Welcome back to Monochromes, a Friday mini-series wherein Curbed delves deep into the Library of Congress's photographic annals, resurfacing with an armful of old black-and-white photos of architecture and interior design. Have a find you want to share? Hit up the tipline; we'd love to hear from you.
In the 19th century, visitors traveled from out of state to attend theatrical productions in the New Jersey beach town of Long Branch. Presidents Ulysses S. Grant, Woodrow Wilson, and James Garfield— who traveled to Long Branch to recover after he was shot in 1881— all gathered for plays in what was then referred to as the "Hollywood of the East." The town was home to many historic oceanfront resorts, and the Church of the Presidents, visited by seven sitting presidents. New hotels went up regularly, including the striking Hollywood Hotel.
Decked out in early midcentury style, with geometric light fixtures and glass walls, the Hollywood Hotel arrived at a time when the theater scene had largely fallen off, thanks to the ascendancy of film and television. Despite that, the interiors of the hotel were still plenty dramatic. Take a look: