Posts Tagged ‘From the HSOG archives’

By Kathy Arlt, Contributing Writer @Blogfinger

A couple of months ago, after Charles Layton’s report that 35 Embury Avenue would more than likely be torn down, at least one commenter wondered why anyone should care about the loss of such an ugly, architecturally undistinguished building. No gingerbread graces its façade. Its original clapboard exterior was covered in siding at some point in its history. The windows are far from original. But who knows how grand it might have looked when it was built…in 1889?

In the course of archiving the Historical Society’s collection of photographs and documents, I’ve come across many examples of properties that appear vastly different today than when they were built. Sometimes the original structure burned down, and the property owners (or 99-year leaseholders, to be completely accurate) built “modern” homes, complete with driveways and garages. But often the owners just did some extreme remodeling—or “remuddling,” as the Old House Journal dubs itlong before Ocean Grove became a National Historic District and a Board of Architectural Review or Historic Preservation was created.

One example of this is 63 Cookman Avenue, which was originally a hotel called the Lane Villa. The first advertisement I could find for it appeared in the 1905 edition of the Ocean Grove Times.

Here’s an early photo of the Lane Villa:

A somewhat later photo is below. (How much later, unfortunately, is unknown, but based on the height of the trees, my guess would be twenty to thirty years.) As you can see, the hotel’s pennant is missing, the exterior painting appears less ornate, and some of the shutters have been removed.

And here is 63 Cookman today. It’s lost all its gingerbread, the peaked roof over the square turret, its upper porch, all the porch railings—even its collection of grass-strip trees. And oh yes: its covered in siding.

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By Kathy Arlt, contributing writer  @Blogfinger

School’s over; the beach is open every day. Visitors are arriving in Ocean Grove, and entrepreneurs are looking forward to a profitable season. One such gentleman, in 1875, was William Jimeson, who owned a hotel and a general store.

Mr. Jimeson was probably already exhausted when that summer began. He’d just finished renovating his hotel, the Osborn House, after moving the whole building to a new location (more about this next week).

Plus, he had to stock his general store, so that the more permanent seasonal visitors would have supplies. Check out the range of mattress materials: hair (probably horse), husk (probably corn) or excelsior (wood shavings).

So perhaps it’s no wonder that Mr. Jimeson found himself “prostrated from over-work” during the 1875 summer season. Happily though, by July 24th, the Ocean Grove Record reported he was feeling somewhat better.

We can only hope that Mr. Jimeson had a very profitable year.

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