Posts Tagged ‘History of the Sampler Inn’

By Kathy Arlt, Contributing Writer  @Blogfinger   (2011.  Re-posted 2018)

Okay, I’ll admit it: I’ve been in Ocean Grove for so long that I can remember when The Sampler Inn cafeteria was still serving up three meals a day. I often took my houseguests there for breakfast, not just for the oatmeal and baked apples, but also for the samplers on the dining room walls.

I wonder what happened to all those samplers…but I know what happened to The Sampler Inn. It was demolished.

Of course, it didn’t look like this when the decision was made to tear it down. By then it had broken windows and holes in the porch floor; the flower boxes were long gone; the awnings, railings and signage had been stripped away. Surprisingly, however, it also didn’t look like this when it was built. In fact, it looked very different. There was no fourth floor or single-story side extension, and the roof wasn’t flat. The windows had shutters, the porch railings were wood, and there was lots of gingerbread. Then it was a hotel called The Aldine, and here’s what it looked like:

The Aldine wasn’t open very long before the owners of Lawrence House took it over, renamed it The Lawrence and started remodeling. Based on advertisements in the 1916 editions of the Ocean Grove Times, we know we can definitely thank them (or not) for the side extension, and perhaps for the addition of a fourth floor, too. But maybe this was the change the owners of The Sampler Inn boasted about in this 1923 ad:


LAWRENCE LEBO AND HER LITTLE BIG BAND:  From her album “Don’t Call Me Larry.”   (music added 2018)

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Internet photo.  Lines on Main Avenue for their home cooking. Undated Internet  photo.

Sampler Inn

The Sampler Inn was a famous cafeteria style restaurant and hotel on Main Avenue. It eventually went down hill and  then became a dangerous derelict structure.  For some time the neighbors, especially those on Heck Avenue, complained about the risks, smells, ugliness and unsanitary conditions at the building, both during its last days as an eatery and then thereafter.

In the photo below, the derelict house on the left eventually became #27 Heck Avenue, the address that now wants a car driveway on the right.

Heck Avenue rear view of the Sampler. Note the setup for trucks to pull in at the “driveway.”   It was a loading dock.  Photo 2009. By Daniel Beaman.

The Sampler was finally torn down by the Township in 2009.

Sampler site as seen looking from Main towards Heck. Note the sign that shows four houses to be built there. Blogfinger photo. Undated.

In 2012, Charles Layton wrote a long and  comprehensive article on Blogfinger about the Sampler’s history.  He featured interviews with residents who were involved in trying to deal with the Sampler’s problems.    I

Below is a link:


From the article linked above:   “After the Sampler’s destruction, the zoning of the site reverted to single-family homes. It is likely that such homes will be built there eventually.”

“Whatever goes up there,” Beaman (a neighbor)  said, “we’re not going to be afraid of it. And that’s the big thing.”

Blogfinger has no information regarding the 4 lot subdivision which should have been obtained at the Planning Board to turn that site into 4 lots. And what happened to the idea of 4 homes?



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