Posts Tagged ‘Tali Esen Morgan’

Front parlor: Tali-Esen sat at his grand piano (left side, by the windows) while Caruso stood in front of the fireplace. All photos by Paul Goldfinger

By Paul Goldfinger and Eileen Goldfinger (home, garden and food editor @Blogfinger)

1906 was a marvelous year for Ocean Grove and the Camp Meeting  Association.  The town attracted  huge crowds to the summer events.  Photographs of the era showed  wall to wall people at the beaches and bathing pavilions.  The Great Auditorium,  with its 10,000 seat capacity, was one of the first mega-churches, but it also was the home of  incredible musical events, with spectacular performances by stars such as John Phillip Sousa and Enrico Caruso.   A well known impresario named Tali Esen Morgan was the man responsible for these ambitious programs which included a children’s chorus of 1000 voices and a 63 piece orchestra.  He also was in the process of having the Hope-Jones organ installed in the GA— an important event in the town’s history. The organ made its debut in 1908.

Tali Essen Morgan was a man with big ideas who loved to entertain, and it was in 1906 that he built his magnificent  home at 51 Abbott Avenue on a double lot.  The design  reflected his grandiose personality.  It was one of the largest and most beautifully appointed homes in OG, with a layout  that was perfect for receiving guests.

Oral history tells us that in c. 1910,  Enrico Caruso, the famous tenor, was in town for a concert at the GA.  Prior to the event, a group of people gathered in the  Morgan  front parlor for a recital.  Morgan sat at the grand piano while Caruso sang in front of the fireplace.  Tali Esen Morgan knew many celebrities and, undoubtedly, many visited his OG summer mansion.  He was music director in the  Grove from 1901-1918.

Over the years, the house became a convalescent home and a guest house before reverting back to a single family .  In the 1930’s Helen Hayes stayed in one of the second floor rooms while she appeared on Broadway in “Victoria Regina” with Vincent Price.

In 2000, the home was purchased by Gayle and Ted Aanensen who filled the house with art, antiques and  Gayle’s extensive collections, especially of Beatrix  Potter memorabilia.  Ted was born in Ocean Grove,  and the couple is  active in the Historical Society.  Gayle is the secretary of the organization and she has written two children’s books about OG  history.  She says that her writing is “inspired” by the history of her home:  “I feel the energy in this house.”    Ted says,  “Part of our joy is to save the house for the next generation.”  He and Gayle plan to continue  their ongoing restoration.

We are featuring the downstairs which consists of the parlor, living room, dining room and kitchen.  Pocket doors separate the living room from the parlor. There is a butler’s pantry made of cypress.  All the windows, floors, moldings, stained glass and built-ins are original.  The kitchen was re-done by prior owners.

Mr. W. Ted Bell, Ocean Grove historian, says, “This home comes complete with a story and an exceptional design—outstanding for its form and function.” He admires the furnishings with “many wonderful things of the period.”  Mr. W. T. Bell says that the house  has characteristics of several periods including Victorian, Queen Ann and Craftsman.

View from the front parlor into the living room. To the left is a grand curved staircase with antique stained glass windows at the first level.

Coming down the stairs is the front door with this stained glass.

Living room

Dining room with original built-ins. Gayle’s collection of red glass souvenirs from Asbury and the Grove (not shown) reflects the light flowing into the DR.

Butler’s pantry connects the LR and the DR. Cypress woodwork has been stripped to its natural color.

We don’t know what Caruso sang during his recital in the Tali Esen Morgan front parlor, but here is Caruso as he might have sounded that day about one hundred years ago. From the Pearl Fishers (Les Pecheurs de Perles: “Mi par d’udir ancor.”)  It was composed by Georges Bizet.

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