A member of the National Trust Historic Hotels of America, Skytop Lodge’s rich and storied
history is the ideal location to create lasting family traditions.
The Inn at Buck Hill Falls, run by Charles Thompson and assisted by Samuel Packer undergoes alterations and enlargement. John S. Stubbs, a dealer in securities in New York and patron of Buck Hill, proposes another hotel project in the Poconos capitalizing on Sam Packer’s personality and popularity.
Pocono Hotels Corporation, the parent holding company is incorporated in Delaware. Governor Gifford Pinchot approves the incorporation of Sky Top Lodges, Inc., the operating company in Monroe County, Pennsylvania. Twelve directors elected to run both boards. This number has increased and decreased alternately over the years but the same corporate structure remains.
Through John Stubbs, architect John Muller of New York City is engaged to plan the Lodge building. Through John Muller, the Olmsted Brothers, landscape architects of Boston, are engaged to study the topography, site the buildings and design terraces and gardens. Mr. Robert White, founder and president of the PGA, is secured as golf course architect. Fairways are laid out and course construction begins after lodge location was determined, but before lodge construction.
Barclay White & Company of Philadelphia is contracted to build the main lodge for $642,547.00. Barclay White’s uncle, Daniel White, and also Jacob C. Myers, both owners of hotels in Atlantic City, signed an indemnity bond securing a $400,000 mortgage loan from the Market Street Title and Trust Company. Construction of main lodge begins. $147,000.00 worth of debentures called “Gold Notes” were issued, mostly to board members to furnish needed cash.
Incorporation of a non-profit club under Pennsylvania law. Building and golf course completed, but not landscaping. Resort advertises ability to accommodate 300 guests. June 16th – Opening Day. Laying of the Cornerstone Ceremony commences the first summer season. Post Office established, Lucille Packer first postmaster general. Skytop’s zip code is 18357. Dormitories for female employees. Pocono Hotels Corporation increases capital stock to issue 12,000 shares of preferred stock of $100.00 par and 16,000 shares of common stock without par value. Mr. Lester Harding permitted to sell stock in the state of Pennsylvania.
Jacob Myers having pointed out the inadequacy of the dining room wins approval for an extension. Another contract with Barclay White & Company is established to erect three cottages west of Fairway No. 1 and the dining room extension with guest rooms above. Drought reduced Leavitts stream to a trickle and General Manager, Samuel Packer, was forced to furnish bottled water to the rooms for drinking as Leavitts is the only source of water for the hotel. Wells subsequently drilled. Stock market crash that triggers the “Great Depression.”
The Upper Lake is increased by reconstructing the entrance causeway and the dam at the lower end of the lake. Barclay White and Raymond Price begin construction of the Barrett Airport, a 56 acre grass strip adjacent to Skytop property. Air service to Skytop begins, along with air meets and scenic tours. Wood Chopping Competition held North Circle and filmed by Fox Movietone. The 18th Amendment repeals Prohibition. Tap room is constructed and wine service begins in the dining room prompting some Quaker club members to stop coming to Skytop.
Educational Psychologist, Dorothy Waldo Phillips, who had been hired to run the children’s program, publishes Dear Mrs. Bender, a story written from the perspective of the children of Skytop about their days growing up in the Pocono Mountains. General Manager Sam Packer leaves to run Lake Placid Club in New York. Comptroller, Thornton Raney, takes over the position as general manager.
First 1,000 foot long tow rope introduced on two trails for those who dislike ‘uphill climbing.’ Lackawanna Railroad offers one day “Snow Train” service to the Poconos. Observation post is outfitted with a telephone and logbook detailing instructions for calling in any sightings of enemy aircraft.
William Malleson Jr., from the Drake Hotel in New York City, becomes Skytop’s general manager after Thornton Raney’s departure. Malleson established a national reputation in the hospitality industry and teaches hotel management classes at Cornell University.
2,200 acre Personeni Property containing Goose Pond (also once named Salus Lake) is purchased. Janney House, on the north end of Skytop Lake, is torn down. Hurricane Diane ushers in record breaking rainfall on the heels of another hurricane prompting massive flooding. Skytop’s entrance road was severely damaged as was the 18th hole. Search and rescue efforts briefly operated out of Skytop’s higher ground; this destructive storm caused many area fatalities.
Four “golf mobiles” brought in. Laurel Room (multi-purpose room) designed by Peter Paul Muller, nephew of Lodge architect, opens. This space adds 3000 square feet and functions as a cocktail lounge, meeting room space, and banquet room. First “automatic” elevator installed eliminating the necessity for an elevator operator. Peter Paul Muller designs the indoor pool on the east side of the main lodge which opens just in time for the Christmas holiday. Windsor Dining Room gets air conditioning.
Indoor Skating/ Sports Pavilion built in the location of the old riding ring to provide an amenity for guests that was no longer a consistent option due to unreliable lake freezes. New Stable built on Dutch Hill Road. A short memoir tracing the founding of Skytop Lodge, Skytop: An Adventure, by F.W. Smith is published.
Poma Ski Lift installed. Donald Biles assumes role of GM after having already been employed in various administrative roles since 1952. New golf house built. Caddy service discontinued.
The rest of the lodge gets air conditioning and snow making equipment is installed. Sky Top Lodges, Inc. officially changed to Skytop Lodges, Inc. Horseback riding discontinued. Two new Har-Tru tennis courts completed.
Remaining “running water rooms” (rooms that shared a connecting bathroom) were converted to deluxe twin bed rooms. First naturalist, Pat Fasano is engaged to manage woodlands and educate and engage guests with nature programs. First computer is used at Skytop. Opposed by some, televisions are finally installed in guest rooms. The outdoor pool, hot tub and children’s pool are also added. Many of these changes are ushered in under new General Manager, Bill Malleson, son of previous GM. There is no longer a full time doctor or nurse staffed for the first time since Dr. Mayne began the Maintain-Your-Health program in 1928. Buck Hill closes its doors.
Skytop Meadows, clustered homes consisting of thirty units, are built south of the 13th hole. Gift shop relocated to the north side of the recreation room. Guest rooms on the “100 Level” are converted into four meeting rooms creating roughly 1700 square feet of space for that purpose. The hotel closes for the first time for several weeks in March. New General Manager, Ed Mayotte takes the helm. Previously employed at Walt Disney World, Mayotte begins to recreate Skytop’s appeal as a family resort and brings back some traditional activities such as dog sledding. 2nd floor guest rooms converted into mini suites, the spa is put in on the 5th floor, and the boathouse on the upper lake is converted into an Orvis shop. Old golf house is torn down and the Inn at Skytop opens in June offering a new golf shop, meeting room, twenty guest rooms and the Lakeview Restaurant and bar. Golf architect, Ron Prichard, designs the new hole seven and eight which now extend to the south, adjacent to Leavitt’s Branch and just north of the Flying Dollar Airport (new name of the 1929 Barret Airport) and a driving range is constructed in the location of the original seven and eight.
Ski Lodge warming hut is expanded, eventually becoming the Adventure Center. New employee dormitory, Leavitt Lodge, is built. Executive Conference Center is completed on the west side of the main lodge. The addition consists of two large ballrooms, and a meeting room providing an additional 7,500 square feet of banquet/conference space. Garden House and garages are torn down.
The Adventure Center is completed offering the Treetop Adventure Course. Ed Mayotte retires as general manager and Douglas Hustad takes the position. Horseback riding returns as an amenity for guests.
Guest rooms are remodeled. A bar is installed in the Library room on the lobby level and the North Card Room is converted into a lounge that is opened via archway to the Library Bar. The South Card room is converted into washrooms for ladies and men. The “American Plan” is no longer the primary option and Skytop guests can without taking all meals in the Windsor Dining Room.
Jeff Rudder becomes the new general manager. The Taproom is remodeled and enlarged now extending into space originally occupied by the giftshop. Lobby level ladies washroom is converted into a coffee shop. Jacket and tie are no longer required dress for the Windsor Dining Room.