Laurel-in-the-Pines Fire 1967
Laurel-in-the-Pines, on the shores of Lake Carasaljo in Lakewood, New Jersey, was the most luxurious of the large hotels when Lakewood was the resort town of the rich and famous.
It began at the end of Indian trails, where three brothers built a mill. In 1814, a furnace and iron works built the lakes lending to the town's future name. The largest lake in the village was named "Carasaljo" after the ownner's three daughters, Carolina(Carrie), Sarah (Sally) and Josephine (Jo).
By 1863, advances in the railroad connections between New York and Philadelphia connected "Bricksburg" via the New Jersey Southern Railroad.
In 1865, Riley A. Brick, the son of Joseph W. Brick, built the Bricksburg House, also known as the "Romantic Laurel House" on Main Street. This resort was known to host the Vanderbilts, Goulds, Rockefellers, Astors, Tilfords, Rhinelanders, Kipps, Arbuckles and other families of social prominence. March 20, 1880, the Post Office officially recognized the name of the village as "Lakewood."
In 1891, the famed Laurel-in-the-Pines Hotel opened, as did the Lakewood Hotel, where President Cleveland chose to pass his dying days as peacefully as possible. In the early 1900's, Lakewood was known as the region's winter resort, attracting the wealthy tourist from New York and Pennsylvania. Many important and wealthy people now called Lakewood home or 2nd home. The train arrived from New York every 20 minutes!
After WWII,the airline industry began to take fight (excuse the pun), and Lakewood was passed over or warmer, southern climates. The arge hotels began their decline, many burning to the ground. Including the grand Laurel-in-the-Pines.
By the 1960's the Lakewood Fire Department was making frequent trips for small fire outbreaks. It was just a matter of time before they would be called out for the big one.
March 28, 1967 at 11:00 pm...that's just what happened. This guilded hotel went upin flames so fast, no engies could arrive in tim to save it.
My husband, who grew up in Lakewood, remembered red bricks being salvaged from the building...being hauled out for months. Today on this site stands the Laurel in the Pines condominium complex which was built around 1970.
***Photos from Historic Lakewood New Jersey Website You can still walk around Lake Carasaljo, but the gilded hotels of yesterday no longer stand. It's like being in a completely different place.
Lakewood houses one of the largest Hassidic communities in the world. From sundown on Friday night to sundown on Saturday night, the Jewish residents are not allowed to drive, thus there are literally hundreds of people walking in groups to and from temple. The traditional garb always worn includes black coats, making many of them difficult to see in the dark. Luckily, may have resorted to wearing reflective bands, but just be careful driving around corners!
"The Garden Spot of the Garden State"
"Romance of the Pines"
A brief (couple of centuries) history of our town...
It began at the end of Indian trails, where three brothers, John, George and Henry Skidmore built "Three Partners? Mill." In 1814, Jesse Richards settled here and opened "Washington?s Furnace." This was the first mail service to our "town."
In 1832, "Washington's Furnace" was purchased by Joseph W. Brick, who reorganized the business as "Bergen Iron Works." This ran succesfully until his death when the area was named "Bricksburg" in his honor. The largest lake in the village was named "Carasaljo" after Brick?s three daughters, Carolina(Carrie), Sarah (Sally) and Josephine (Jo).
In 1850, Ocean County was created from the southermost towns in Monmouth County, including Bricksburg. In 1863, advances in the railroad connections between New York and Philadelphia connected Bricksburg via the New Jersey Southern Railroad.
1866 saw the discovery of anthracite coal in Pennsylvania ended the bog-iron industry in this area, so several prominent bankers came to Bricksburg to invest in the real estate. One of the investors was Charles H. Kimball, whom the present hospital in Lakewood is named after.
In 1865, Riley A. Brick, the son of Joseph W. Brick, built the Bricksburg House, also known as the "Romantic Laurel House" on Main Street. This resort was known to host the Vanderbilts, Goulds, Rockefellers, Astors, Tilfords, Rhinelanders, Kipps, Arbuckles and other families of social prominence.
March 20, 1880, the Post Office officially recognized the name of the village as "Lakewood." The name was chosen by a door-to-door survey of the residents. On March 23, 1893, the Township of Lakewood was created and incorporated by the State Legislature.
In 1891, the famed Laurel-in-the-Pines Hotel opened, as did the Lakewood Hotel, where President Cleveland chose to pass his dying days as peacefully as possible.
Many important and wealthy people now called Lakewood home or 2nd home. The train arrived from New York every 20 minutes!
John D. Rockefeller made his estate here, and created a fabolous arborterium (sp?) of evergreen trees on the grounds. In the 1930's the estate was passed to the county, forming Ocean County Park. The mansion no longer stands (funds were not available for that much upkeep), but provides everyone with a beautiful day at the park. The Goulds also placed thier estate on the north side of Lake Carasaljo, and has since become the campus of Georgian Court University.
In 1943, Rabbi Aaron Kotler, Dean of Beth Medrash Govoha, purchased a building in Lakewood and opened his Yeshiva with 13 students. This school founded in Belorussia in 1898 for the study of the Torah and Talmud, has expanded and now Lakewood is home to one of the most reknown rabbinical (sp?...thank you gilabrand) schools in the world. Here, Orthodox Jews come from all over to study.
During World War II, the New York baseball Giants trained in Lakewood, and today the Lakewood Blue Claws minor league team plays here.
Today, Lakewood is home to many cultures, including Mexican, Russian, Polish and Jewish.
"Jousting? Yes, In Lakewood!"
The Lakewood Lion's Club has been holding a Renaissance Festival in Lakewood for over 20 years! Donned in period costume, entertained by medieval music and jesters and watching a live joust tournament, we take a trip back into time. This Renaissance Festival does not have its own buildings, arenas or permanent structures (it's held in Pine Park on W. County Line Road the 3rd Weekend each September). Each year the faire gets bigger and better. The local SCA chapter gives great battle and tournament re-enactments. The jousting is real, though. In fact, the hosts of this festival are setting this faire up as a part of the professional jousting tournement league. Yes, there IS a league for men (and women) to knock each other off of horses with lances.
Our Kiwanis Club (Lakewood) sells turkey legs, ribs and pickles at the faire for a fund raiser. It's always a good time.