ohn Weyth, a rich Philadelphia businessman, always enjoyed spending his summer vacations in Atlantic City. During each stay he frequented one of the city’s expensive grand hotels, being particularly fond of the classy Brighton. During one summer, however, Weyth was outraged to discover that the Brighton and many other hotels were booked solid. He had never needed to make a reservation before, and didn’t see the need of making any in the future, either. Legend has it that Weyth told the proprietor of the Brighton that he was going to build a hotel of his own, and therefore never be without accommodation in Atlantic City again. After some failures at securing a beachfront property, Weyth purchased a lot at Illinois and Pacific Avenue, where an older hotel, the Stodart, stood. He had the hotel demolished to make way for his new structure, a seven-story hotel topped with an open-air roof garden. The Garden Hotel was Atlantic City’s tallest building (besides the Absecon Lighthouse) when it opened in 1897, and also its most expensive, costing $1 million to construct. The Garden made up for its disadvantage of being off the Boardwalk with its height, and the panoramic views of the city its roof garden offered soon became renowned. In 1910, the building was purchased by the Craighead family, and became known as Craig Hall. It was demolished in 1936 to make way for the Atlantic City Post Office building, which stood at the site until 2007.

H009.647.94Cra158

H084.Craig001

The Garden Hotel, shown here in 1920 as Craig Hall.
From the Atlantic City Heritage Collections, H009.647.94Cra158.

 

 

A postcard showing the hotel's Roof Garden.
From the Atlantic City Heritage Collections, H084.Craig001.

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

Local History Subject Files - Hotels

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