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Pine Beach Association

Pine Beach Association Collection

1922-1980
1 box 0.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 666
Depiction of Woman on a zip line at Lake Rohunta, ca.1925
Woman on a zip line at Lake Rohunta, ca.1925

Founded in Athol, Mass., prior to1922, the Pine Beach Association operated a summer resort on the northern end of Lake Rohunta, a 383-acre reservoir owned largely by the Rodney Hunt Company. Recognizing the touristic and recreational opportunities, the Association built Pine Beach into a facility that included the Rohunta Inn (the former Elm Lodge Clubhouse), a restaurant, camping facilities, and a lifeguard-patrolled swimming area with water slides and other recreational facilities, all with the intent of becoming the “leading inland bathing beach of New England.” Although the hurricane of 1938 washed away Rodney Hunt’s dam and hydroelectric station, Pine Beach remained a popular destination, freely available to the company’s employees. In the 1980s, the properties were sold to the not-for-profit Lake Rohunta Beach Association, an association of 15 residential properties.

This small collection contains postcards, photographs, and ephemeral material relating to the Pine Beach Association, concentrated in its early years.

Background on Pine Beach Association

Founded in Athol, Mass., prior to 1922, the Pine Beach Association operated a summer resort on the northern end of Lake Rohunta. The history of the Association can be traced back to the decision of the Rodney Hunt Company to acquire property with water rights at Partridgeville, Mass., and to rename the adjoining lake Lake Rohunta, a portmanteau of the company name. In 1908, Rodney Hunt built a hydroelectric plant there to power their factories in the nearby town of Orange.

With the development of the Mohawk Trail as a scenic motorway after World War I and the expansion of regional tourism, the Pine Beach Association developed Pine Beach into a summer resort pitched directly to motor tourists. At its peak in the 1920s and early 1930s, Pine Beach, situated on the northern end of Lake Rohunta, included the Rohunta Inn (the former Elm Lodge Clubhouse), the Colony Cottages, a restaurant, camping facilities, and a lifeguard-patrolled swimming area with a high dive, water slide, and other recreational amenities. As stated in their early promotional brochures, the goal for Pine Beach was to become a “leading inland bathing beach of New England.”

The resort was heavily damaged in the hurricane of 1938, which washed away the dam and power station, and it was five years before reconstruction was completed. Pine Beach remained a popular destination, freely available to Rodney Hunt employees for another three decades. In the 1980s, the properties were sold to the not-for-profit Lake Rohunta Beach Association, a private association of 15 residential properties.

Contents of Collection

This assemblage of postcards, photographs, and ephemera documents the efforts of the Pine Beach Association from the 1920s through 1980s to operate a lakeside resort in Western Massachusetts. The earliest materials in the collection reflect the ambitious origins of the Association and its attempts to capitalize on the boom in regional tourism, especially automobile tourism, with the brochures and postcards apparently directed to a general audience of summer vacationers. Most of later materials are photographs from annual outings of the Rodney Hunt Company employees between 1959 and 1980.

Collection inventory

Ephemera: ‘New Rohunta dam nears completion,’ Orange Enterprise and Journal
1943 Aug. 26
Box 1: 4
Ephemera: Rohunta Frolic [Halloween Frolic]
1928
Box 1: 5
ca.1925
2 menus
Box 1: 6
ca.1925
2 gelatin silver prints
Box 1: 7
ca.1922
4 gelatin silver prints
Box 1: 8
ca.1925
Gelatin silver prints
Box 1: 9
1922
1 gelatin silver prints
Box 1: 10
ca.1930-1935
Gelatin silver prints
Box 1: 11
Photographs: Pine Beach outing
1959
Gelatin silver prints
Box 1: 13
1963
Gelatin silver prints
Box 1: 14
1964
Gelatin silver prints
Box 1: 15
Photographs: Pine Beach outing
1965
35mm negatives
Box 1: 16
Photographs: Pine Beach outing
1969
35mm negatives
Box 1: 17
1970
35mm negatives
Box 1: 18
Photographs: Pine Beach outing
1971
35mm negatives
Box 1: 19
1980
Color prints
Box 1: 20
Photographs: Pine Beach outing
0000
Gelatin silver prints
Box 1: 21
Photographs: Swimmers at Lake Rohunta
1922
Gelatin silver prints
Box 1: 22
ca.1925
Real photo postcards
Box 1: 23
ca.1925
Real photo postcards
Box 1: 24
ca.1925
Real photo postcards
Box 1: 25
ca.1925
Real photo postcards
Box 1: 26
ca.1925
Real photo postcards
Box 1: 27
ca.1925
Real photo postcards
Box 1: 28

Administrative information

Access

The collection is open for research.

Language:

English

Provenance

Gift of the Harris Family, 2010.

Digitized content

Selected images have been digitized and are available online through SCUA’s digital repository, Credo.

Related Material

Photographs

Labor

Manufacturing

Western Massachusetts

Processing Information

Processed by I. Eliot Wentworth, Nov. 2017.

Copyright and Use (More informationConnect to publication information)

Cite as: Pine Beach Association Collection (MS 666). Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries.

Gift of the Harris family, 2010.

Subjects

Athol (Mass.)--HistoryHotels--Massachusetts--AtholLake Rohunta (Mass.)Picnics--Massachusetts--AtholRodney Hunt Machine Company--Employees--RecreationSummer resorts--Massachusetts--OrangeTaverns (Inns)--Massachusetts--Athol

Types of material

Photographs

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