History

Shawanga Lodge was a Catskill hotel which opened in 1921 and closed in 1972. Abraham Dan (aka Danashevski),a plumber, who previously owned the Morningside Hotel in Hurleyville, which is now a park next to Morningside lake in Hurleyville NY, purchased the hotel from DG Carpenter in 1920. DG Carpenter excluded Jewish patrons as shown in his 1920 brochure. In 1921 Abraham Dan and Barnet Coopersmith reopened the hotel as a Kosher style hotel.

Abramham Dan (not his grandson with the same name who also ran the hotel) was born in Russia in 1875. He married Lena, also from Russia, in 1888 and in 1890 immigrated to the United States and lived in Rutherford NJ. His occupation is listed as a plumber. On Friday, September 30 1921, the same year he bought Shawanga, he hung himself after breakfast in a closet in the playhouse. His wife Lena found him. It is not known who on the Dan side ran the hotel after he died, though he had three children with Mae being the oldest, then Julius and Sam, who was born in 1901. Julius never was active in the hotel, Mae was the cashire and Sam went to NYU law and for some time had a law practive and the hotel. He shortly gave up law and focused on the hotel.

On November 22 1926, the main building burned to the ground. A spark from a chimney ignited the roof. The hotel operated for a few years with just the remaining external cottages and casino until a new building was constructed. The casino was used to serve meals and entertainment because the dining room was in the destroyed main building. The earliest known date of the hotel with the new main building was 1933. The new main building remained until the hotel closed in 1972. Abraham Dan left the hotel to his three children, Julius, Sam and Mae Dan after he died. Mae Dan married Ed Atlass and the three bought out Mr. Coopersmith (year unknown). They operated the hotel with Julius Dan being a silent partner for over 35 years. In the 1950's, Julius' son, Abraham 'Abby' Dan and Ed Atlass' son Alvin became involved in the hotel business.

Ed and Sam Dan had not modernized the hotel and it had catered to a singles crowd. In the early 50's an amphitheater was built, the night club was expanded and Holiday Inn was built. We had the name first. Not sure when the lake was expanded but it was in the 50's. In the winter of 1957, the hotel was in need of modernization. The lobby was expanded, the space below, was dug out to make a lower lobby, air conditioning added, a day camp was built, a new external building called Panorama was added The main building rooms remained the same. In the 1960's Julius, Ed and Sam died, Abby and Alvin took over operation of the hotel . Mae Dan remained working as the head cashier and bookkeeper until the hotel closed.

Post 1957, the hotel operated as a family resort. The main building needed a lot of work. The hotel could only operate during the summer. The cottages were built on cinder blocks above ground and had above ground piping and received chlorinated water from the lake. The main building still had bathrooms on the floor and shared (semi-private), heat only in the public spaces and had well water. The 1957 renovation was needed but not enough and should have been done sooner. The rooms in the cottages and newer Panorama and Holiday Inn - built in the early 50's and not part of the motel chain buildings, had air cooling and heat but were not connected to the main building. The rooms in the main building were small and some had air conditioning and private bath. In 1972 Alvin Atlass decided to leave the hotel business. It was too much risk for Abby Dan to run the hotel alone and in Sept of 1972 the hotel went bankrupt. It was sold at auction. Abby Dan tried to help the new owner open for the 1973 season. The new owner started too late to open and the hotel did not open for the '73 summer season. In September of 1973 the hotel burned in a suspicious fire. It was noted that the water tower which operated the sprinkler system was drained.

When Dad started working at the DeVille in 1973, that hotel, which was also behind the times still had an indoor pool and a beautifull nightclub. I recall looking out the window as we passed the Raleigh headed to the Deville, wow what a hotel! The Raleigh was an impressive hotel in 1973 with all modern rooms. Little did I know that dad and I would both work there, he had the better job :)

Such a shame, there was so much history lost in that building, I only realized after studying the pictures, documents and artifacts dad saved. A small example is the piano and wooden pinball machine sitting in the crawl space betwen the lower lobby and the workshop. The piano is in a picture on the front porch in the 30's, I wonder where the pinball machine was. The horse drawn sled under the nightclub was used in the 20's. All gone. Perhaps this web site can preserve some history.

The original main building Built in the early 1900's, burned in 1926. Construction of Catskill hotels in the days before sprinkler systems and modern heating systems consisted of may separate buildings build at a distance. Buildings often burned. With many buildings, it was not a total loss. The DeVille, Nemerson, is a perect example. The main bulding, dining room and nightclub were separate buildings.
Main building rebuilt 1933 The main building newly rebuillt in 1933, the outdoor pool was built in 1934. To the right, was the bowling alley, later made into guest rooms. In 1950 this building was moved to behind the main building and used for staff quarters. Holiday Inn, named from the movie, replaced it.
Main building 1960s In 1958 the lobby was expanded and modernized. Panorama was built to the left a camp for kids was added and a lower lobby.
Floor plan of lobby before renovaion Please See Album "Structures, Floor Plans" for full size picture.
New Lobby after renovation of 1958 Please See Album "Structures, Floor Plans" for full size picture. Notice that the dining room was expanded, teen dining room added, a hallway to the side entrance
Lower Lobby after renovation of 1958 Please See Album "Structures, Floor Plans" for full size picture. The lower lobby was cut out of dirt basement, there were two section that remained dirt floored, and not public space, below kitchen space at the top left.
Nightclub & Amphitheater The original nightclub was the building on the left with the darker roof. It was expanded in the erly 50's on the left where there was a deck. They built over an old horse drawn sled that remained under this building. In the winter we would go sledding down the hill on the right and dad would pull us back to the top in his Willy's Jeep. The road on the left where the curve is woould also go around back past the dump aand yok quarters.
Main Building was rebuilt after the fire of 1926 in 1933. Athe the time it was a very modern buidling with a sprinker system. That was a big deal at the time becuase of the number of fires that hotel had. I recall in the 60's a fire being put out by the sprinkelers in a maids closet. The Raleigh in the early 2000's had

-- IN PROGRESS --
Structures

* Main building
* Grotto - stone gazebo
* Wishing well
* Pool
* Guest cottages
* Family cottages - used by Dan & Atlass families
* Staff buildings (were formally guest buildings)
* Holiday Inn (built in 50's)
* Panorama
* Playhouse
* Outdoor Amphitheater
* Camp for younger and older kids
* Kids pool
* Nursery and kiddie pool
* Stone garage
* Water tower (for sprinkler systems)
* Caretaker cottage under the water tower
* Skytop - pump house for chlorinated lake water for cottages
* Sleeping beauty - well water pump house for main building
* Ranch house, formerly Bachelors quarters
Main Building
The main building, built in 1926 and renovated in 1957 had approximately 123 rooms. Most rooms had a shared bathroom on the floor. The main building had well water and while some rooms had AC, none had heat. The main building the the following amenities:

* Lobby
* Lower lobby
** 'Canteen' - Ice cream, sodas and grill
** Play area, pinball, shuffleboard, ping pong
** Phone booths
** Jukebox
** Laundry room
** Boilers for hot water
** Maintenance etc
*** area under kitchen that had old dirt floors which house storage, and maintenance dept
* Dining room
* Infant dining room
* Children's dining room
* Teen dining room
* Nurses room (not used in later years)
* Kitchen
* Front desk and office
* Bellhops desk
* Lobby bar
* Card room
* TV

The lobby after the renovation had air conditioning, but not enough capacity to run both the dinning room and lobby at the same time on hot days. Abby used to have to redirect the air from the lobby to the dining room at the right time, so that the dining room would be comfortable when the doors opened but not too soon that the lobby became uncomfortable.

Front Office
[[File:Shawanga lodge 1969 rates.jpg|125px|thumb|left|Shawanga lodge 1969 rates]] [[File:Shawanga-rates-late-40.jpg|125px|thumb|right|Shawanga Rates late 40's]] [[File:Sahwanga Lodge 1962 - Rodney Dangerfield asking for a job.jpg|125px|thumb|left|1962 Rodney Dangerfield asking for a job at Shawanga Lodge]] [[File:MENU - DINNER.jpg|thumb|125px|right|Dinner menu, June 6th 1970]] '''Some documents from the front office''' * Rate schedule of Shawanga from 1969 * Rate schedule of Shawanga from late 1940's

* A hand written letter from Rodney Dangerfield saying he is available for work. Many years later, when Rodney Dangerfield was famous and had done many movies, Abby Dan met him on a cruise. He asked told Rodney Dangerfield about the letter and asked as a joke if he is still available. * Dinner menu 1970

== 1957 Renovation == [[File:Shawanga-1957-construction-start.jpg|thumb|left|Start of construction on main building, Abby's wife watching]] [[File:Shawanga-1957-construction-front.jpg|thumb|right|Opening front wall of Lobby for expansion]] [[File:Shawanga-1957-construction-side-car-port.jpg.jpg|thumb|left|Work on side car port, Abby's '57 Ford convertible in the background]] [[File:Shawanga-1957-construction-Panorama - Abby-sam-ed.jpg|thumb|right|Foundation of Panorama building 1957. Sam Dan, Abby Dan and Ed Atlass]] [[File:Shawanga-1957-construction-new-front.jpg.jpg|thumb|left|Lobby expansion nearing completion, notice the stone 'grotto' in the background]] [[File:Shawanga-1957-construction-new-inside.jpg|thumb|right|New lobby faing the bar and dining room. Notice the drain pipes next to steel columns, they drained the expanded roof]] Construction began after the 1957 season and proceeded during the winter. Previously the hotel catered to singles, after the renovation, the hotel catered to families. Abby and his wife stayed at the hotel in their cottage to supervise the construction. The cottage had no running water (due to above ground pipes) insulation or heat, except for a plug in heater. Renovation: * Lobby extended and changed from a 1930's decor to a 60's * Elevator added where the main staircase once stood * Lobby bar * Car ports gained a modern look * Panorama Built * Amphitheater built * Playhouse expanded with melody bar * Kids camp and nursery added ====Description of construction pictures, in order==== * ''Left'' - Start of construction on main building. In the picture is Abby's wife watching. Notice the Lobby beams braced while the foundation is expanded. The lower lobby built by digging out the previous crawl space. * ''Right'' - Preparing to open the front of the building to expand the lobby. Notice the two man hand saws to cut down the trees.
* ''Left'' - The car port was modernized and expanded. The entrance porch was expanded and tile slabs installed. Abby's '57 Ford convertible in the background. * ''Right'' - Foundation of new Panorama building. Panorama would have the nicest rooms in the hotel when completed. From left to right, Abby Dan, Sam Dan, Ed Atlass. Buildings in background: Left is the 'firehouse', which had hoses, etc. On right is the 'paint house', which had paint and painting equipment. The main building bottom floor, back left side shown, is where the maintenance dept was.
* ''Left'' - New modern expanded lobby nearing completion, notice the stone 'Grotto' in the background * ''Right'' - New lobby nearing completion. Notice the hand pumped fire extinguisher in the center of the picture. Behind the wood plank wall in the new lobby bar and to the right is the dining room entrance. Notice the pipes running next to the columns. They were drain pipes for the expanded roof. They had trouble draining the water from the roof, Abby decided not to fight the water. Never leaked again.

== Quantum Physics Convention == Physics convention held at Shawanga led to breakthroughs in the development of the LASER (also see The Race to Make the Laser).

Some Staff 1972 == * Abby Dan - Owner, Front office and Manager * Alvin Atlass - Owner, Kitchen and Dining room manager * Mae Atalss - Head bookkeeper, Cashier * Kenny Lee - Chef * Norman Elmont - Maitre D' * G. Paradise - Head of Bar * Jimmy Barton - Head of Belhops and bassist in band * Allie Joltin - Activities Director * Betty Jotin - Dance Instructor * Bea Greenwald - Activities seniors * Bob Engel - Day camp * Tony Pernice - Maintenace == Day Camp == The camp was located about 3/4 of a mile away from the main building by the lake. There was a section for the older kids and younger. There was a nusery that was across from the main building. There was an old bus, called the 'Magic Bus'. It's name was more appropriate in the later years, because it was magic that it started. This bus took the kids to and from camp. At the camp were swings, sand boxes (made from the old wooden row boats) softball field, a pool and chicken coup in the woods. == Summers at Shawanga == There were many guests who spent their entire summer at the hotel, this was common at the Catskills up until the end of the 70's. Fathers would send their wives and kids and visit on the weekends. For the children of the Dan, Atlass, Shapiro and sometime Kanter families, they stayed at the hotel during the summer, while their fathers worked at the hotel. "We were very close with our cousins, since we spent so many summers together" G. Dan The daily routine began with going to the children's dining room for breakfast, missing the bus to camp on purpose, playing at camp, having lunch back at the children's dining room, back to camp. The end of the day bus took us back to our parent's around 4:30pm. After dinner, we would sometimes stop at the hotel bakery for a treat and then go to our grandmother for another treat. == Entrance == [[File:Leaving the hotel.jpg|left|thumb|Old Hotel Entrance]] [[File:Shawnaga Front entrance.jpg |right|thumb|Entrance to the hotel when leaving]] Entrance to hotel on Old Rt 17 On right is new entrance, background is a 1940 Buick coup. photographer is Seymore Zolotorofe, Ethyl Dan's brother.