Saturday, April 12, 2014

Sepia Saturday - Hotel Traymore

Today's Sepia Saturday Suggestion seems to center on city streets and buildings. It is a quartet of photographs depicting some of the urban area in the town of Smithton in "far north-western Tasmania."

Well, since we already did a Sepia Saturday page of city streets back in January of 2013, lets concentrate this time on the portion of the quartet that is labeled "Mrs. Morton's Private Hotel."

A while back I became interested in a small print that had the words
"Hotel Traymore - Atlantic City"
written on the front.

This tiny print was found in a small shop in Fort Smith, Arkansas. I always enjoy researching the captions and identifications found on some of the rescued photographs in LOST GALLERY. This one led me on a curious trail.

The Hotel Traymore of Atlantic City, New Jersey, began as a boarding house in 1879. It was rebuilt more than once and expanded. At its peak it could accommodate as many as 1500 guests.

The Traymore featured four faucets in every bathtub: hot and cold city water, hot and cold ocean water. There was a fifth faucet in the sink for ice water.

Hotel Traymore - Atlantic City

Unfortunately, the hotel exists today only in poorly tinted post card views and a scant few amateur snapshots. There are several post cards depicting the Hotel over on Flickr.

Kind Flikrite riptheskull has made this post card available through Creative Commons License. I present this one here to give an idea of what the Hotel Traymore looked like in its heyday.

Here is a Gallery of photographs of the Hotel Traymore.

After a few prosperous decades, it deteriorated from the 1950’s and in April, 1972 it was imploded.

To this day, it remains the largest single implosion on record according to the Guinness Book of such things.

All that remains to this day is a large empty lot. (It can be seen in GoogleEarth. 39 21 32 41 N 74 25 50 92 W)

I have no actual facts to support this but this is my theory:
Building Codes. Today's building regulations are far different from the regulations in effect in 1915. Many building materials that were standard back then, today are forbidden: Iron drain Pipes, lead water pipes, and that old nemesis, asbestos. Any remodeling would have to include bringing things "up to code." The Hotel Settles (see photograph below) cost a reported 30 million dollars to restore only 68 rooms of it's original 150. The cost of restoring 1500 rooms stuns the imagination. But, why has the lot been sitting empty for all this time?

Hotel Traymore - Atlantic City

In 2006, (34 years later) Pinnacle Entertainment announced that it purchased the Traymore site and the adjacent Sands Atlantic City casino hotel. Pinnacle demolished the Sands and planned to develop a new casino on the combined land. Harsh economic times later caused Pinnacle to delay construction of the new resort. In February 2010, the company announced that it had canceled its construction plans and would instead seek to sell the huge parcel of prime real estate.

I have seen a few vacant hotels in a lot of places. The Hotel Clovis in Clovis, New Mexico and the Baker in Mineral Wells and the Settles in Big Spring, Texas come to mind. These are in relatively small towns, out in the Great Southwestern Plains, devastated by the loss of passenger train travel. Their demise is easier to understand.

But the Traymore accommodated up to 1500 guests! All three of the hotels, The Clovis, The Settles and The Baker, COMBINED didn't have that capacity! The Traymore was on the Jersey Shore; Beach Front! And what a historical building! Why did it close?

Baker Hotel and resort, Mineral Wells, Texas.

Baker Hotel and resort, Mineral Wells, Texas
Built in 1929 and closed in 1972. Investors currently hope to reopen the Baker by the end of 2014.

Hotel Settles - Big Spring, Texas

After some 30 million dollars spent in restoration,the Hotel Settles REOPENED on December 30, 2012, after more than three decades of sitting empty.

Hotel Clovis.

Hotel Clovis, Clovis New Mexico
From Wiki:
The Hotel Clovis is a high-rise building in Clovis, New Mexico, United States. It originally opened on October 20, 1931 as a hotel. When it was built, at 119 feet (36 m) and 10 stories high, it was the tallest building between Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Dallas, Texas. Hotel Clovis was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1984.

Although vacant since 1983, Developer Stephen Crozier has launched an extensive renovation of the 10-story Clovis Hotel. Crozier has announced that he would like to build 31 loft-style apartments in the Art Deco building, as well as creating some 8,000 square feet of commercial space. The developer also wants to build two separate structures that will house an additional 59 units. Groundbreaking started September 30, 2011 and a yearlong construction project is to become the Hotel Clovis Lofts.

Hotel Traymore - Atlantic City
Another look at the tiny print (actual size: 2.5 in X 3.5 in) that started the research.

Can't get enough?
Book a passage back to the Sepia Saturday Home Page and see what the other guests are doing!

The most popular photographs most popular, Family Group, An album of the most requested photographs in the Lost Gallery.

Area 51 and a Half Area 51 and a Half You are probably not authorized to see these.

Don't take my picture! Oh! You DID didn't you! completely unaware of the photographer This is a collection of photographs that disappear on the way home from the photo processing shop.

And don't miss
Cabinet Card Gallery
One Man's Treasure
Penny Tales
Square America
Tattered and Lost
Vernacular Photography
The best
sites on the web.

And for postcards try

All images are the property of Lost Gallery and the author. Permission must be granted for their use. All rights reserved.

THE KIDS Lesson one. It is always a mystery how a photograph of any of these precious children could end up lost or abandoned. Here are a few. You will probably say "Ooh..." at least once.

Dee and the Business School Dee and the Business School
The beautiful Dee. A curious story; What do you see?

Neiffel and Helvetica Typehigh

"What are they doing?"


  1. I enjoyed all this, and your photos. The photo of the three of them, especially the gent in his hat caught my eye too!

    1. Thanks Karen S. Yes, the old photograph I found is interesting in itself, let alone the journey it set me upon.

  2. Isn't it amazing where our research takes us? That hotel was just ENORMOUS! I can't conceive of it. Crazy.

    1. Thanks Alex Daw. I still can't understand how a building that size could be maintained. It's the result of having new additions and more additions over the years. If I had not found the photograph that sent me on the research, I would have never heard of it.

  3. What a marvelous old place and what a shame it was too expensive to modernize. As I looked at the bird's-eye view of the empty lot where the majestic old hotel used to be, I couldn't help wondering what the two places leading down into the water at either end of the old hotel area, are? If they were smaller I'd think they were some sort of boat ramps, but they're too big for that???

    1. Thanks La Nightingail. Well, one on the left is called "The Pier Shops Caesers" and the one on the right is called "Central Pier Arcade." Imagine a shopping center on a dock. Further to the right, out of the picture, is the famous Steel Pier of Atlantic city. I have never seen them either so the huge size is difficult for me to visualize too.

  4. Four faucets in ever bath tub! Wow, I've not heard of that before. I wonder if the people in front of the Traymore were posed for this photo - or is that Mum all dressed up in her best finery, having her photo taken.

    1. Thanks genepenn. Including hot and cold seawater. Don't you know they had ongoing plumbing problems! I get the feeling that the place was rather posh so the dress was probably not uncommon. I think the woman on the left is posing for a tourist type shot. Hubby is probably behind the camera. The little snapshot is far from a professional photograph.

  5. Wow, that is one bizarre fantasy hotel. I bet it was in the background of a lot of vacation snapshots. And I agree with your idea that old buildings that size can't be renovated without enormous expense. The remaining toxic material may keep the demolition site empty.
    The cosmic vibes of Sepia Saturday have sent us both to the same small town this weekend with your image of the Baker Hotel in Mineral Wells, TX. I didn't feature it because it didn't fit the rest of my Texas story, but someone still felt it was worth a mention in the comments.

    1. Thanks Mike Brubaker. I have quite a number of Atlantic Beach photographs and Flickr has a group on that same subject. I bet I eventually find the hotel again. And the Baker Hotel is truly an eerie place. I have been there and even standing a block or so away to get my shot included here, I got an uncomfortable feeling about it. I'll be sure to check out your post this week.

  6. I have a postcard of the Traymore mailed in 1954. The sender wrote that "it is just lovely" and "it doesn't change."

    1. Thanks Postcardy. I was hoping you would have an example! It is extra special that you have a date too. So by 1954 it was still the place to be. By all accounts I could find, the hotel had begun to deteriorate in the 1950's, but apparently it was not noticeable in 1954!

  7. Glad that you found that tiny print that enabled you to take us all on such a fascinating journey.

    1. Thanks Alan Burnett. For those of us who rescue and collect abandoned photographs, we know that each one has a story that will take us somewhere.

  8. All those countless hours of construction, then the innumerable bed nights of people's experience at the Traymore, all gone in a few seconds, and now an empty lot. So very sad. I wonder if the underlying structure of the hotel deteriorated, the superficial fabric, or just people's impression of it? A fascinating story, but not unique, I'm sure. Oh, and thanks for assembling the gallery of images on Flickr - great idea.

    1. Thanks Brett Payne. Yes, it is a sad circumstance. So many connections, physical and mental, terminated in a moment. And the lot still stands empty. The Flickr Gallery is a good idea. It allows use of photographs from several sources without the restrictions often found in usage outside of Flickr.



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