The Evergreen Hotel was built around 1900, and service on the Wilkes-Barre and Hazleton started in 1903. The railroad built a power plant along the line nearby.
Along with the hotel, a wooded grove around the hotel was improved with picnic and other recreational facilities, such as benches and swings.
In 1907, the railroad expanded the power plant, and new rails were laid near the Evergreen Hotel.
Over the next two decades, little changed at the hotel and picnic grove. Alvan Markle, owner of Hazle Park in West Hazleton, reportedly was interested in the Evergreen Hotel site to establish an amusement park, but that never materialized.
William Polgrean purchased the hotel and grounds in 1927, and made several improvements. The hotel was renovated, and the picnic grounds expanded. A dance hall was built, and new outdoor furnaces and ovens were installed. It is likely around this time the park’s only large amusement ride, a merry-go-round, was opened. It is not known how long the merry-go-round operated.
On the grand opening of the season, May 30, Frankie Carr and his Bell Hops, a popular band from Freeland, perform in the dance hall.
Also beginning that season and continuing for many year, and annual Old Home Day was held at the park.
The 1930s was an eventful decade for Evergreen Park. The Wilkes-Barre and Hazleton ceased service in 1933. The hotel burned to the ground, and new owners Pete and Esther Salutko cleared many of the trees in the area.
At the end of the 1940 season, the dance hall was converted into Club Evergreen, which held its grand opening on October 8 of that year.
In the late 1940s, management of the park was assumed by Frank P. Mazzo Sr., and an outdoor stage with bleachers was built. Over the next several years, many country and western acts were booked, including the Lone Star Ranger and His Wonder Horse Show for the season opening on June 27, 1947, and one year later Texas Slim Rogers and his Pals of the Purple Sages played on opening day, June 27, 1948.
Acts continued each season on Sundays, and special shows were also held on other days of the week on occasion.
By the late 1950s, the shows stopped, but dancing and bingo continued at Club Evergreen. A racetrack was also built on the site, a one-third mile oval that hosted many auto races.
The cover of a racing program, September 5, 1960.
Over the following years, the park’s popularity declined, and the site began to fall into disrepair. Rising insurance costs eventually closed the racetrack, and in the late 1970s, Club Evergreen was converted to The Woodshed Lounge, then owned by Dominic Palumbo.
The lounge and 3 and a half acres were put up for sale in 1980. On April 12, 1981, the lounge burned down; arson was suspected.
The racetrack is still in use today, now named Mountain Speedway.
Information obtained from Northeastern Pennsylvania, Feb. 17 1982.
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