== The Laughlin House History ==
The Laughlin House is located at 211 103rd Street, Stone Harbor, NJ 08247. The 24-room, 2-story, 5,000 square foot red-brick house is a colonial-styled mansion that sits on a 95’ X 110’ oversized lot and is located at 211 103rd Street in Stone Harbor, N.J.
Originally, designed by Helen Vogdes Laughlin, the house was built for her by , John S. Laughlin. The house was the largest private home built in Stone Harbor at the time and upon completion was quickly and unofficially nicknamed the “Little Borough Hall” by the local residents for its similarities in design to the local government building, which is located on 95th Street and 2nd Ave and was compared to “montecello” by Mr. Laughlin’s own mother upon first seeing the completed structure. In the homes 50-plus years of existence, this home has extrinsically served Stone Harbor as one of the few remaining staples in the islands ever changing landscape, it has provided a destination for 53 years of summer vacationing families, it has survived countless storms (including both hurricanes and nor’easters). And as well as has intrinsically provided 4 separate generations of the Laughlin family both an Island home, a source of pride, and a visual reminder of their heritage. In 1953 John and Helen bought the land on 103rd Street prior to building the house in 1956. The original plans for Laughlin House were first presented to the Board of Tenement Housing in 1955 Helen Laughlin’s plans to split the completed building into 3 parts during each summer so they could separate the structure each summer to provide lodging to weekly vacationers during the summers.
The combination of the unique Tri-plex styled floor plan design combined with the sheer size of the completed structure has always caused quite a stir with the local residents and originally with the town’s zoning board. To this end, the first draft of plans (submitted in 1954) were rejected on two separate occasions by the town when they were brought before the zoning board before eventually being approved on April 27th, 1956. Upon completion of its construction in early spring in 1957 when the completion of the building attracted visitors to the neighborhood who would stand in front of the house and have their picture taken during their summer visit.
== ABOUT THE OWNERS: ==
The Laughlin House was designed, built, and founded by John S. and Helen V. Laughlin. They received their first experience their future life at the shore in 1937 while investigating the area for a business to purchase. When they made their first trip from Philadelphia on a rainy fall day in 1937 to view possible investment businesses, to which Helen’s first response was her refusal to exit their car.
In 1939, after viewing several properties (and after much persistence from John), they both agreed to purchase their first business in Stone Harbor. This location, located at 266th on 96th Street would prove to become the corner stone of many future years of success. The existing business was a general store which, at the time was located in the center of the island, about one block away from where the island’s two railroad lines (The Atlantic and the Pacific Railroad Line) met in Stone Harbor. Also, the decided location was conveniently located within close proximity to a few of the other handful of other stores that existed at that time and close to various town’s community buildings, and a nearby railroad roundhouse. In a short time, the Laughlin’s quickly became active members in their local community. Starting in 1939, John began running their new business as well as began another business building hand-made wooden toy boats that he would not only sell in their own store but would also distribute and sell to other shops throughout the local islands while, Helen retained a prominent career teaching in Lower Township and assisting John with the running of their store. Additionally, Helen’s mother, Mrs. Vogdes, the widow of a prominent businessman in Philadelphia , moved down to the shore to live help John care for the business and assist Helen by helping care for their children.
For the next 5 years, The Laughlins ran the business on 266 96th Street together, narrowly avoided buying a business by one day before the Stone Harbor Boardwalk that was forever lost after the great storm of 1944. They also were able to expand the original structure to nearly double the frontage that originally faced 96th Street and in 1952, utilizing the next door space, they built 264 96th Street for the purpose of providing a business rental and two apartment rentals.
Both John and Helen greatly valued education. Helen taught for over 30 years, and John served on the Stone Harbor Board of Education. John’s degenerative vision eventually led to his total blindness.
John and Helen had three children: Mary Louise Laughlin Orlando, John Richard Laughlin, and Jane Elizabeth Laughlin Fickett. Jane has two sons: Dale Fickett and Randy Fickett.
== About the House ==
The Laughlin House has been regularly maintained and refurbished by the family for the past 55 years. Featuring eight bedrooms, the house comfortably sleeps up to 25 people. There are 24 total rooms, including 4½ bathrooms and three large dine-in kitchens. A 600-square-foot game room and entertainment area offers large screen television, classic arcade games, pinball, board games, foosball, basketball free throw, jigsaw puzzles, cards, dice and more. The house is equipped with high-speed and wireless internet access, as well as DVD players and VCRs in every entertainment area. The stereo system has an iPod connection.
Comfortable at any time of year, the house is climate controlled with central air conditioning, heat and ceiling fans in the bedrooms. Outdoor features include: large backyard, heated outdoor shower, sun chairs for up to 20 people, two patios with lighted gazebo, both gas and coal grills, and outside dining area.
Additional amenities include beach tags, laundry facilities, street and off-street parking, and local phone and fax numbers. The current owners house make the house available for commercial purposes such as vacation rentals.