In the Beginning


The Rides


The Dance Hall


Ethnic Celebrations


The Theater



From the Back Cover


Situated in the coal region of northeast Pennsylvania, Lakewood Park was established in 1916 by the Guinan family as a place to bathe, picnic, and camp.It became known as a nature retreat for nearby miners and their families, and it developed into the destination for swimming, amusement rides, skating, big band dances, boxing matches, ethnic celebrations, summer stock plays, and political banquets. The park boasted a 150-yard cement pool, hand-carved Spillman carousel, and a grand ballroom. It was the host of the longest- running ethnic festival in Pennsylvania, Lithuanian Day, from 1914 to 1984. Using vintage images, Lakewood Park recalls the various festivals and celebrations, amusement rides and celebrity performers, such as Dick Clark and Doris Day, that made the park an entertainment mecca for 68 years.

Peggy Grigalonis and cousins Janet Cunningham and Kathy Connolly spent their summers at Lakewood near their grandparents' bungalow. Their recollections, along with stories from their 90-year-old uncle Larry Guinan, youngest son of the founder, recapture the magic and retrace the history of this beloved park.



Images of America Lakewood Park


One hundred and twenty seven (127) pages of photos documenting the years 1916 through 1984. The Mahanoy Area Historical Society offers this collection in keeping with its mission to preserve the region's rich cultural history and work toward the restoration, revitalization, and future of the community. You can preview this book by clicking on any of the chapters in the Contents on the right.


Stop by the Historical Society on the first floor of the Rhoades Downtown Center at Main & Center Streets to purchase Images of America Lakewood Park for $25.00 or send a check to:


Mahanoy Area Historical Society

P.O. Box 127

Mahanoy City, PA 17948


Profit from your purchase helps to fund the Record American Project.



On the cover: Dick Clark brings his Show to Lakewood Ballroom, 1959. A television and radio personality, game show host and business man, Dick Clark is best known for hosting Bandstand in 1956, then “American Bandstand” when the show went national in 1957. On a Friday evening in July, Dick Clark, new to the record producing business, brought Chubby Checker to Lakewood to promote the up to then unknown singer. Checker’s hit “The Twist” had not been released and his appearance fee was merely the national exposure he was getting with Dick Clark. (Courtesy of the Guinan family.)




In case you haven't already seen the Lakewood Park Video which was on television last week and on You Tube since then, here's a link to You Tube. The video is about twenty minutes long and will bring back many memories. Click on the link below the picture.

Lakewood Entrance



Lakewood Park Video On You Tube


What Was Happening at Lakewood in the Summer of '42?



Remembering Past Lithuanian Days

by Don Coombe


Don is a retired educator and a member of the Mahanoy Township High School class of 1949.



During my growing up years, Lithuanian Day was one of the big days of the summer. You see, I was born and raised barely a football field distance from Lakewood Park. I found employment there each summer from the age of nine. From an economic standpoint, Lithuanian Day was by far the best of all the ethnic days ( Italian, Polish, Ukrainian, Slovak, Greek, Welsh --- and more I can't recall). My fondest memories involved the years I worked at the marvelous dance hall -the dance hall was a classic '20's structure and hosted all of the era's big bands.... You name one -- it played the Lakewood circuit.

August 15, 1914, the 1st Lithuanian Day was held at Lakeside Park in Barnesville. It was organized by the Lithuanian Catholic Priests League. During those early festival years most attendees had to take the train & arrived at the Lakeside station pictured below.




In 1922, Lithuanian Day moved to nearby Lakewood Park where it remained for over 60 years 'til the park closed in 1984. The festival was then held at Rocky Glen Park in Moosic 'til it closed in 1987. Now, the Schuylkill Mall is home to Lithuanian Day.

Before the end of World War II, Lithuanian Day was held on August 15th. The mines would close on that day which was also a Feast Day celebrating the Assumption of Mary. We're told early festivals were often rowdy & extended into the wee hours--in keeping with the rough & tumble tradition of the coal region. Many said it was like having St. Patty's Day during the middle of summer. After World War II, Lithuanian Day was held on the Sunday closest to August 15th.

Lithuanian Day at the Schuylkill Mall has grown into a two day celebration of culture, cuisine, song & dance. On Saturday from 11:00 to 5:00 and Sunday from 12 noon to 4:00 you can enjoy traditional Lithuanian foods: Cold Beet Soup (Saltibarsciai), Potato Pudding (Kugelis), Meatballs (Kotletai), Lithuanian Sausage, (Desros) Potato Pierogies (Koldunai su Bulviu Idaru), Stuffed Cabbage (Balandeliai) Fresh Dill Pickles (Agurkas), and Sweet Sauerkraut Salad (Saldus Rauginti Kopūstai Salotos).

There will be Lithuanian music, displays, demonstrations, and boilo taste testing. The Knights of Lithuania Anthracite Council 144 has been the prime sponsor of Lithuanian Day since 1977 and has done an excellent job keeping this rich coal region ethnic tradition alive.









Note: The Mahanoy Area Historical Society will present a slideshow which features photos from the Swirsky/Mack family in the 1920s, the Lobichusky/Alansky family in the 60s-80s and the Valinsky family 70s and 80s. There's even a photo of the "tug of war" and some scenes from the Dance Festival in Lithuanian.


For more information on this year's 100th Lithuanian Days Celebration at the Schuylkill Mall go to the Events page of this web site.


For extensive information on Lithuanian culture click on the link below.


Knights of Lithuania Council #144 Website