& START OF LUTHERLAND
Lake Resort and Golf Club
Indians massacre whites in Wyoming Valley; General Sullivan
leads expedition to punish Indians-- access road made through
Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad completes line
through Pocono Summit between Hoboken, NJ and Scanton
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
Wilkes-Barre & Eastern RR completed passing through Pocono
Pines from Wilkes-Barre to Stroudsburg connecting to New York,
Susquehanna & Western RR
Dam is constructed across Tunkhanna Creek forming Lake Naomi.
1896 Ice collecting operation begins
Pocono Pines Assembly & Summer School organized patterned
after Chautauqua programs; Pocono Pines Inn erected
Pocono Pines Lodge (later to become Lutherland Inn) erected
as well as an auditorium in woods and Blakeslee Hall and cabins
Due to financial difficulties Chautauqua program is abandoned
and hotel operation continues; 1911 Pocono Pines Improvement
Assn is formed among cottagers
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
Assembly leases buildings to federal government for training
of veterans of WWI. 1924 fire destroys Pocono Pines Inn and
government cancelled agreement
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
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
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
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
Full operation; another bond sale: 1930 expansion and upgrading
of eating facilities; completion of senior camp (Beaverbrook);
expansion of boys and girls camps.
Susque fails to meet loan payments and Philadelphia National
Bank(PNB) forecloses; unpaid creditors remove plumbing and electrical--hotels
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
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.
Bank starts demolishing of deteriorated buildings
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)
Name changed to Pinecrest; townhouses along former Lake Tamaque
Tennis court complex built on former Ball Field
Pinecrest pool erected on former Beaverbrook Athletic Field
Recreation Center erected on site of former Camp Beaverbrook
Logan Steele dies; property acquired by Ed Carroll, who was
the builder of the townhouses and new facilities
Carroll awaits approval from Penna. Dept of Enviromental Protection
for further building
Start of single family homes in Brookside Village, on site
of former Camp Nawakwa and surrounding woods
Lutherland leaseholders given opportunity to buy out their
leaseholds and become a member of the Pinecrest club
Work starts on golf course on approximate site of Lutherland's
1927 plan, which is east & south of Chickagami
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.
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
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.
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
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.