Shelburne Hotel (Atlantic City)

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Shelburne Hotel
Shelburne Hotel by Moonlight, Atlantic City, New Jersey.png
Shelburne Hotel, Atlantic City, circa 1913
Shelburne Hotel (Atlantic City) is located in Atlantic County, New Jersey
Shelburne Hotel (Atlantic City)
Location within Atlantic County. Inset: Location of Atlantic County within New Jersey.
Location Michigan Avenue and the Boardwalk, Atlantic City, New Jersey
Coordinates 39°21′21″N 74°26′3″W / 39.35583°N 74.43417°W / 39.35583; -74.43417Coordinates: 39°21′21″N 74°26′3″W / 39.35583°N 74.43417°W / 39.35583; -74.43417
Built 1922
Architect Warren and Wetmore
Architectural style Colonial Revival, Georgian Revival
Governing body Private
NRHP Reference # 78001733[1]
NJRHP # [2]
Added to NRHP May 19, 1978

The Shelburne Hotel was a resort in Atlantic City, New Jersey located at Michigan Avenue and the Boardwalk. Built and opened in 1869, the hotel was originally a wood-frame cottage. Following several expansions, under the direction of hotel manager Jacob Weikel, a modern, brick-faced, steel frame, multistory structure was constructed along Michigan Avenue at the corner with the Boardwalk. This portion of the hotel opened in 1926. The hotel was a fine example of Georgian Revival architecture and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.[1][3]

The Shelburne Hotel gained a reputation as a home to entertainers and celebrities, due to its close proximity to Atlantic City's famed Warner Theater, including among them businessman "Diamond Jim" Brady and his companion, actress and singer Lillian Russell; composer and singer George M. Cohan; British actress Lillie Langtry; composer Irving Berlin; actress Ethel Barrymore; composer and conductor John Philip Sousa; and entertainer Al Jolson.

Despite its tower addition in 1926, the Shelburne was a relatively small hotel in comparison to Atlantic City's much bigger resorts such as the Chalfonte-Haddon Hall Hotel, Traymore, and Claridge. This coupled with the Great Depression bankrupted the hotel in 1931. It would pass through a series of owners until being taken over by the United States Army during World War II, then passing into ownership of the Malamut family who briefly revived the hotels success in the 1950s with several renovation and motel expansions.

Upon the legalization of casino gambling in 1976, the Shelburne once again became hot property, as with most hotels in Atlantic City at the time. The Malamut family closed the resort in 1978 after leasing it to Japanese investors Rocky Aoki and Takashi Sasakawa, owners of the Benihana restaurant chain, who planned to keep the existing hotel as well as add a 31-story tower and casino calling it the Benihana Casino-Hotel.[4] In 1983 work crews began to renovate the hotel, however, disagreements between the Malmut family, the New Jersey Casino Control Commission, and outside investors led Akoi and Saskawa to abandon the project after investing over $25 million in construction and renovations.[5] Sasakawa was the son of noted Japanese fascist and philanthropist Ryoichi Sasakawa, who had links with the Yakuza.[6]Aoki and Sasakawa had also faced charges by the Securities and Exchange Commission for insider trading in the stock of Hardwicke Companies, which had planned to manage the hotel/casino.[7]

In 1984 the site was acquired by Blumenfeld Development Corp. and the hotel was demolished. In 1986 a groundbreaking was held for the intended construction of the Carousel Club Hotel Casino (originally called Carnival Club Hotel Casino[8]). However, the company did not obtain sufficient financing and after foreclosure the property was sold to Bally's Manufacturing Corp., which built Bally's Wild Wild West Casino in 1997.[9][10][11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2009-03-13. 
  2. ^ "New Jersey and National Registers of Historic Places - Atlantic County". NJ DEP - Historic Preservation Office. January 10, 2010. p. 12. Retrieved June 9, 2010. 
  3. ^ Historic American Buildings Survey[1]
  4. ^ Japanese to open casino New York Times News Service July 12, 1978[2]
  5. ^ Quaker Resort
  6. ^ Beyond the Mafia: Organized Crime in the Americas edited by Sue Mahan, Katherine O'Neil ISBN 9780761913597 [3]
  7. ^ Benihana owner hit on insider stock deal AP July 24, 1980[4]
  8. ^ Blumenfeld Development v. Carnival Cruise Lines, 669 F. Supp. 1297 (E.D. Pa. 1987) District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania [5]
  9. ^ A Festive Groundbreaking For A.c.'s 14th Casino-hotel By Mike Schurman, Special to The Inquirer October 30, 1986 [6]
  10. ^ Blumenfeld Bargaining To Avert Foreclosures On 2 Sites By Susan Warner, Inquirer Staff Writer January 30, 1989 [7]
  11. ^ A Casino Land Sale Reveals How A.C. Prices Have Sunk By Alison Fitzgerald and Thomas Turcol, For The Inquirer December 30, 1994 [8]