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The Albemarle was built by Walter Zimmerman in 1892 at Virginia and Pacific Avenues. Originally, the site had been home to the Tremont House, a small boarding house, which Zimmerman had razed to replace with his 92-room structure. Due to the Albemarle’s proximity to Steel Pier, many performers stayed there over the years. Rosemary Clooney spent some time at the hotel in the 1940s. During this decade and the 1950s, the Albemarle was owned by the Brennen family, and the hotel also housed a Sun Ray drugstore in its Pacific Avenue corner section. As Atlantic City’s tourism industry declined in the mid-20th century, however, so did the Albemarle. It was condemned and torn down in 1970.  H049.647.94Alb004 3 
 

For more information, see these resources in the Atlantic City Free Public Library, Atlantic City Heritage Collections:

Local History Subject Files - Hotels
City Directories

 A 1910 postcard view of the Albemarle Hotel.
From the Atlantic City Heritage Collections, H049.647.94Alb004_3.

 

 

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The Ambassador first opened in 1919 with a 200-room facility, which was accompanied by a new 500-room addition in 1921. The building was constructed at a cost of $7.5 million, and due to the new Volstead Act, was one of the few hotels in Atlantic City to be built without a bar. Like other hotels in the city during Prohibition, however, alcohol was consumed in one way or another. There is even one report that local political boss Nucky Johnson once occupied the Ambassador’s Santa Barbara Bungalow. The Ambassador finally got its bar in 1933, famously shaped like a horseshoe. In its heyday, the Ambassador housed the Paul Whiteman orchestra, which featured future star Bing Crosby in some of his first professional singing engagements. Its indoor swimming pool, one of the first in the city, served as practice grounds for both the Atlantic City High School and the Ambassador “Mermaids” women’s swimming club. The Ambassador was occupied by the US Military from 1942-1945, and, in the waning tourism climate that followed, changed hands several times. It had been closed for a significant amount of time before being reopened 1964 in order to house members of the press coming to cover the Democratic National Convention. The poor state of the hotel, and many other aging facilities in Atlantic City, received prominent news coverage, highlighting the city’s decline. After remaining shuttered for 10 years, the Ambassador was finally sold for the last time for only $900,000 in 1977, as casino gambling was poised to begin in Atlantic City. Ramada Inns looked to transform the Ambassador into a casino modeled after the Tropicana Resort in Las Vegas. However, New Jersey Governor Brendan Byrne had been disparaging of the fact that many “new” casinos in Atlantic City were really just quick fixes of older hotel structures. Therefore, the new Tropicana casino was constructed in an unusual manner, in which the Ambassador was stripped down to its steel supports, which were then reused to build the new structure. The Tropicana opened in 1981.  H049.647.94Amb005 
 

 

For more information, see these resources in the Atlantic City Free Public Library, Atlantic City Heritage Collections:

Local History Subject Files – Hotels
Local History Subject Files – Tropicana Casino

 A 1923 postcard shows the Ambassador Hotel.
From the Atlantic City Heritage Collections, H049.647.94Amb005.

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Most accounts of Atlantic City’s history agree that the island’s first hotel opened in 1839 at what later became Baltic and Massachusetts Avenues. Before Atlantic City’s incorporation in 1854, the principal residents of Absecon Island were the Leeds family. Although visitors to the area were few in the early days, the presence of tradesman and oystermen convinced the family to open a tavern to serve them. Chalkley S. Leeds, the son of the island’s first settler Jeremiah and Atlantic City’s first mayor, later recalled, “…I built the Atlantic House, which I think was the first hotel ever erected on this beach. I added two wings to our old homestead, one being a three-story structure, 36 by 24, and the other a two-story addition, making about 15 rooms altogether.” This boarding house was operated by Jeremiah Leeds’ widow, “Aunt Millie” Leeds, until about 1853, when it was sold to the Camden & Atlantic Railroad Company. The railroad men, eager to establish a health and recreation resort on the island, were buying up the Leeds family’s land at the price of $17.50 an acre. Its role as a lodging establishment in the new Atlantic City is unknown, but it did serve as the city's first post office from 1854-1856. An entry in an 1875 business directory lists it under Atlantic City Hotels, though notes that it is unoccupied. Although Aunt Millie’s boarding house did not have a history as esteemed as some other early Atlantic City hotels, it still holds a place in history as the first lodging establishment on the island.  H009.647.94Old163 
 H.Bk.974.985Hal.231  This image has been labeled as Atlantic City's "oldest hotel" in books dating back to the first decade of the 20th century. However, its described location does not match that of the Atlantic House. It is possible that this was another of the Leeds' family's properties, and was the oldest hotel still standing at the time this photograph was published.
From the Atlantic City Heritage Collections, H009.647.94Old163.
 Another possibility for the Atlantic House is this image, described as the home of Chalkley Leeds. Given how long it has been since the hotel
disappeared from the city landscape, however,  a definitive answer may never be found.
From the Atlantic City Heritage Collections, H.Bk.974.985Hal.231.
 

For more information, see these resources in the Atlantic City Free Public Library, Atlantic City Heritage Collections:

Local History Subject Files – Hotels
“Annals of Absegami, Vol. 2” Heston Coll. 974.984Hes
City Directory - 1875
“Book of the Boardwalk,” Heston Coll. 974.985But

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Attuck’s was a Northside hotel located at 1120 Drexel Avenue, which catered to Atlantic City’s Black visitors and tourists. In the days before the Civil Rights Act, the Northside served as a thriving Black neighborhood in the segregated city. Attuck’s Hotel was opened the early 1930s by Charles C. Attuck. Later, Charles A. Aerie took over ownership. In 1957, the name was changed to Street’s Hotel by the new manager, Harry Overton. By 1961, the address was known as Town House, operating as “Furnished Rooms” by Mrs. Nadine Carpenter. In 1964, it became Lee Davis Hotel, and then Herman’s Hotel in 1966. Herman’s hotel continued to operate until 1973 under the new address of 1124 Drexel Avenue, until being converted into private residences the following year.   H.Book.BoardofTrade1939.AttucksHotel
 

For more information, see these resources in the Atlantic City Free Public Library, Atlantic City Heritage Collections:

City Directories
Board of Trade publications
“Northside Businesses”
staff research

 An advertisement for Attuck's Hotel which appeared in the 1939 Atlantic City Board of Trade publication.
From the Atlantic City Heritage Collections, H.Book.BoardofTrade1939.AttucksHotel

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The Bedloe House was one of Atlantic City’s first hotels, already open for business when the city was incorporated in 1854. Two years prior, Thomas Bedloe, an Irishman living in Philadelphia, caught wind of the new plan to built a railroad from the city to the Jersey shore. Eager to take advantage of the tourism industry that would result, Bedloe made his way to Absecon Island with enough cash to build a hotel at Massachusetts and Atlantic Avenues. He was issued the first hotel and liquor licenses in Atlantic City, but the fact that the railroad had not yet been finished meant that all building materials for the Bedloe House had to be brought to the island by schooners. Once Atlantic City established itself as a prominent vacation resort, the Bedloe became popular as well. It existed for nearly fifty years before it was torn down in 1902. Almost all of Atlantic City’s original hotels met the same fate at the turn of the twentieth century.   H084.Souvenir003
 

For more information, see these resources in the Atlantic City Free Public Library, Atlantic City Heritage Collections:

Local History Subject Files – Hotels
City Directories
“Annals of Absegami, Vol. 2” Heston Coll. 974.984Hes

 In this 1889 image, the Bedloe House is one of many hotels lining the wide, unpaved Atlantic Avenue at center. The Bedloe is the white building directly across Atlantic Avenue from the Hotel Albion.
From the Atlantic City Heritage Collections, H084.Souvenir003.

 

 

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