Pinecrest Lake Resort and Golf Club

BACKGROUND & START OF LUTHERLAND
1778-9 Indians massacre whites in Wyoming Valley; General Sullivan leads expedition to punish Indians-- access road made through Pocono Pines

1856 Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad completes line through Pocono Summit between Hoboken, NJ and Scanton

1882 Thomas T. Miller purchases first tract in Tobyhanna Township.

1888 Frank C. Miller, son, acquires property, builds Naomi Pines House; guests arrive to enjoy mountain air and scenery

1893 Wilkes-Barre & Eastern RR completed passing through Pocono Pines from Wilkes-Barre to Stroudsburg connecting to New York, Susquehanna & Western RR

1895 Dam is constructed across Tunkhanna Creek forming Lake Naomi.

1896 Ice collecting operation begins

1902 Pocono Pines Assembly & Summer School organized patterned after Chautauqua programs; Pocono Pines Inn erected

1904-6 Pocono Pines Lodge (later to become Lutherland Inn) erected as well as an auditorium in woods and Blakeslee Hall and cabins

1910 Due to financial difficulties Chautauqua program is abandoned and hotel operation continues; 1911 Pocono Pines Improvement Assn is formed among cottagers

1916 Pocono Pines Casino is built for plays, concerts, dances and lectures. These activities continue through 1920; also a small 9 hole golf course is built on Assembly property

1921 Assembly leases buildings to federal government for training of veterans of WWI. 1924 fire destroys Pocono Pines Inn and government cancelled agreement

1923 Lutheran Conference and Camp Association is formed in New York City area; search begins for a suitable summer colony; after visits to many areas, Lutherans agree on Assembly property

May 1926 Purchase of 3 contiguous tracts (about 1500 acres) including Assembly property to be called Lutherland--Promotion begins among congregations in metropolitan New York. Inspection visit over Memorial Day by almost 2,000

July 1926 Dedication of Lutherland. Henry A Dahlen, chairman of campaign committee becomes president of Lutherland. His companies awarded contracts to construct new hotels and dining area. Sale of bonds and memberships, plotting of property and road construction goes on through 1929; 30 cottages built by 1932

1927 East Wing (Forest Lodge) and cafeteria completed; District Walther League Convention held; 1928 Pocohanne Lodge completed as well as boys and girls camps and Lake Tamaque

1929 Full operation; another bond sale: 1930 expansion and upgrading of eating facilities; completion of senior camp (Beaverbrook); expansion of boys and girls camps.

DATES DURING LUTHERLAND OPERATION
1930-1941 Walter A Maier years--response to religious appeal. Years of greatest Lutheran spirit--although, in only one year did they make money

1931 International Walther League Convention held at Lutherland in June

1935 Financial problems; RFC loan; reorganized as Lutherland Inc.; issuance of stock

1936 Improvements at Pocohanne (indoor swimming pool, expanded lobby, upgrading room accomodations); other touches on the grounds

1942 RFC loan payments in arrears; Dahlen forced out; Harold Walker becomes general manager; receivership with a trustee

1943 Robert Ergang becomes general manager

1946-50 Post-war boom for vacations--facility improvements restricted

1958 Beaverbrook converted to Music Camp for teenagers

1962 Approach to Valparaiso University; gifting or bargain sales of bonds and stocks to Valpo so as to have them gain control and remove receivership

1963 Valparaiso in control and operates with provision of a decision as to defined objective of property within 5 years; first Carl Galow(from Valpo) then Herb Witsky(consulting firm) serve as general managers.
Then Jim Moore in 1967 - Jim Moore is also the founder of Camelback Ski Resort

1968 Motel and outdoor swimming pool erected in effort to become up-to-date

1968 Valparaiso determines Eastern campus is not feasible and East Coast church committee concludes another Lutheran campus is not desireable; no other church-sponsored use; decision to sell property

1969 Lutherland (then called Pocono Crest) sold to Susque Industries. Hotels continue to operate. Susque puts property up as collateral for a loan

1972 Susque fails to meet loan payments and Philadelphia National Bank(PNB) forecloses; unpaid creditors remove plumbing and electrical--hotels inoperable

1973 PNB puts high price $3+million on property; not feasible for anyone to buy it; deterioration of facilities starts; PNB & cottagers enter agreement for use of lake

1976 Ron Stelzer, once a vicar at Our Saviour Lutheran, Mt. Pocono,had started Pocono Crest Christian Conference Center. Prepares a prospectus, including an inventory of what exists and proposal for proceeding to acquire and develop property. Effort was dropped after attracting some but not sufficient interest.

1979 Bank starts demolishing of deteriorated buildings

1982 Deer Run Corp, headed by Logan Steele, developer of Lake Naomi, acquires property with provision that all existing buildings be demolished (including Casino and hotels)

1983-86 Name changed to Pinecrest; townhouses along former Lake Tamaque are built

1984 Tennis court complex built on former Ball Field

1985 Pinecrest pool erected on former Beaverbrook Athletic Field

1987 Recreation Center erected on site of former Camp Beaverbrook

1986 Logan Steele dies; property acquired by Ed Carroll, who was the builder of the townhouses and new facilities

1988-91 Carroll awaits approval from Penna. Dept of Enviromental Protection for further building

1992 Start of single family homes in Brookside Village, on site of former Camp Nawakwa and surrounding woods

1993 Lutherland leaseholders given opportunity to buy out their leaseholds and become a member of the Pinecrest club

1995 Work starts on golf course on approximate site of Lutherland's 1927 plan, which is east & south of Chickagami

1998 Wild Pines Golf Course and Clubhouse open. 9 holes completed for play; work continues on back 9; lot sales adjacent to golf course begin. Main access is off of Sullivan Road, but access also at top of Fox Run Rd.

1999 Full 18 holes open for play; name changed to Pinecrest Lake and Country Club; erection of homes in area of golf course

 

From an Article in the Pocono Record:

 

Over the Fourth of July holiday weekend in 1926, an area in Pocono Pines, Monroe County, became the gathering place for Lutherans from across the country. The land, originally owned by the Presbyterian-run Pocono Pines Assembly, was purchased by a group of Lutherans from New York City who was searching for a suitable year-round destination for its members.

More than 2,000 people attended the official dedication of Lutherland, also known as the Lutheran Conference and Camp Association. Lutherland was to serve as a vacation and training site for Lutheran children. According to The Morning Sun newspaper, the weekend dedication was marked with a church service and patriotic ceremonies such as raising the American flag and singing "The Star-Spangled Banner." Guests walked the property and marveled at the natural beauty of the land and the clean air and water.

The children's camps at Lutherland thrived under the leadership of Lutherland's president, Henry Dahlen. Two camps were built on either side of Lake Tamaque a camp for boys named Chickagami at one end of the lake and a camp for girls named Nowakwa at the other.

Lutherland drew thousands of vacationers, and the Association of Church members sold memberships in Lutherland to help defray the costs of the retreat. The association sold lots to members for $100; on each lot, a house could be built. Each lot measured 50 by 150 feet, and more than 1,400 lots were available for purchase.

By 1929, only three years after its opening, Dahlen stated in his annual report that Lutherland was a great success and had become "one of the largest camps of its kind in the country." Dahlen reported that several improvements, including a new modern hotel, playgrounds, playhouse, spring-fed lake, as well as a power plant, encouraged record numbers of Lutheran vacationers to Lutherland. In his report, Dahlen spoke of future plans to build a "bungalow colony" and expand the religious and recreational programs.

Lutherland, however, could not survive the Great Depression and, by the mid-1930s, began to experience financial difficulties. The organization borrowed a large sum of money from Reconstruction Finance Corp., a government agency. In attempts to recoup its lost earnings, Lutherland opened its doors to anyone, including non-Lutherans. Unfortunately, the strategy of encouraging paying guests of any religious denomination to Lutherland did not work. The buildings and grounds had not been modernized, and the large debt was never able to be paid back. In 1951, Lutherland declared bankruptcy.

The land and buildings were sold to Valparaiso University, Indiana, in 1963. The university had hoped to establish an eastern branch of its Lutheran-based university. In 1969, Valparaiso University realized an expansion of their university was not possible and sold the property to Susque Industries. Susque Industries attempted to operate a hotel, but by 1972, was unable to make a profit or pay back loans.

The hotel and property were foreclosed on, and the area once known as Lutherland reverted to Philadelphia National Bank, which placed a $3 million price tag on the property.

After years of neglect, Deer Run Corp. acquired the property in 1982, renamed it Pinecrest, and built a development with townhouses, single homes, recreation facilities, a golf course and other improvements.

Today, not much remains of the original Lutherland. The cottages still stand, but the camps, casino and hotel have been torn down. Owners still have their 99-year leases on the Lutherland property lots that were sold in the mid-1920s during the height of this vacation destination for thousands of people.