Welcome to JizzneyLand! Celebrated as the “Paradise of Pocono Pleasure” and “a place of unbridled passion”, the honeymoon resort known as Penn Hills catered to Swinging Young Couples. With tacky, lust inspired décor like round beds, heart-shaped whirlpool bathtubs, gaudy floor-to-ceiling shag carpeting, and mirrors on the ceiling, the Hotel California had nothing on this place!
If these walls could talk they’d tell stories of love, infidelity, lust, corruption and Mob connections! As soon as I started posting pictures from this location on social media, I had several women reach out to tell me tales of visiting here with suave Italian “business men”, who owned fancy cars, printing shops, drop ship businesses, video distribution companies, and other undefinable “business interests”. Of course, no one wanted to be interviewed in detail “on the record”, but Billy D’Elia is the name that came up, in association with these men, several times as the three different women shared their stories with me.
While this location started as a tavern in 1944, the 500 acre resort grew to include skiing, golf, swimming, archery, ice skating, snowmobiling, tennis, an indoor game room, a massive dining hall, and a night/comedy club. The property also contained one cool historical feature–modernist streetlights from the 1964 World’s Fair.
World’s Fair Pavilion & Street Lights
1964 World’s Fair Street Light at Penn Hills
During its prime in the 1960s and 1970s, Penn Hills was so popular that reservations often had to be made months in advance. Anyone living in the Tri-State Area during the 1970s will remember the TV commercials with the slogan: “Penn Hills for lovers only. You’re never lonely at Penn Hills….. Just 90 minutes from New York City!”
Located in Analomink, Monroe County, Pennsylvania, the resort began its decline in the late 1980s, along with many of the resorts and hotels in that same region. Some blame the rising affordability of air travel at that time, coupled with the inexpensive packages available at all-inclusive resorts at destinations in countries like Mexico. Others say the resorts in the Poconos were built up in anticipation of legalized casino gambling in the state of Pennsylvania, which didn’t materialize as quickly as developers assumed it would.
Wedding Bell Shaped Pool
For whatever reason, lovers visiting Penn Hills in the new millennium found the accommodations horrifying during the last few years that it was open. Consumer reviews from online travel sites definitely articulate how much the resort and its services deteriorated since its hey-days as a honeymoon destination spot. Consumers described a resort that was deserted and scary. They depict rooms that smelled moldy, contained outdated furniture, chipped paint and non-operational whirlpool tubs. Accommodations were full of bugs, stains, and littered with graffiti containing slogans such as “We got screwed at Penn Hills”. They also claimed that the drinks at the bar were watered down, the food was barely edible and the property was literally falling apart. Reviews say that the wood on the buildings was rotting, the pool was peeling, the tennis courts had potholes, archery targets were no longer standing upright, and most of the buildings looked abandoned.
When Penn Hills co-founder, Frances Paolillo died in 2009 at the age of 102, the resort closed less than two months later. According to multiple internet sources, the workers’ final paychecks were never issued. The Monroe County Tax Claim Bureau reported that Penn Hills owed about $1.1 million in back taxes and was on a payment plan since 2006 to defray that debt. Portions of the property were sold at tax sale. In June of 2013, the remaining parcel was purchased for $25,000 at a repository sale by Penn Resort Investment, LLC, based in Jim Thorpe. According to newspaper reports, Stroud Township officials have been trying to get the new owners to secure the property.
Since declining into a state of abandonment, the resort, which was already in serious disrepair, has fallen victim to copper thieves, flooding, vandalism, and recent fires. According to newspaper reports from December 2014, there have been a total of 98 instances requiring a police response at the resort since its closure, because of suspicious circumstances, burglary, and theft. Stroud Township says if the current owners don’t cooperate, the township could eventually demolish the old resort and put a lien on the property.
Some of My Own Photos From That Location:
The Laugh with Abandonment Comedy Club
The Abandoned Gift Shop
The Abandoned Skating Rink
Guest Rooms (some don’t seem totally “abandoned”)
Abandoned Indoor Pool (no, that’s not ice)
Abandoned Indoor Poolside Bar
Cheri Sundra © 2015
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