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At a cost of $5 million, the President Hotel at Albany Avenue and the Boardwalk opened in 1926 with big expectations. As the name suggests, the hotel wanted to make itself known as a go-to vacation spot for America’s Presidents. The top floor of the hotel was entirely occupied by a Presidential Suite that was hoped would become a “Summer White House.” When Calvin Coolidge was invited to stay in the suite, however, he declined, and the President Hotel would no longer be associated with politicians by anything but name. When it was built, the President was one of only two hotels in Atlantic City to have an indoor pool, and thus it hosted many sporting events over the years. The President also originally operated jointly as a hotel and apartment building, but switched to an all-hotel format by the mid 1930s. The President was also one of the hotels supposedly used as lodgings during the infamous “Mobster Convention” in 1929. From 1942-1946, the President was taken over by the US Military, and machine gun training was practiced on the hotel’s roof. In 1968, declining fortunes in Atlantic City led the President to again be converted into an apartment building. It operated until the late 1970s, when legalized gambling in Atlantic City led to a mad dash to grab up older buildings and tear them down for glitzy casino palaces. The President came down in a series of three implosions on August 24, 28, and 30, 1979, to make way for a planned Sahara Casino. The casino never came to fruition, however, and the land is vacant today. H009.647.94Pre924 
 

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

Local History Subject Files – Hotels
City Directories
“By the Beautiful Sea,” Heston Coll. 974.985Fun
“Boardwalk Empire,” Heston Coll. 974.985Joh
“Atlantic City: 125 Years of Ocean Madness” Heston Coll. 974.985Lev

 The President Hotel and Motel as seen from the air in 1959.
From the Atlantic City Heritage Collections, H009.647.94.Pre924.

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The Randall Hotel was located in Atlantic City’s Northside neighborhood, and catered to the Black community and tourists. Situated at 1601 Arctic Avenue, the building was originally built in 1917 and known as the Philadelphia House. Charles Randall came to own the hotel in 1921, and changed its name to the Randall in 1924. Charles Randall operated the hotel, which was adjacent to the lively nightclub scene of Kentucky Avenue, for over forty years. He changed the building’s name to the Wonder Bar Hotel in 1963. It closed the following year.  H.Book.BoardofTrade1947.HotelRandall 
 

 

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

“Northside Businesses,” staff research
Board of Trade publications

 Image of Hotel Randall which appeared in the 1947 Atlantic City Board of Trade publication.
From the Atlantic City Heritage Collections, H.Book.BoardofTrade1947.RandallHotel

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Seen by many as the epitome of 1920s highlife, the Ritz-Carlton is one of the few of Atlantic City’s old hotels still standing today. Situated on the Boardwalk between Belmont and Iowa Avenues, the Ritz first opened for business in June 1921. It had many features popular of hotels at the time, such as freshwater and saltwater taps available in each bathroom, “beach” elevators with direct access from guest rooms to the ocean, a dining room terrace overlooking the sea, a hair salon, and a unique Merry-Go-Round bar. The Ritz is most famous today for having been the hotel of choice for Atlantic City political boss Enoch “Nucky” Johnson. Nucky had the Ritz’s entire ninth floor leased out to conduct his business. Other famous guests at the Ritz included Eddie Cantor, Calvin Coolidge, Warren G. Harding, and mobsters Al Capone and Lucky Luciano. During World War II, the Ritz was occupied by the US Military as soldiers’ barracks while Atlantic City served as Army training and recuperation grounds. In 1969, the Ritz-Carlton was converted from a hotel to an apartment building, and in 1982, became the Ritz Condominiums, which it still operates as today.  H049.647.94Rit387 
 ritz  A 1920s postcard shows the Ritz-Carlton Hotel on the Boardwalk.
From the Atlantic City Heritage Collections, H049.647.94Rit387.
 

The Ritz Condominiums next to the Tropicana Hotel & Casino 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
“Living in the Ritz,” article on Atlantic City Experience website

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The Royal Palace was built in 1900 and was situated at “the very northern end of Pacific Avenue and the Boardwalk.” The hotel had spacious porches and restaurants, in addition to more uncommon attractions like an indoor swimming pool and bowling alley. The Royal Palace’s heyday came in the 1920s, when amidst the atmosphere of Prohibition it became a notable speakeasy. The Atlantic City Press referred to the Royal Palace as a forerunner of the modern nightclub, and noted that its bar and grill were “almost a quarter block long.” The entrepreneur owner of the Steel Pier, Frank Gravatt, bought the hotel in this era with plans to expand it. The good times didn’t last, however, and the hotel was converted into apartments in the late 1920s. Ironically in the same year that Prohibition ended, 1933, the Royal Palace was torn down under the guidelines of the Peterson decree, a citywide initiative to clean up or demolish buildings which posed safety hazards.   H084.RoyalPalace001
 

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

Local History Subject Files – Hotels
City Directories
H084 Postcard Collection

  Illustration of the Royal Palace Hotel and Casino, no date.
From the Atlantic City Heritage Collections, H084.RoyalPalace001.

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Alois Schaufler opened one of the first hotels in Atlantic City in 1854. The wooden structure, which would seem modest by today’s hotel standards, was a center of activity due to its location on North Carolina Avenue next to the city’s original railroad depot. Some early sources suggest that the hotel’s name may have originally been “The Rail Road,” to capitalize on the fame of its neighbor. Schaufler’s Hotel was an especially popular spot for German tourists in Atlantic City. Alfred Heston even recorded in his Annals of Atlantic City that “a visitor had not completed his round of sight-seeing until he had experienced the pleasure of a night in the Bohemian atmosphere” of the hotel’s garden. The most famous feature of Schaufler’s Hotel, however, was its “beer bell,” which was rung every time a new keg of beer was tapped in the hotel’s bar, enticing patrons from all over the city. Schaufler’s Hotel was torn down in 1900, and the bell was later donated to the Atlantic City Library.  H009.Schauflers001 
 

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

Local History Subject Files – Hotels
City Directory, 1872
“Annals of Absegami, Vol. 2” Heston Coll. 974.984Hes

 Schaufler's Hotel, with railroad tracks visible in the foreground.
From the Atlantic City Heritage Collections, H009.Schauflers001.

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