Sandy Beach brought seashore to Wyoming Valley
|By Elizabeth Skrapits, The Citizens' Voice, Wilkes-Barre, Pa.|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
From its creation in the mid-1920s through the 1960s, Sandy Beach was a hugely popular summer destination, both for day trippers and people who camped out at
Sandy Beach, touted as "
However, it wasn't exactly a vacation for young Marvin. (He's now 84, a Korean War veteran and a successful real estate developer.)
"I was free labor," he said, chuckling.
There was plenty at Sandy Beach to keep him busy.
"When it was in full swing, it was a pretty hot place to be," he said.
Bigger and better beach
They opened Sandy Beach on
"We even had benches in front of the screen so the people from the campgrounds could watch the movies, and we charged them a quarter apiece,"
"Uncle Sam used to let me in the movies all the time without charging me," she said.
"He was strict," she said.
"They imported real sand from the ocean to put on the beach," he said. "That's what made it a real sandy beach."
In the 1950s, Sandy Beach featured roller skating, a penny arcade and a picnic area with a fireplace. There was a boat rental with motorboats at first, then later, paddle boats. For the children, there was a playground, kiddie rides including a merry-go-round, and real pony rides.
There were ladies' and men's locker rooms -- which the Slomowitzes upgraded -- and the second story of the building had a dance floor, where orchestras and bands would play a couple of nights a week,
Sandy Beach also had food concessions, including Stuccio's pizza, and, in time for the 1956 season, the Slomowitzes remodeled the snack bar into what was advertised as "
"It was a nice time, nice people and nice area. Especially, we had wonderful neighbors,"
An asset was that the business owners in that section of
The Slomowitzes and Roods were also good friends with the McCaffreys, who owned the venue near Sandy Beach.
She remembers the Sandy Beach Drive-In well: "You'd be surprised how many people would drive down from
Sandy Beach's popularity continued through the 1960s. Popular local and sometimes even nationally known bands played in the dance hall, and on hot summer weekends the beach was teeming.
The tide turns
The Slomowitz family ran Sandy Beach until Samuel died; they sold it, but its new owner went into bankruptcy within a year,
The McCaffreys held onto
"Times change. People do different things on their weekends," McCaffrey said.
The McCaffreys sold part of their property to the
Today, the only trace of Sandy Beach that remains is the sand you can still find in the water at the
"I wish I could revive it, but it's something of the past,"
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