“SHELTER HAVEN HOTEL STONE HARBOR, N.J.”
On August 1, 1912, a new hotel named the Shelter Haven Hotel officially opened its doors for business and it would become the largest building in Stone Harbor. Without question this hotel would also become and remain a dominant feature serving the community for years to come. There are even those who would say that the Shelter Haven Hotel was the most iconic structure to ever be built in this charming seashore community known as Stone Harbor. Whether there are any other contenders for this honor remains up for discussion and certainly a worthy subject for further consideration.
This building was located at 96th Street and Third Avenue and overlooked the Shelter Haven Basin otherwise known as the 96th Street Basin. This 5-story structure was a popular and convenient place to stay and would become the so-called hub of the town due to its central location on the boulevard that led directly into the downtown business district.
Offering 60 elegant guest rooms, the Shelter Haven Hotel provided many amenities including a dining room, cafe, barbershop, poolroom, roof garden with splendid views, and a private dock and wharf with excursion boats operating daily service to nearby Anglesea in
North Wildwood. Over the years and until its demolition in 1961, ownership had changed as many as twelve times.
While there are many different post cards in existence featuring the Shelter Haven Hotel over its 49 year history, here is just a sampling of images showing the hotel and how it looked connected to the resort from different vantage points at different times.
The first image is one of the earliest known post cards showing the Shelter Haven Hotel and was postmarked AUG. 29, 1914.
Next is a classic c. 1920 view of the hotel from the Yacht Basin.
The third card features the Shelter Haven Harbor looking across the basin with the Shelter Haven Hotel in the background. This card was mailed on JUL 27, 1922.
The fourth scene highlights the exciting swimming races that were held at the wharf and dock of the Shelter Haven Basin. These popular summer events would invariably attract large numbers of spectators as you can see here. This post card was postmarked on JUL 19, 1929.
The fifth image depicts the hotel and bay with a group of kids having fun hanging out and diving off the 96th Street public float. This municipal swimming platform was anchored in place only during the summer months and was very popular until it was removed around the time of World War II. For your information this card was postmarked and placed in the mail on AUG. 18, 1936.
Finally, the sixth card produced during the latter 1930s is an aerial view showing the hotel as well as the Great Channel drawbridge and entrance along 96th Street to Stone Harbor. This striking photo was obviously snapped from atop the water tower at Second Avenue. We can certainly be grateful that the water tower was there and even available on occasion to serve as a super vantage point for some fortunate photographers over the years to snap a good number of photos of downtown looking in different directions for use on future post cards.