The St. Charles Hotel was first opened in 1896 by James B. Reilly. It was located on the Boardwalk at St. Charles Place, a street of stately homes and boarding houses that once ran between New Jersey and Delaware Avenues. The wood-frame St. Charles, like many other hotels across the city, was soon rebuilt in fireproof brick. The new St. Charles hotel had a capacity of 329 rooms, and a Boardwalk frontage of 642 feet. In 1930, it was purchased by Emanuel and Harry Katz for $3.8 million. The St. Charles was one of the finest hotels on the Boardwalk, and a center of social activity in the first half of the 20th century. However, it was marred by a few years of poor business, and by a 1952 fire that badly damaged the hotel. After the fire, it was bought by Antonio and Constance Parrotto for only $500,000. The Parrottos set about modernizing the hotel by adding new rooms, a swimming pool, cabanas, and a terrace. However, the renovations were not enough to keep business up in a city that was lacking for tourism everywhere. The St. Charles was closed, and finally demolished by implosion in May 1974. The blast was strong enough that windows were shattered on buildings within a 10-block radius of the hotel. The St. Charles site remained vacant in the hopes that empty land would attract developers, until the Showboat Casino was built on the site in 1987.   Rose Collection St. Charles Hotel
 H009.647.94Stc640c.1  The original wood-frame St. Charles Hotel.
From the Atlantic City Heritage Collections, H.BookCollection.RoseCollectionStCharles
 

 

The brick St. Charles Hotel (center tower) in 1968.
From the Atlantic City Heritage Collections,  H009.647.94Stc640c.1.
 

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

Local History Subject Files – Hotels
City Directories

 

 

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