2006 - The North End Hotel
"In 1911 the new North End Hotel was completed under the supervision of foreman Alfred Clark, Ocean Grove pioneer
builder. His album of photographs recording the progress of the construction is also in the archives of the HSOG.
During the following year the merry-go-round, Penny Arcade, shooting gallery, and other amusements were added along the Wesley Lake front. Alas, in 1978 I saw the venerable hotel torn down and the bath houses disappear. Surprisingly, one old relic of that era still remains.
During the construction of the hotel a little one-story tool shed with a unique tent-like sloping roof stood at the northeast corner of the new building and was presumed razed or moved away when the hotel construction was finished. Only recently (1994) was it discovered that the little tool shed had formerly been a boardwalk ticket office for the sale of tickets to the summer concerts in the Great Auditorium. Well over one hundred years old, this little ticket office-cum tool shed still survives as a little Victorian cottage at 47 Heck Avenue, its sloping tent-like roof still intact." - (From Memories of Ocean Grove - Recollections of an Octogenarian by Frederick A. Smith, Jr. Published by the Historical Society of Ocean Grove, 2002.)
During its heyday, the North End Hotel was the largest and most luxurious hostelry in Ocean Grove. It boasted numerous shops and restaurants, both fresh and salt water swimming pools, bath houses, an arcade with a merry-go-round, a shooting gallery and the Strand Theatre where family oriented movies were shown.
The hotel has access to the beach via bridges which crossed the boardwalk and tunnels which ran under it. Opposite the hotel, on the beach side, were restaurants, open air pavilions, a tea room and bath houses. The hotel also boasted elevators, electricity – a rare commodity at its building, and even telephones.
The hotel suffered a fire in March of 1938, but was spared from any major damage. Numerous storms and hurricanes also had their affect on the edifice, especially the pavilion on the beach side, however the hotel survived until its demolition in 1978. Today plans are in the works to reconstruct the hotel to its original specifications and exterior design. If approved, the building will be part hotel, part condominium with shops, restaurants and a theatre.
The HSOG's exhibit traces the North End Hotel from its glorious beginnings, its life as a major social and gathering spot in Ocean Grove, its luxurious accommodations and its final decline and demolition. The exhibit is filled with post cards, photographs, newspaper articles and memorabilia form the hotel. The exhibit is on display at the Museum of the Historical Society of Ocean Grove at 50 Pitman Avenue – Ocean Grove, NJ. For more information call 732.774.1869.