and condiments for a lakeside summer picnic.
When a regular comes in, Peggy knows what they smoke and how many packs they need. When a mother comes in with an infant, she coos and chuckles. When Taft comes downstairs to take over for her, she makes no move to leave, and they kid each other sweetly.
Peggy, originally from the Philadelphia area, is a member of the Alderson United Methodist Church and jokes that she got Taft, born in Luzerne, thrown out of the Catholic Church by marrying him. They have one son, Taft III, who has absolutely no interest in running the store. They have three grandchildren, Taft IV, Matthew and Kiki.
They have two acres of land where they're ready to put a modular home once they sell the store and apartment. Peggy has recipes she's never used, books she's never had time to read and places she's never been. She's ready.
"We used to make all kinds of things here, potato salad and baked beans and just all kinds of stuff, but it got to be too much," Peggy said.
"We'd have fresh fruit and vegetables, whatever was seasonal," Taft chimed in. "Heck, we'd throw 300 ears of corn in the store and sell them in a day, at four cents apiece."
The Truskas still have an impressive array of products, as they should. The nearest supermarket is nine miles away.
Fresh tomatoes, frozen haddock and drill bits compete with hair mousse, steaks and Hamburger Helper for shelf space. Muffler clamps and pinochle cards are available, as well as paint brushes and paprika.
"I love talking to the people, but I'm ready to relax," Peggy said. "If we need to talk to people, we'll go to someone else's store and bother the people there," Taft added.

Taft and Peggy Truska died less than three months apart in the spring of 2018. The historic Rood-Taft store at the West Corner had been razed.

H. Javer's Store

Tony Javer
Courtesy, Shirley Javer

Anthony M. Javer originally opened a general store at Alderson in 1931. In 1938 he purchased lakefront property at Pole 117 near the L. B. Avery store and built his once familiar landmark Javer store. At one time the Herman Garinger home and post office was between the Javer and Avery stores. Born in Plains, Javer attended Plains Township schools and he was a WWI veteran. Javer's was a general store and "Tony" Javer also harvested Lake ice for store use and retail sale. He later served as superintendent of Ricketts Glen State Park and passed away at age 94 in mid-July 1994.

In 1972, a son William "Bill" A. Javer and his spouse, Shirley Gregory Javer, assumed operation of the store until its final day on Sunday, June 28, 2015.

An article in the Citizens Voice on Saturday, June 27, 2015, noted the significance of the store:

Javer's Store, 2015
FCP Collection

HARVEYS LAKE - Javer's Store, the last general store at Harvey's Lake, will close on Sunday.
Husband and wife owners Bill Javer, 73, and Shirley Javer, 69, are retiring after operating the landmark store on Lakeside Drive for 43 years. They took over the store in June 1972 from Bill's father Tony Javer, who started the business in 1937.
"We're retiring so we could spend more time with our two grandchildren," said Shirley Javer, who sat on the porch outside the small store with her husband on Friday. "I just think it's time. We were open seven days a week, for lots of hours."
For more than four decades, the Javers have sold groceries and Harvey's Lake souvenirs. They recently sold most of their merchandise at a retirement sale.
Bill Javer was born in the building and he and his wife lived upstairs. They formerly worked at the store every day from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and at one time, they only closed three days a year: Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day.
"I'll miss a lot of my friends. I'll miss a lot of the customers," Shirley Javer said. "Over the years, we've had children come in and now they're bringing their children in here."
Their two sons, Tony and Greg, grew up in playpens in the store, Shirley Javer said. Tony now works for Verizon Wireless and Greg is a customer service supervisor in Scranton.

Bill Javer, June 28, 2015
FCP Collection

Bob Deremer, a real estate agent with Deremer Realty, said the store has been sold but he could not say who bought it until after the closing.
Deremer, a Sweet Valley resident who formally lived at Harvey's Lake, recalled at one time, there were other small stores at Harvey's Lake such as the former DiVeronica's Store and Tafts Market near Sandy Beach before the Javers operated the last general store. Kocher's, another store, also was formerly located in Harvey's Lake Borough. Deremer formerly bought groceries and bait at Javer's Store.

Shirley Javer, left; Michell'e Buice, right.
June 28, 2015
FCP Collection

"Everybody is going to miss them," Deremer said. "They knew everybody. Everybody liked them. They're nice people."
Michelle Boice, 61, a life resident of Harvey's Lake and a council member, said Javer's Store didn't change much over the years. She bought little boats Bill Javer made out of wood. The Javers also sold old photographs of Harvey's Lake postcards and T-shirts.
Boice recalled when there were other stores in Harvey's Lake and it was once a resort area with attractions like Sandy Beach and Hanson's Amusement Park.
"There were several of these little stores and this was the last one," Boice said. "It's a little sad to me. There was that connection with the past and slowly, all of those things are gone."

Bill Javer passed away in January 2018. The Voice noted on January 21, 2018:

William A. Javer, 76, of West Pittston, formerly of Harvey's Lake, passed away Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018.
Born in Harvey's Lake, he was the son of the late Tony and Helen Brin Javer. He was a graduate of Lake-Noxen School in 1959 and later attended Williamsport Technical Institute where he received a degree as a machinist and tool and die maker. He worked at machine - shops in the Wyoming Valley, including Knarr Brothers, Bruce Tool and Die as well as Proctor and Gamble in Mehoopany.
He was an Army veteran of Vietnam, specializing as a helicopter mechanic. In 1972, Bill took over his family business, Javer's Store, and operated it until his retirement in 2015.
Bill was well known as the kind of guy who would help anyone in need and give back to the community. He always enjoyed sitting in front of the store, waving and watching the passers-by as they blew their horns and waved. Bill also enjoyed making crafts and furniture. Generations of customers would come to the store for their yearly Harvey's Lake souvenirs and of course, their candy and ice cream. Many friends and neighbors could be seen sitting with Bill telling stores of the "good old days."

The Javer store site was sold after its closing and the building razed.


Copyright July 2021 F. Charles Petrillo


Copyright 2006-2021 F. Charles Petrillo