- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 1, 2005

MOUNT POCONO, Pa. — More than 80 heart-shaped bathtubs will be auctioned off this weekend, along with Engelbert Humperdinck’s gold-painted headboard and thousands of other items from the once-celebrated Mount Airy Lodge.

Closed since 2001 because of financial problems, Mount Airy now is boarded up and falling apart. Scranton businessman Louis DeNaples wants to sell just about everything that isn’t bolted down — and some things that are.

Auctioneer Bob Teel expects the sale Saturday and Sunday to attract antique dealers, hoteliers and restaurateurs, and nostalgia-seekers who stayed at Mount Airy, once the largest resort in the Poconos.

“This sale has generated tremendous interest, not only because of the items but because of the history,” he said.

Mount Airy had its heyday in the 1960s and ‘70s, when it grossed upward of $50 million per year and sold more liquor than any other licensee in Pennsylvania. Its catchy jingle — “Beautiful Mount Airy Lodge” — aired incessantly in the New York broadcast market.

The 1,200-acre resort “was really the class of the Northeast, never mind the Poconos,” said Dario Belardi, a retired Caesars executive.

Some of the biggest names in show business appeared there regularly, from Mr. Humperdinck to Bob Hope to Tony Bennett. Mr. Humperdinck always stayed in Room 519, outfitted especially for him with a sunken whirlpool tub, round bed, faux-gilded facade and billowing drapes.

“They were legendary. Every major star of the time appeared there,” Mr. Belardi said. “It’s unfortunate that time passed it by.”

The years have not been kind. Damaged ceiling tiles, peeling paint and faded carpeting line the hallways. Black water fills the Olympic-sized indoor pool. The entire place is damp and musty.

Mr. DeNaples recently bought the lodge for more than $25 million and is widely expected to apply for a slot-machine casino license.

Items to be sold include about 260 RCA 27-inch televisions, commercial-grade restaurant equipment, crystal chandeliers, disco balls, paddle boats and, of course, the heart-shaped bathtubs.

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