Flanders Hotel To Host Centennial Celebration
Nestled along the scenic shores of Ocean City, a humble beach town with big dreams, the story of the Flanders Hotel unfolds like a chapter from the region’s history. It’s a tale of determination, resilience, and grandeur that began to take shape after the echoes of World War I had faded away.
The aftermath of the Great War ushered in an era of hope and transformation for Ocean City, as city officials saw the potential of a subsidized hotel in driving its development. The chilly winter months of 1922 saw the Chamber of Commerce passionately lobbying the city government, rallying support for their vision.
Their pitch revolved around the completion of the Delaware River Bridge in Philadelphia, a gateway that would usher in a wave of visitors to the Jersey Shore.
Recognizing the urgency of accommodating the influx of visitors, the Ocean Front Hotel Corporation (OFHC), a coalition of local businessmen and prominent citizens, was formed. Spearheaded by this group of visionary minds, it was determined that a grand oceanfront hotel was essential to catapult Ocean City into the limelight.
The community rallied, investing in the Ocean Front Hotel Corporation, which sought to replicate the transformative impact of the Blenheim Hotel on Atlantic City.
And so, the foundation was laid for what would become the iconic Flanders Hotel. Paying tribute to the fallen Allied troops of the infamous “Battle of Flanders” in World War I, the hotel’s name was etched into the region’s history.
It was designed by local architect Vivian B. Smith, who used sturdy materials such as tile roofing, steel girders, and concrete – the very elements that would later prove crucial in its survival against the ravages of natural disasters.
As J. Howard Slocum took the reins of overseeing the hotel’s construction, his experience in managing the renowned Greenbrier Resort lent the project a stamp of professionalism.
The Flanders Hotel rose from the ground, a symbol of Ocean City’s aspirations to become a world-class destination. With 232 rooms, sun decks, a swimming pool, and a bath in each room, it stood poised to challenge the established coastal hotels.
The Flanders Hotel, however, faced challenges even before its grand opening in 1923. Rainy weather couldn’t dampen the spirits of those celebrating its inauguration, and the event marked the beginning of a new chapter in the city’s history.
As “The Jewel of the Southern New Jersey Shore,” the Flanders Hotel announced its arrival as the new face of Ocean City.
Towering above its surroundings, the Flanders Hotel transformed the city’s skyline. It was a visual landmark, dominating postcards and photographs of Ocean City. Beyond its physical presence, the Flanders aimed to redefine hospitality standards.
Bellhops, doormen, and front desk clerks were hired to cater to guests’ needs, creating an experience that left a lasting impression.
However, challenges loomed, and the Flanders Hotel faced the ultimate test of its “fireproof” claim when a devastating fire swept through the boardwalk in 1927.
In a twist of fate, the Flanders stood strong amidst the destruction, preserving its place as a bastion of luxury and safety.
The fire served as a turning point, propelling the city to consider even grander plans, including a proposal for the Mayflower Hotel, which would have changed Ocean City’s landscape significantly.
Yet, the Great Depression reshaped the trajectory of the city and the Flanders Hotel. Despite financial struggles and changing times, the hotel managed to retain its allure, even hosting the National Marbles Tournament in 1929.
The subsequent decades saw a tug-of-war between rival hotels, with the Port-O-Call Hotel emerging as a new contender.
In the face of adversity, the Flanders Hotel persisted. Its Catacombs, hidden beneath the surface, held tales of speakeasies, secret meetings, and transformations.
Through the decades, it evolved, embracing innovation like saltwater pools and penthouses. It stood the test of time, with various owners weathering storms both metaphorical and literal.
The 21st century brought renewed challenges and opportunities. After a tumultuous period of financial instability, the Flanders Hotel found itself in the hands of those who believed in its potential. Restoration efforts breathed new life into its historic corridors, preserving the past while embracing the future.
Through changing fortunes and shifting eras, the Flanders Hotel remained a testament to Ocean City’s enduring spirit.
Today, the Flanders Hotel stands as a symbol of Ocean City’s journey from post-war aspirations to modern luxury. It’s a place where history and hospitality intertwine, where the echoes of the past harmonize with the needs of the present.
As the Flanders Hotel continues to welcome guests and weave new stories into its fabric, it remains an emblem of timeless elegance and a reminder of the city’s enduring pursuit of excellence.
To celebrate 100 years as “The Jewel of the Southern New Jersey Shore,” the Flanders Hotel is holding a massive celebration on Saturday, November 18th.
Tickets are $150/per person, and visitors must be 21 or older to attend this event.
To check out their menu or to purchase your tickets, jump on their website.