Sunday, September 24, 2006

Boring Postcards

[posted by Callimachus]

Two examples of the first generation of resort hotels in America.

Old Orchard House opened in 1837 in an old farm house and soon was serving summer vacationers from as far off as Montreal. The owners built a big new hotel for 300 guests. It burned down in 1875, but they replaced it with this 500-guest version.

As this photo shows, the idyllic view above is somewhat deceptive: The walkway runs down, not to the beach, but to the railroad station that brought the tourists to town.

Unlike most of the Jersey Shore postcards I show you, the building in this one is still there It's the sole survivor of the golden age of grand hotels on Long Beach Island. The "borough of Surf City" where it was built originally was a region known as "Great Swamp." You have to think the real estate prospects were improved by the name change.

The core of this old hotel seems to date back to the 1840s, and it was known as Harvey Cedars Hotel in its heyday in the late 1800s. This photo shows it as it was when the Philadelphia YWCA ran it as a women's vacation resort. The camp foundered in the Depression.