Long time residents of the area may recall Jorgensen’s Inn, the large rambling country restaurant that served bounteous American fare in six antique‐filled dining rooms. It will be remembered as an attractive setting for travelers, skiers and local residents to relax and enjoy a leisurely dinner. In its heyday during the late 60s thru the early 80s Jorgensen’s was a far cry from the hot dog stand on the old Hamburg‐Paterson Turnpike that first bore the name – Lewis’ Hillside Villa over 90 years ago. To fully appreciate the history that led to Jorgensen’s, one has to return to around 1926, when George W. Lewis, son of James M. and Josephine Sisco Lewis, acquired a parcel of land formerly owned by Frances M. and George J. Rude.
This property was north of the lands of William G. Walker. George had a very spacious three-story frame dwelling built upon the land. His wife, Anne, soon created colorful gardens around the front of the house. George was a very industrious man who had visions of creating a complex to continue operating his repair shop and open a restaurant to accommodate tourists. With the advent of the automobile, Stockholm and the surrounding area was increasing in popularity as a destination for motorists traveling on Route 8. (present day State Highway No. 23) George systematically increased the size of the complex and in 1927, he purchased the Walker home and had it moved to his growing conglomerate of buildings. When the Patriotic Order Sons of America Hall property was sold to the City of Newark, he purchased that hall and had it moved to his growing enterprise.
After the careful footprint of structures was assembled, the repair shop and motorcycle garage was established in the renovated hall. George had gasoline pumps installed as this was becoming a need not only for the community, but to accommodate the many tourists who came through the area. It was the only gasoline pump in the vicinity between Franklin and Newfoundland. The complex also contained a general store and post office. The Post Office was moved from the old store in Stockholm to this site; Lewis was Post Master from Oct. 12, 1914, until his death in 1945. George also opened a restaurant on the site which became a popular attraction not only for the community but for the tourist trade and christened the operation with the name: Lewis’ Hillside Villa
Over many years of operation, improvements were made to the buildings. A picnic area, tennis court and swimming pool were added to complex. For many years, the businesses were successful; and he advertised by having postcards made. From the Walther Postcard Collection is this undated postcard. George Walther Lewis was born Dec. 6, 1885 and died Dec. 10, 1945. He married on June 15, 1909, Anna E. Gormley, born Aug. 9, 1886, died Aug. 22, 1974. Both were buried at Mt. Calvary Cemetery in Butler. They had three children: Leon W., Llawayne M., and Gerard C. Lewis.
Leon Walther Lewis, born Apr. 10, 1911 married on Sept. 17, 1938, Rosa B. Milan, born Mar. 26, 1918. He was an electrician and TV repairman. They lived in Lake Stockholm. Their children were: Georgeanna, born Sept. 25, 1941, married, later divorced, James Fernandez, their children were Lisa A., and Raymond L. Fernandez; Rita M., born June 1, 1945, married George D. Wildrick Sr., their children were George D. Wildrick Jr. and Jennifer; and Rosemary, born July 2, 1947, married Thomas H. Davies, Sr., and their children were Thomas H. Davies, Jr. and Patricia L. Davies. The author had several visits with Leon Lewis in February 1977. He graciously shared his family history and allowed the author to make copies from the family photo collection.
Llawayne Marie Lewis, born May 4, 1912, married Daniel Dietz, born Sept. 24, 1912 and their children were: Daniel Jr., Donald and Diann M. Dietz. Gerard Clifford Lewis, born May 27, 1913, married Alameda Flood born Apr. 10, 1918, they had no children. They lived at Lake Stockholm. Gerard C. Lewis provided a family tree of the Lewis family.
After George Lewis’ death, Anna sold the restaurant business to Mr. and Mrs. Martin McDonough in March 1946. Gerard Lewis served in World War II, and returned to Stockholm on June 21, 1948. He purchased the garage business from the McDonough’s. Gerard successfully operated the business until 1966 when he sold it to Ray Fowler. The title then passed to Richard Jorgensen. The Jorgensen’s remodeled the entire complex that was to be used solely as a restaurant. The restaurant has had successive owners who operated the restaurant.
© 2018 Beth Willis/ & The Family of Leon Lewis. Images & Text may not be reproduced without the permission of the author