The Columbus Hotel, located at St. James Place and Pacific Avenue, was originally built by the Knights of Columbus in 1927. The organization operated it as a hotel until some time during the Great Depression, when it was sold to another hotelier. The building continued to operate under the same name as a regular hotel until 1969, when it and the neighboring Flanders Hotel were converted into retirement homes. The Columbus continued to advertise itself as a “Hotel,” however, catering to elderly clientele and providing them with meals included in their lodging fees. Columbus Hotel operated until 1985. In 2011, the building was scheduled for demolition. However, as different buyers have shown an interest in the property, it is still standing today. H009.KnightsofColumbusColumbusHotel
 IMG 3096  A postcard image of the Columbus Hotel, undated.
From the Atlantic City Heritage Collections, H009.KnightsofColumbusColumbusHotel.
 The Columbus Hotel, photographed in 2011 when it was slated for demolition.
From the Atlantic City Heritage Collections
 

 

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

Local History Subject Files – Hotels
City Directories
Telephone Directories

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Congress Hall was erected in 1855 at Massachusetts and Pacific Avenues. Its builder and first proprietor was Thomas Garrett, a Tax Collector who also served as Atlantic City’s Mayor for one year. Unsatisfied with the hotel’s lack of profit, he soon sold it to George W. Hinkle. Hinkle extended the property further along Pacific Avenue, to what was then called Congress Alley. Under his ownership, the hotel was described as “one of the most popular houses in the city,” flourishing, curiously, as a “center of fashion during the summer months.” As newer hotels were built in Atlantic City, closer to the popular Boardwalk and with modern accommodations like private baths and electricity, Congress Hall’s business dwindled. In 1898, the building was removed from the site and its land sold off in plots.   H.Bk.974.985Eng.160
 

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

 A lithograph depiction of Congress Hall, undated.
From the Atlantic City Heritage Collections, H.Bk.974.985Eng.160.

 

 

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Although now officially operating as Bally’s, the Dennis Hotel is one of the oldest names on the Boardwalk. In 1860, only six years after the founding of Atlantic City, schoolteacher William Dennis built a two-room summer cottage for himself on the beach at Michigan Avenue. After relatives caught wind of Dennis’s ideal vacation spot, more and more of them came down to visit, forcing Dennis to continually expand the cottage until it reached 22 rooms in 1864. After opening it to paying guests for three years, Dennis decided to get out of the boarding house business, and sold his property in 1867. The new owners, the Buzby family, would continue to operate the Dennis Hotel for over 100 years. The wooden structure of the Dennis kept growing, at one point reaching 40 rooms, until new construction was done in fireproof brick. The Dennis’s North Tower, which still stands today, was completed in 1911, while the South Tower was finished in 1925. The hotel has seen many interesting guests during its long tenure on the Boardwalk, including Helen Keller, Alexander Graham Bell, John Wanamaker, and the US Army, when it was occupied along with many other Atlantic City hotels during World War II. In 1975, it was sold along with its neighbors, the Marlborough and Blenheim hotels, to Bally’s, in speculation that casino gaming would soon be legalized in Atlantic City. It was soon determined that the Marlborough and Blenheim were too impractical and costly to renovate for the casino era. While they were razed in favor of a new structure, the Dennis was spared from the wrecking ball, receiving a complete makeover to accommodate Bally’s hotel guests. It served as the complex’s main hotel until Bally’s completed their pink glass tower in 1989, becoming the first casino in Atlantic City to have over 1,000 guest rooms available. The “Dennis Wing,” as it is known today, is still open for hotel guests, and also houses Harry’s Oyster Bar, a new establishment operated by the same family that runs the over 100 year-old Dock’s Oyster House. Thus, Atlantic City history is alive and well in the form of the Dennis, and looks to continue to be for years to come.   H009.647.94Den161
 dennis  This early 1900s photo of the Dennis shows some features which are still recognizable on the building today, despite additions that were made in the 1920s.
From the Atlantic City Heritage Collections, H009.647.94Den161.
 The Dennis Hotel in December 2014.  

 

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 – Bally’s Hotel Casino

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The Elwood Hotel is one of the most well-known structures in Atlantic City, though not under its original name. It has received acclaim from both locals and tourists for the past 30 years as the Irish Pub, a popular restaurant and hangout spot located at 164 St. James Place. The six-story brick Elwood Hotel first opened in 1903. During Prohibition, it became a noted speakeasy, where alcohol flowed freely without any regard for secrecy. This open attitude led to the Elwood’s inclusion in a 1920 raid where $100,000 of illegal liquor was seized from 19 establishments throughout the city. The Elwood’s patrons were so loyal and incensed by the incident that they supposedly followed the federal agents outside and beat them up! The Elwood continued operations under its original name until 1967, when it became Feeley’s Hotel. In 1972, Cathy and Richard Burke purchased bar space in the hotel and opened the Irish Pub. The Pub and Feeley’s Hotel operated together until 1978, when the Burkes became sole owners of the property. They retained many features original to the hotel, such as the Pub’s cherry wood bar and the hotel’s key rack. The Inn at the Irish Pub, which still provides accommodations today, is the only hotel in Atlantic City to still have its original key rack. The vintage vibe of the Irish Pub is also provided by numerous old photographs lining the walls of the restaurant, including many of Joe DiMaggio, who often stayed in the building during his visits to Atlantic City.

 
 H050.ElwoodHotelNoDate
 irish pub  An undated postcard showing the Elwood Hotel exterior and interior.
From the Atlantic City Heritage Collections, H050.ElwoodHotelNoDate.
 The Irish Pub in December 2014.  

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

City Directories
Press of Atlantic City, articles dating from March 13, 2012; April 5, 2012; and February 28, 2013

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The Flanders Hotel, at 127 St. James Place, originally opened in 1902. For the majority of its history, it was owned and operated by the Yon Family. Originally, the hotel complex consisted of multiple buildings, until a renovation in 1930 led Jessie Yon to demolish some of the old structures and build a new one. The Flanders continued hotel operations until the 1960s, when Arthur and Isabella Yon sold the building. It was then operated as a nursing home “hotel” for elderly guests, until 1996, when the business was finally shuttered and its remaining residents relocated. The building remained vacant for many years, even partially collapsing in 2005. In 2010, the Flanders was purchased by the Claremont company, who began renovations on the building with the hope of reopening it as a hotel. However, despite receiving a facelift, the building remains closed today.  H049.FlandersHotel002 
 

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

City Directories
Local History Subject Files - Hotels

  An undated postcard showing the Flanders Hotel.
From the Atlantic City Heritage Collections, H049.FlandersHotel002.

 

 

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