Benjamin Harvey: Frontier Years and Discovery

Wyoming Conflict Although the first colonial settlement in the Wyoming Valley occurred in 1762, Harvey’s Lake was unknown to the settlers until 1781, when it was discovered by accident. In 1662 King Charles II gave a charter to the Connecticut Colony to certain lands in North America that included the Wyoming Valley. At the same […]

The Early Years: 1792-1886

Once Pennsylvania’s claim to the contested lands was settled by the Trenton Decree, state “warrants” were sold in a system of land grants. When a warranted owner surveyed his property, the state granted a patented title to the owner. The earliest warrants on lands touching the Lake, then in Plymouth Township, were issued on August […]

Early Hotels

Rhoads Hotel The earliest public house at the Lake was the Rhoads Hotel. Building of the hotel began in 1854 for owners Henry Hancock, Jonathan Husted and Almon Goss on land leased from Henry Worthington. Since 1806 the Worthington family owned a large tract of land at the Inlet area that was originally patented to […]

The Golden Years: 1887-1919

The thirty-three seasons from 1887 to 1919 were the Golden Years at Harvey’s Lake. They began when the resort potential of the Lake was unlocked by the building of a railroad from Wyoming Valley to the North Corner of the Lake. Summer guests were no longer deterred by poor roads and long stage rides, and […]

Hotel Oneonta

The Harvey’s Lake Hotel and Land Company was incorporated on April 20, 1897. The President of the company was Christian Stegmaier; other major stockholders were Peter Forve, John Graham, P. R. Raife, John B. Reynolds, Pierce Butler, Edward Gunster and A. A. Holbrook. The company purchased three parcels of land, including the site of the […]


The village of Alderson was originally known as the North Corner. Although Hollenback and Urquhart had a company house at the North Corner in the mid-nineteenth century, the area did not spring into prominence until the timber reserves in the region were exploited in the late 1880’s by Albert Lewis, the “Lumber King” of Wyoming […]

Sunset: Rise and Destruction

1800-1929 The Sunset area was originally called Inlet because of a small winding stream entering the Lake at this point. Inlet, however, is a misnomer since the Lake is principally fed by springs welling from the bottom of the Lake. The original Inlet area was a large shallow basin. Bennet’s Path reached the area before […]

Hanson’s Amusement Park

A. The Lehigh Valley Picnic Grounds In earlier years railroads and trolley companies stimulated passenger traffic by constructing parks at scenic areas along the rail lines. In the Wyoming Valley the Central Railroad of New Jersey opened Mountain Park near Wilkes-Barre in 1870; the Lehigh Valley Railroad opened Luzerne Grove in the Nanticoke area in […]

Sandy Beach and the West Corner

West Corner Around much of the Lake the mountains fall precipitously into the water. The less mountainous area surrounding the West Corner, however, attracted settlers to farm the sections. The milling operations at Outlet Mills in the early 1840s also provided employment to the Lake farmers in slack seasons. Settlers purchased farming lands, often in […]

The Harvey’s Lake Steamboat Era

The Early Years 1860-1890 The Harvey’s Lake Steamboat Era represents a romantic time that spanned the growth and decline of the Lake as a major summer resort. Although the earliest steamboat at the Lake was launched a year before the Civil War, the true steamboat era at Harvey’s Lake reigned from the early 1890’s to […]

Between the Wars: 1920-1940

The end of the Great War signaled a revival of the Lake as a summer resort. But a new time had emerged from the War. In the early 1920’s every American family was buying a radio, a new invention perfected during the War. The radio would bind farm and city with a shared vision of […]

Warden Place

Warden Place or Worden Place or Wardan Place is a cove not far from Sunset near Willow Point patented to George M. Hollenback in January 1840. Apparently, Joseph (Josey) Wardan (Wardan with two “a’s”) acquired an interest in a forty-four acre farming parcel fronting the Lake perhaps as early as 1855. When Joseph Wardan (1816-1862) […]

A New Lake Era: 1941-1981

The Lake as a Summer resort would have a resurgence as the decade turned in 1940 – but change too would follow. Within 40 years the Lake as a Summer cottage and amusement center would falter and largely close. These were the last generations with memories of the Lake as a public summer playground. In […]

Afterword: A New Community

Public v. Private In the final quarter of the twentieth century the Lake was transformed from a Summer cottage – recreational area into a largely private residential community. Tropical storm Agnes in June 1972 raged through eastern Pennsylvania and was the United States’ largest natural disaster in its history at the time. In the Wyoming […]