Anybody know the story behind Holiday Lake?

Posted in the Wrightstown Forum

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John Safaryn

Mount Laurel, NJ

#1 May 21, 2006
We moved to Burlington county from North Jersey several years ago. Driving on route 130 in Willingboro, I've seen this really cool looking retro style gate straight out of the 50's. The sign over it says Holiday Lake. Beyond it lies a dried out swimming hole type pool or man made lake complete with diving boards around the edges and rafts in the middle. Dilapidated buildings that were obviously changing rooms surround the lake. There's an old decaying minature golf course and abandoned playgrounds. The entire scene is somewhat creepy, but intriguing. Is there anybody who remembers going there when it was open? How long has it been closed? It looks like a big church is now on the property, but the lake is still there-and so is that really cool gate.
Marie Mount Laure

Havertown, PA

#2 May 23, 2006
John Safaryn wrote:
We moved to Burlington county from North Jersey several years ago. Driving on route 130 in Willingboro, I've seen this really cool looking retro style gate straight out of the 50's. The sign over it says Holiday Lake. Beyond it lies a dried out swimming hole type pool or man made lake complete with diving boards around the edges and rafts in the middle. Dilapidated buildings that were obviously changing rooms surround the lake. There's an old decaying minature golf course and abandoned playgrounds. The entire scene is somewhat creepy, but intriguing. Is there anybody who remembers going there when it was open? How long has it been closed? It looks like a big church is now on the property, but the lake is still there-and so is that really cool gate.
I went to Holiday Lake in the late 50's early 60's it was one of a several lakes in the area that could be reached by bus from Philadelpia. I remember it as being clean and a great place. There was a changing building with lockers and you could rent a bathing suit.
Evan

Flemington, NJ

#3 May 26, 2006
It became the Abundant LIfe Fellowship Church in or about 2000.
Dennis B

Sewell, NJ

#4 May 31, 2006
I have a photo of the dried out swimming pool and it had been filled in with dirt and now has grass growing in the pool I will add the link so you can see what it looks like now.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v335/three_...
Hope this helps.
Jeff Lucas

Medford, NJ

#5 May 31, 2006
John Safaryn wrote:
We moved to Burlington county from North Jersey several years ago. Driving on route 130 in Willingboro, I've seen this really cool looking retro style gate straight out of the 50's. The sign over it says Holiday Lake. Beyond it lies a dried out swimming hole type pool or man made lake complete with diving boards around the edges and rafts in the middle. Dilapidated buildings that were obviously changing rooms surround the lake. There's an old decaying minature golf course and abandoned playgrounds. The entire scene is somewhat creepy, but intriguing. Is there anybody who remembers going there when it was open? How long has it been closed? It looks like a big church is now on the property, but the lake is still there-and so is that really cool gate.
The site was a popular day vacation spot for people from South Jersey and also from Philadlephia. I went there in the 1950's coming from Philadlephia over the Tacony Bridge (we called it the "Nickel Bridge" because that is what it cost to cross). If the traffic on Rotue 73 to the Jersey shore looked too heavy we turned north on Route 130 and spent the day there. It was a great place to visit. Swimming boating and lots of sports. Not sure when it clsoed. It was then bought by Abundant Life Church. Before they built their new building they had their offices and sanctuary in the older building on the other side of the swimming area. It has really become beautiful in recent years.
jim donaldson

United States

#6 Jul 23, 2006
growing up in beverly in the 50s i spent many a night at the custard stand where the gate was.the golf came later.i remember the lake and the pool,the lake was very impressive,it was always crowded there was a lake across the road called olympia lakes.thay catered to to younger crowd with music on the weekends.
mccbil

Long Valley, NJ

#7 Jul 28, 2006
I went there as a child in the 70's. There was a lake, swimming pool, concession stand, mini golf, picnic area etc. I knew the owners and even worked there when I was 14 dragging the beach area in the morning before they opened. From what they said before it was sold, they were being forced to sell because of rising insurance rates because of frivolous lawsuits. It sat decaying for years and was then bought out by the church. Its a shame really, it was a great place for a family and wasn't expensive either.
Just Me

Philadelphia, PA

#8 Jul 28, 2006
Strange - that place would have done well, even today. I always wondered why it closed. What more, I wonder why they never made an attempt to re-open (Refurb) it.
mccbil

Long Valley, NJ

#9 Jul 28, 2006
Well, you would like to think it would have done well. But like I said a couple of lawsuits and insurance premiums were out of reach. A lot of people have a lot of good childhood memories in that place. (The pool/cabana are gone, I don't know what else was torn down)
Smith

Willingboro, NJ

#10 Jul 30, 2006
I loved the owner their because, as a summer camp counselor, he let me bring my group of kids there for free anytime during the 80s. The church has the complete history about Holiday lakes and what happened to it. They have long range plans for this daytime resort. The plans are geared towards to youth. Come visit the church on Sundays. See you there.
John Safaryn

Cherry Hill, NJ

#11 Aug 1, 2006
mccbil wrote:
I went there as a child in the 70's. There was a lake, swimming pool, concession stand, mini golf, picnic area etc. I knew the owners and even worked there when I was 14 dragging the beach area in the morning before they opened. From what they said before it was sold, they were being forced to sell because of rising insurance rates because of frivolous lawsuits. It sat decaying for years and was then bought out by the church. Its a shame really, it was a great place for a family and wasn't expensive either.
Thanks for the info. Do you know whatever happened to the owners? and does anybody have any old photos of the place in its heyday? I'm wondering if they ever sold any postcards or other souvenirs. You mentioned some frivolous lawsuits. I assume frivolous means some minor injuries- but no deaths or drownings. It looks like a place that big would have had a substantial lifeguard staff-did you know any of them? You said it wasn't expensive-any idea what the admission price was in the 70's? Again thanks for the info
Anna B

New Orleans, LA

#12 Aug 3, 2006
John Safaryn wrote:
We moved to Burlington county from North Jersey several years ago. Driving on route 130 in Willingboro, I've seen this really cool looking retro style gate straight out of the 50's. The sign over it says Holiday Lake. Beyond it lies a dried out swimming hole type pool or man made lake complete with diving boards around the edges and rafts in the middle. Dilapidated buildings that were obviously changing rooms surround the lake. There's an old decaying minature golf course and abandoned playgrounds. The entire scene is somewhat creepy, but intriguing. Is there anybody who remembers going there when it was open? How long has it been closed? It looks like a big church is now on the property, but the lake is still there-and so is that really cool gate.
That was a wonderful lake in the late 40's and early 50's. My friend and I used to ride our bikes from Burlington to the lake where we would swim, eat, and dance on a pavillion with a juke box. They had the best frozen custard, as it was called then. I believe the people that ran it then were some german people. It was real popular and was not as big as you saw it. When I went, there was only the lake, a platform out a little ways, a diving board and that was it. I have not seen it entirely since it was renovated, but it really was nice then. I am 73 years old now and it brings fond memories.
David Roy Clarke Ca

United States

#13 Aug 4, 2006
went there in the 40's had a great time
Born and raised in Burlington on Jacksonville road
don't remember who was the owners
Bob G

Belleville, NJ

#14 Aug 25, 2006
As of today, the sign has been torn down. A truck hit it a little while back, which made it unsafe. I went there with my parents back in the 60's.
Every time I drove by it,it brang back fond memories. Now like everything else from my childhood, it's gone.
Bob G

Belleville, NJ

#15 Aug 25, 2006
Bob G

Belleville, NJ

#16 Aug 25, 2006
Tried to post the link to the story on Holiday Lake but it takes you to a different story being the web address won't fit on here. The story can be found though if you do some digging on that site for August 25th. or by adding -702707.html to what I posted.
proud of Riverside

Burlington, NJ

#17 Aug 26, 2006
Joseph Schwartz Sr. was a lifetime car salesman from Riverside. I knew him and his family personally. He worked for Riker Chevrolet in Burlington. He had a dream project in his mind about building a lake on route 130. Joe was able to convince Bill Riker to build Holiday Lake and it was a huge success, he worked for Riker Chevrolet in the winter and managed the lake in the summer. He had a falling out with Riker and left the car dealership and went with Chiaccio Motors in Riverside. He did however continue to manage the lake in the summer until his death when his son Donald took over as manager. Our family had free passes from Joe and I spent many a terrific day at the lake as a teenager. I can remember when there were still grass islands on 130 and cars parking on them because the lots were full at Holiday and nearby Olypia Lakes. On Saturday and Sunday large groups of teenagers from Philly came and danced at the upstairs pavillion when rock and roll was in its infancy it was quite something to see. When backyard swimming pools became common and local swim clubs formed it was the death knell for both lakes. Thats the true story as I know it.
Sandy N Cinnaminson nj

Columbus, NJ

#18 Sep 5, 2006
The last summer for Holiday Lake was the summer of 1990. I was there the very last day of the season which was Labor Day. I had no idea this would be the last swimming day ever. I called a year later and some church lady answered the phone and with a chuckle she told me the lake was no more. I felt really bad about that. These lakes seem to have a way of going away these days. Bellmawr Lake in Bellmawr NJ is in the process of becoming some senior complex. I have a feeling this is just more than a rumor. I was there yesterday Labor Day which is probably the last day there forever.
Vicky

Voorhees, NJ

#19 Sep 7, 2006
I always wanted to find out more about that area. Thank you so much for inquiring and to all who responded. I haven't driven down that way in a while and I can't believe that the sign had to be torn down. I remember driving down 130 all the time and seeing it, wondering about the story behind the area. It sounds like it has a wonderful history! I'm glad that the church is going to put the area to good use.
Jan

Barrington, NJ

#20 Sep 12, 2006
I remember Holiday Lake as being the "other" lake. Across Rt 130 was the good lake- Olympia Lakes. When I was young-in the 60's we spent many hot days at both places. I believe there were a series of accidents that closed Olympia Lakes to the public, and the cost of doing business and maintaining the man-made beach areas {as well as clean water}simply was too much for the owners of Holiday Lake.

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