|The Traymore was one of the oldest hotel names in Atlantic City, first opening in 1879 as a 10-room cottage at Illinois and Pacific Avenue. Owner Daniel White named the rooming house in honor of one of his best patrons, “Uncle Al” Harvey. Harvey owned an estate named Traymore in Maryland (which was in turn named after his hometown in Ireland) and would frequently wax nostalgic about the property during his stays in Atlantic City. After a storm destroyed this original structure in 1884, the owner rebuilt and continually expanded the Traymore, until it became the largest hotel in Atlantic City in 1898 with 450 rooms. Concerns about the wooden hotel’s vulnerability to storms and fire prompted the owner to renovate further, first constructing a concrete tower on the plot of land between the Traymore and the Boardwalk in 1906. In 1915, the entire hotel was completely redone in concrete, creating a massive 600-room resort that soon became known as the “Sandcastle by the Sea.” The architect for the new Traymore was William Price, the same designer behind the iconic Marlborough-Blenheim. The Traymore utilized the same poured concrete construction technique as the Blenheim, and also featured signature touches of glass elevators facing the outside of the hotel, and two twin mosaic-tiled domes. Artist N.C. Wyeth also designed murals for the children’s playroom and Submarine Grill. In 1942, the Traymore entered military service along with many other Atlantic City hotels. It served first as soldiers’ barracks, and then as an extension of the Thomas England Hospital which operated out of the Chalfonte-Haddon Hall. It returned to hotel business in 1946, when it was bought by entrepreneur Frank Gravatt, the owner of the Steel Pier. Gravatt again sold the hotel in 1951. Despite its unique construction and storied history, the Traymore began to decline along with the rest of Atlantic City in the 1960s. A $5 million renovation in 1968, which added a convention center, new elevators, and air conditioning, failed to save the business. The Traymore closed in the early 1970s, and when it was found to be structurally unsound, it was spectacularly imploded in three stages in 1972.|
| 1915 image showing the Traymore Hotel in its final, concrete incarnation.
From the Atlantic City Heritage Collections, H009.647.94New2161.
| The wooden Traymore Hotel in the 1800s.
From the Atlantic City Heritage Collections, H009.647.94Old012.
For more information, see these resources in the Atlantic City Free Public Library, Atlantic City Heritage Collections:
Local History Subject Files - Hotels
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