LB hotels …
Magnificent seashore dwellings from a city’s glory days
I’m fascinated by the magnificent seashore hotels that sprawled along the Long Branch shoreline. Here are some fantastic images of the grand resorts that once blanketed the Long Branch coast — mostly back before the turn of the 20th century.
According to The Story of the Jersey Shore by Harold F. Wilson (1964), Long Branch was offering modest shorefront accommodations as early as 1805. The Allegheny House — a converted farmhouse at Broadway and Liberty Street — was the city’s largest hotel when it opened in 1846. James D. Wardell was the owner. It burned in 1866.
A natural bluff along the ocean coast provided a spectacular setting for these massive wooden public palaces. It was the age when Long Branch was the nation’s grandest vacation destination. And all classes of citizens enjoyed the beaches and the breezes.
At the peak of the Long Branch resort craze, a visitor could get a room including four large meals for $4 per day at the best hotels. But then things changed, like they always do — many of the city’s hotels fell victim to declining patronage and sadly to fire. By June 1909, Long Branch Daily Record publishers were stating that a “lack of sufficient hotels is Long Branch’s one great deficiency.”
Among the lost Long Branch lodging legends were the: Continental Hotel, Stetson House hotel, West End Hotel, Metropolitan Hotel, Howland Hotel, Mansion House hotel, Hollywood Hotel, Clarendon Hotel, United States Hotel, Elberon Hotel, Takanassee Hotel, Brighton Hotel, Scarboro Hotel, Pannaci Hotel, Vendone Hotel and Atlantic Hotel. It’s the sheer size of some of these places I can’t get over. Have a look:
Long Branch coast before major hotel development, 1857.
Hotels along Long Branch coast, Harper’s Weekly, August 1873.
Long Branch hotels along the coast, 1873 F.W. Beers map.
“On the Bluff at Long Branch” by Winslow Homer, 1870.
United States Hotel
United States Hotel on Ocean Avenue, 1861. Built in 1853 by Frederick Kennedy & Isaac Crater; they sold their interests in 1856 to John Crater.
Map of United States Hotel on Ocean Avenue between Morris and Chelsea Avenues, Atlas of Monmouth County, NJ 1889.
United States Hotel, 1867. When built it was: “an immense structure for its day.” — The New Jersey Coast in Three Centuries, 1902.
United States Hotel, 1875. Samuel Laird acquired the 300-room, 13-acre resort in 1868. He also owned the nearby Mansion House hotel.
United States Hotel, 1875.
United States Hotel sketch, 1858. When the property went up for auction in 1902, the Catholic University of America was the owner. By 1903 the property was divided into 36 building lots.
United States Hotel on the LB bluff, early 1900s. William Hayes was in charge of bathing at the US Hotel for many years. The hotel was torn down in 1902.
Continental Hotel, 1855. Business began in 1832 — with “Cooper’s House” which held 175 guests. The inn continued to grow and by 1855 it was called the National House. It grew more and became the Continental Hotel in 1866. And finally in 1872, it was the Ocean Hotel.
Continental Hotel, early 1900s. It all started out as the farm house of Dr. Elisha Perkins in 1831 — to become the largest hotel in the country in its day.
Continental Hotel, late 1800s. The massive hotel and property set along Ocean Avenue at the corner of Broadway attracted huge crowds.
Continental Hotel, 1867. When completed the hotel was a combination of thee buildings that stretched 700-feet along the oceanfront.
The Leland family took control in 1872 and made the hotel a success. Above is the massive hotel dinning hall (200 x 75 feet) during that summer. The hotel could accommodate up to 660 guests at $5 per day.
Continental Hotel, 1868. The hotel shut in 1903 and the city converted the area into a public park in 1905.
Continental Hotel, 1867. The main section was built by new owners C.C. Sprague & H.A. Stokes in 1866.
Asbury Park Press, July 1951. The dining room was the largest in the country.
Continental Hotel, 1900. In Sept. 1902, owner Samuel Prosky skipped out on his debts and the hotel never reopened.
Continental Hotel (then Ocean Hotel) highlights a busy Lower Broadway, Wolverton Atlas 1889.
Continental Hotel (then Ocean Hotel) on a tax map, 1875.
Ocean House hotel, 1895. Charles and Warren Leland sold the business in 1890 with the closing of Monmouth Park racetrack signifying the end of an era in Long Branch.
Howland Hotel on Ocean Avenue, 1903. Obadith Sairs built the original structure in 1811.
Howland Hotel, late 1800s. Henry Howland took over the hotel in 1842, expanded the operation to 350 rooms and ran it for 30 years.
Howland Hotel in West End, 1868. In 1878, Richard Dobbins acquired the property. According to a January 1923 Long Branch Daily Record story, among those to visit the hotel before the start of the Civil War were Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee and John C. Calhoun — infamous Confederates.
Howland Hotel, 1905. Considered to be the oldest of the big hotels operating along the oceanfront. In 1906 the property was acquired by David Elinsky.
New Howland Hotel on the corner of Ocean and Avery Avenues, 1930s. It was opened in Spring 1926 by Ben Wolfson.
Stetson House, 1868. The hotel was built by Cornelius Lane in 1832.
Stetson House. The first hotel at the shore to employ a band. Also first to have an elevator and telegraph service. President US Grant stayed here during his first Long Branch summer visit in 1869.
Stetson House hotel, 1880s. Charles A. Stetson, Jr. was the proprietor. The L-shaped hotel grew to 300 rooms in its day.
Stetson House hotel, 1867. One of the first images of this famous hotel. It was sold and renamed the West End Hotel in 1870.
Stetson House hotel, late 1800s. John V. Conover sold the property in 1865 for $60,000.
West End Hotel
West End Hotel, 1902. The hotel was run by father son, Morgan and Walter Hildreth for years.
West End Hotel, 1903. It burned in 1906.
West End Hotel (r), 1882. The Takanassee Hotel was later built on the site.
West End Hotel, 1905. It hosted six American Presidents.
Scenes from West End, 1881. At right is the West End Hotel and left are the West End Cottages (7 were built in 1880). It all was lost in a December 1913 fire.
West End Hotel, 1900.
Metropolitan Hotel, late 1880s. Built by Sam and Joe Cooper in 1854. Dr. Arthur Conover took full ownership in 1874; the hotel burned down in April 1876.
Metropolitan Hotel. The 12-acre resort was located at Cooper and Ocean Avenues. The hotel could accommodate up to 600 guests. Rates were $25 per week.
Metropolitan Hotel, 1868. The Brighton Hotel later covered the grounds.
Mansion House Hotel
Morris House. Built by Jacob Morris and opened in July 1846, it later became the Mansion House.
Mansion House on Ocean Avenue, 1868 (it’s now Pier Village). Samuel Laird took control of the hotel in 1852 and greatly expanded the business.
Mansion House sketch, 1863. The seaside hotel was considered the finest of its day. First Lady Mary Lincoln and her sons stayed here in grand fashion in August 1861. According to legend, John Wilkes Booth was a regular guest here and planned the president’s assassination at this hotel.
Mansion House hotel location, 1890 Sanborn Map.
Mansion House hotel, 1870s. After a December 1884 fire badly damaged the hotel, it was finally torn down to make way for a new pier in 1910 (George Gold owned the land).
Mansion House hotel location marker, 2011. Mrs. Lincoln so enjoyed her time at Long Branch she recommended it to the Grants.
Mansion House hotel, 1868.
Mansion House hotel, 1863.
Mansion House dining room, 1865. H.E. Gawtry and W.L. McIntyre owned the hotel when it burned in 1884.
What About These Long Branch Hotels?
While researching the history of Long Branch hotels, I found reference to several for which I could not locate images. These include: the Grand View Hotel, Murray’s Hotel, Fern’s Hotel, Waldorf Hotel, Union Hotel, Dalton Hotel, Rockwell Hotel, Stratton Hotel, Monmouth House, Bennett’s Hotel, Keller Hotel, Green’s Hotel, Bath Hotel, Conover House, Senate Hotel, Redmond House, and the Abbotsford Hotel. If anyone does know, please contact me HERE.
Clarendon Hotel, 1880s. The original structure, the Lane’s End hotel, was built by Richard Wardell in 1808. Hugh Manahan took control and expanded the hotel in 1835; he sold to Enoch Hendrickson in 1858.
Clarendon Hotel on the ocean, 1868. It stood on the southwest corner of Ocean Avenue and Broadway.
Elberon Hotel, 1889.
Elberon Hotel, 1900. Built by Charles Franklyn and Lewis B. Brown in 1876; it was wrecked in a November 1914 fire.
Elberon Hotel (l) and the Franklyn Cottage (where President Garfield died in 1881), early 1900s.
Elberon Hotel, early 1900s. President and Mrs. Garfield were said to have loved this spot and spent many pleasant days there.
Elberon Hotel, early 1900s. The grounds included the hotel and several large cottages for rental.
Elberon Hotel, early 1900s. (Edward Thomas Collection). Former US Senator James Smith, Jr. (D-NJ) bought the property in 1904 for $87,000.
New York Hotel
New York Hotel. Built in 1867 by Isaac Cooper along Branchport Creek. By 1873 the hotel was called the River Side House.
Takanassee Hotel in West End, 1908.
Takanassee Hotel, 1910s.
Takanassee Hotel, 1920s.
Takanassee Hotel, 1920s. The 150-room hotel was on the corner of Ocean and Brighton Avenue.
Takanassee Hotel, 1908. George Rainear acquired the hotel that year for $80,800 but former LB mayor and circuit court judge Wilbur Heisley was the “silent” owner; he died in 1934.
Takanassee Hotel, 1920s. Opened in July 1907; built at a cost of $300,000.
Takanassee Hotel, 1920s. It was built on the grounds of the old West End Hotel.
Takanassee Hotel, 1930s. The six-story hotel was torn down in the 1934.
Takanassee Hotel sketch, 1908.
Brighton Hotel, early 1900s. The Metropolitan Hotel had stood on the grounds until it burned in 1876.
Brighton Hotel, 1905. Russian-born Joseph Margolius ran the place for 25 years; he died in 1933.
Brighton Hotel, 1910. Also known as the the Ambassador Hotel, it burned in January 1929 and was rebuilt.
Brighton Hotel, 1910s.
Bel-Air Hotel on Brighton Avenue (previously the Brighton Hotel) just before it was torn down in March 1965. Harry Barsamian had acquired the hotel in 1953.
Brighton Hotel and Cocktail Lounge ad. Long Branch Daily Record, May 1941.
The Bel-Air Hotel in West End (previously the Brighton Hotel) is torn down. Long Branch Daily Record, March 1965.
Central Hotel on Third Avenue. Built in the 1870s, it later became the beginnings of Monmouth Medical Center.
Scarboro Hotel, 1920s.
Scarboro Hotel. The first of two was built in 1882. The first hotel was set up by Richard Dobbins who used building remnants from the Centennial International Exhibition of 1876 (America’s first official World’s Fair) held in Philadelphia.
Hotel Scarboro, 1934. In 1917, the hotel was acquired by Louis and “Beck” Shapiro and greatly reconfigured. The family would run the establishment for the next 25 years.
Hotel Scarboro postcard, early 1900s.
Scarboro Hotel, 1935. The 200-room, four-story hotel was located at Ocean and S. Bath Avenues.
Scarboro Hotel, early 1900s.
Scarboro Hotel with city firefighters, 1919.
Scarboro Hotel. When it burned in September 1941, it was the last of the grand city hotels.
Norman Mailer – Scarboro Hotel plaque dedication , 2017. A city native and Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Mailer lived at the hotel, which was owned by his family.
The Scarboro Hotel, 1908.
The Scarboro Hotel, early 1900s.
Hotel Pannaci, 1908.
Hotel Pannaci. Built in 1868, it was originally Iauch’s Hotel.
Hotel Pannaci, 1906. It was torn down in November 1934.
Hotel Pannaci, 1907. On Ocean Avenue near North Bath Avenue.
Hotel Pannaci, 1924. Italian-born Gernando Pannaci acquired the hotel in 1898 for $41,250 and ran it until his death in April 1923.
Hollywood Hotel, early 1900s. Located at the southeast corner of Hoey and Cedar Avenues.
Hollywood Hotel, 1940s. The original hotel was built by John Hoey in 1882. He was president of the Adams Express Company.
Hollywood Hotel, 1905. Wrecked by one major fire in July 1926, it was rebuilt. Only to burn again for good in March 1961. At the time of both fires, the hotel was undergoing major upgrades.
Hollywood Hotel postcard, early 1900s. The hotel had 118 guest rooms.
Hollywood Hotel, 1907. The legend is that the community near Los Angeles, California was named after the Long Branch hotel.
Hollywood Hotel, 1905.
Hollywood Hotel pool area, 1930s.
Hollywood Hotel postcard.
Hollywood Hotel pool area, 1950s.
Hollywood Baths, part of the Hollywood Hotel in West End, 1905. The first Hollywood Baths were opened on July 4, 1890 by John Hoey and shut in 1930.
Hollywood Hotel postcard.
Hollywood Hotel, 1946. The hotel was acquired by RST Reality Corp (Irving Cohen was president) in 1951.
Hollywood Hotel on Cedar Avenue, burned in a March 1961 fire.
Atlantic Hotel, East End Hotel, and Arlington House
Atlantic Hotel in North Long Branch. Built by Aaron Christaler in 1862; the hotel could accommodate 250 guests. The area is now Seven President’s Park.
The East End Hotel in North Long Branch. Built by Jay Gould and Jim Fisk, it opened in June 1872. Sometimes the place was called the “Grand Excursion House.” A pier and train depot were also built nearby. The area is now Seven President’s Oceanfront Park.
Arlington House hotel, 1879. Hit by a major storm in 1880, the doors shut in 1881. John Hoey bought the property and used the lumber to build the Hollywood Hotel. Upon Hoey’s death, his estate sold the land to Nate Salisbury, who built “The Reservation.” The area is now Seven President’s Park.
Florence Hotel on Ocean Avenue. Built in 1879 by Richard Dobbins, it later became the Star Hotel. It had 44 guest rooms and was owned by Woehrs and Strause families. Annie Oakley was a frequent guest here. By May 1935 it was condemned and torn down.
Green’s Third Avenue Hotel, 1909.
Lenox Hotel, 1903. Located on the corner of Ocean Avenue and Broadway. In August 1916, Bryan Kennelly sold it to John Wilson for $10,500.
Dalton Hotel on the corner of Brighton and Sairs Avenues, 1909.
Manahassett Hotel, 1905. The Manahasset Park Association had begun development of the area in 1894.
APP page one story about the burning of the old Manahasset Hotel, Feb. 1929.
Hotel Phelando at Chelsea and Ocean Avenues, 1911. Constructed in the 1880s, the hotel was closed down in 1935.
Hotel Phelando, 1912. By this time the hotel had 150 guest rooms and a restaurant that seated 250.
Hotel Phelando. Long Branch Daily Record, 1915. Rosa Pollock ran the hotel for years.
Hotel Ocean Plaza
Hotel Ocean Plaza, 1914.
Newing Hotel on Broadway near Norwood Avenue, 1909. Archie Newing, a city commissioner, ran the place for years. The hotel closed in 1922 and was made into separate businesses.
St. James Hotel
St. James Hotel on Second Avenue, 1909.
Fucci’s Hotel on Ocean Avenue, 1940s.
The original Atlantic Hotel, 1911. Known as the Pavilion Hotel when built by Samuel Morris and Isaac Levy in 1851, it was bought by Richard Dobbins in 1879 and renamed the Atlantic Hotel.
Atlantic Hotel, 1908. Simon Glaser acquired the property in 1907 for $18,000.
Atlantic Hotel, early 1900s.
Atlantic Hotel, 1920. On Ocean Avenue. The Katz and famiy ran the hotel for years.
Atlantic Hotel, 1910s.
Atlantic Hotel, 1921. Located on the corner of Ocean and Morris Avenues, it was destroyed by an August 1925 fire.
New Atlantic Hotel. Rebuilt in 1926.
New Atlantic Hotel, 1930s.
Taft Hotel on Cooper and Grant Avenues, 1910. It burned down in Sept. 1945. Louis Silk ran the hotel.
L. Rothenberg’s Hotel on Ocean Avenue. Built in 1910, burned in the 1930s.
Hotel Milborne on Bath Avenue, 1920s. The hotel burned in 1938.
Vendome-Plaza Hotel, 1924. Opened in 1920, the three-story hotel at Ocean and Avery Avenues was badly damaged by fire in July 1962.
Vendome-Plaza Hotel, 1930s.
Vendome-Plaza Hotel, 1924.
Vendome-Plaza Hotel, 1908.
Vendome-Plaza Hotel, 1920s.
Vendome-Plaza Hotel tear down. APP, October 1963.
Bridgewater Inn at Pleasure Bay Park, 1905.
Wardell’s Hotel in Pleasure Bay, 1923.
Wardell & Son’s Port-au-Peck Hotel at Pleasure Bay, 1906.
Garfield-Grant Hotel, 1920s. The hotel struggled form the start and by the end of 1936 was in receivership.
Garfield-Grant Hotel at the corner of Broadway and 5th Avenue. Built in 1926, it had 100 guest rooms.
Garfield-Grant Hotel, 1958. Designed by New York architect, William Van Alen, who is known for his work on the NYC skyscraper, the Chrysler Building.
Garfield-Grant Hotel, 1960. Today the building houses business offices and the city’s municipal court. The Monmouth County District Court first opened here in Sept. 1966.
Garfield-Grant Hotel around the time of its opening. Long Branch Daily Record, Sept. 1925. Construction cost was $40,000.
American Hotel, 1865.
Landmark Hotel at Five Corners, 1970s.
Fountains of Long Branch Motel, 1960s.
Fountains Motel on Ocean Avenue, 1970s.
Stef’s Court Motel
Stef’s Court Motel, 1980s. On the corner of Ocean and Morris Avenues.
Ocean Court Motel, 2000s.
Ocean Place Hotel
Ocean Place hotel, 2014. The $45 million hotel’s 7-acre grounds at the foot of Broadway had been the President James A. Garfield Park until 1987.
Ocean Place Hilton hotel on the boardwalk, 1994. Ground was broken for the landmark oceanfront 250-room hotel in November 1988. The initial developers — William J. Maloney, Sr. and Jr. — had acquired the hotel property from the city for $1.6 million.
Ocean Place Spa & Resort, 2019. The Olympus Real Estate Corp acquired the property in June 1998.
Wave Resort & Hotel on the boardwalk, 2019. The 6-story, 67-room beauty was built by Jared Kushner’s company. A room at the boutique, oceanfront hotel in the heart of Pier Village starts at $545.
The Bungalow Hotel in Pier Village at Ocean Avenue and Laird Street, 2010s.
Pennsylvania Club, 1905.
New York Club, 1905.
Johnson Club House, 1905.
Phil Daly’s Club House, 1905.
West End Shore Club, 1910.
Club San Remo on Ocean Avenue, 1930s.
Club San Remo on Ocean Avenue, 1950s.