Mountain Beach

MountainBeach1An important highlight in many “South Siders” memories is centered at Mountain Beach. An article printed in the 1928 Mummers Parade Program described the most popular sports parks in North Central Pennsylvania.

Mountain Beach

“In March 1928, work was started to develop the site of the former Main Street reservoir into the largest and best equipped swimming pool in Central Pennsylvania. The realization of this dream is now well known to all and Mountain Beach, as the development was subsequently named, is known to thousands of people.

Bathhouse accommodations were built for 600 patrons but on several occasions, it was necessary to double up on lockers to handle the large crowds. Bathhouses were equipped with individual dressing rooms, lockers showers, toilets, mirrors, wringer, and other conveniences.

MountainBeach2A concrete-brick pool, size 84×84, with a maximum depth of 11 feet was used for diving. The large pool, 500×700 feet, was equipped with floats, diving boards, rubber novelties, water wheel, and other sports equipment. The south end of the pool was graded and sanded for beginners and children. For night swimming the largest battery of floodlights in Central Pennsylvania was installed.

Thousands of people enjoyed the boardwalk, built the entire length of the dam, 12 feet wide by 700 feet long. On Sundays and hot summer evenings, as many as three thousand people were on the boardwalk at one time. The swimming season was closed on Labor Day with a championship aquatic carnival witnessed by four thousand men, women, and children.  

MountainBeach3Plans are now being made for skating, hockey, and other winter sports and several improvements for the 1929 swimming season. Mountain Beach is a distinct asset to South Williamsport and the surrounding community and will grow in popularity each year; especially since the new Market Street pavement makes this beauty spot easily accessible to all.”

Ice skating with snow removal equipment and heated locker rooms was heralded as “one of the finest outdoor rinks” by a former professional hockey player and the Hersey Bears, professional hockey team, played there once.

The original group of local businessmen led by Elmer Spotts sold the resort to William A. Nichols, who added a dance floor to the main building where hundreds of people danced away the summer evenings. In the early 1950s, Michael A. Purcell opened a small amusement park in the northern part of Mountain Beach’s 24 acres.

Then in 1958, the state department of health revoked the resort’s public bathing permit and closed down the facilities. Mr. Nichols eventually sold the property in 1961 to an investment group. Lakeview Apartments now stand on the site of Mountain Beach.

Voices of Memories:

“No apartments, no houses, just a waterfall and fields and trees. Later on when I was 10 or 11, I remember many nights spent fishing while sitting on the wall. My father’s only brother, Miles, lost his life at Mountain Beach in the winter of 1937 at the age of 18. There had been an ice hockey game that night. After everyone had left, Miles went out on the ice to sweep and clean up when he fell through the ice. By the time help came, Miles had drowned.” William

“During the mid-50s my mother took us there quite often so that we could enjoy the cool, refreshing waters under the protection of a lifeguard while she read and sunned herself on the sandy beach in relative peace. I remember a playground on the beach and the snack bar in the far distance. And wasn’t there a boardwalk attached to the snack bar? I also remember using the sliding board in the water. What a thrill that was sliding down its length and ending up underwater at the bottom.” Sharyn

“I remember Easter Egg Hunts near Mountain Beach. I won a pair of roller skates when I was ten or eleven at the egg hunt that year.” Shirley   

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