Dunmorean of the Month: Jim Mecca

Dunmorean of the Month - Jim Mecca photo

Jim Mecca and his wife Georgette are shown on the night he was installed as Commodore of The Scranton Canoe Club in 2013. All new incoming Commodores receive a traditional red jacket.

Jim Mecca, whose  family dates back to the late 1800’s in Dunmore, loves his hometown — but he is also a big fan of the Scranton Canoe Club located a Lake Winola.

He and his wife Georgette have been members at the Canoe Club since 2003, and are anxious to spread the word about its activities, particularly as the club has just announced a spring promotion to open the golf course from April 9-13 to non-members who are interested in taking on the Canoe Club course.  

Jim, who grew up on Smith Street, and now lives in the Swinick Development, is a retired pharmaceutical representative and his wife is retired from the Howard Gardner School.   The Meccas have a place at Lake Winola and spend most of their  time there and at the Canoe Club during the summer.

Jim served as a member of the board of the Scranton Canoe Club for 10 years and was elected Commodore of the Club in 2013.

He is especially excited to note that another Dunmore resident has joined the staff at The Canoe Club. Michael Bodner of Dunmore has accepted the position of Executive Chef at the Club.

Mecca says, “Michael had previously been the Executive Chef at Patsel’s since its opening.  Our members will be looking forward to welcoming the new Chef and partaking of the interesting new entrees that he will present.”

The proud Dunmorean likes to point out that the club at Lake Winola has a long history of outdoor activity, dating back to the early 1900s.

It was in that time frame that a group of canoeists from Scranton would make the train ride to Wyoming County to spend the day canoeing on the crystal clear waters of Lake Winola,” Jim explains.

“Eventually, in 1908,  the group assembled at the Scranton YMCA and formally submitted a charter of incorporation as The Scranton Canoe Club.”

The final charter was granted in early 1909.

Dunmorean of the Month - Canoe Club pic, can be used with Mecca storyMecca notes that by the early 1920’s, interest in canoeing was waning and golf had found its way across the pond from Scotland and was becoming popular on the East Coast.  

The membership of the Club was also changing and in 1924 work was started on recently purchased land across from the clubhouse for a new golf course.

At this point in time, there was only one other Country Club in the area, Glen Oak CC., which was formed in 1911, after a group had taken over the Pickwick Country Club.  Scranton Country Club would follow with a course in 1926.

“In 1924, a seven hole course was completed. Players would play Nos. 1 to 7 twice and then play Nos 1 through 4 to complete their eighteen holes,” Jim says. As the Club took on new members and there was considerable play on the course, the Directors added another two holes to complete the nine hole layout.

“Today, the course is much like it was then, but the ashes and maples have matured and they give the course the appearance that it was carved out of a stand of trees as the growth has given the fairways a distinctive form and shape,” Mecca points out.  Sand traps have been added to a few holes to make this executive course a bit more challenging. Recently, the Club purchased a home and remodeled it into a fully equipped Pro Shop and office for the resident Pro.

The original shed that just stored canoes, has evolved into a modern up-to-date facility on the shores of Lake Winola that meets the needs of its members.  With its wraparound porch, members and guests can dine overlooking Lake and the countryside that surround it. A full service kitchen can accommodate small parties and weddings in the banquet room or outdoors on the landscaped grounds.

But, the Clubhouse aside, it’s the executive nine-hole golf course that overlooks the Lake, that’s the focal point of the Club. The course fits the needs of its golfing members, both young and old alike, their wives and children.  “Whether you want to play at a leisurely pace with friends or family, or take in a quick nine holes after work or on a weekend morning – the course is there for playing golf,” Mecca says.

“The Scranton Canoe Club is certainly one of the best kept secrets in Northeastern Pennsylvania,” Mecca insists..  “Believe it or not, there are people who, when they hear the name make no association to golf. But once you’ve experienced the scenic views of the course, the Clubhouse and the lake, you won’t give canoeing another thought.”

Anyone interested in taking advantage of the April promotion should just call the Pro Shop starting April 2 at 570-378-9982 to arrange for a tee time.

For more information about the Canoe Club or Membership, visit the web site at www.scrantoncanoeclub.com.

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