Then and Now: The Broadmoor

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Today’s “Then and Now” features The Broadmoor:

Broadmoor Then and Now

In the late 19th century, Ocean Grove, New Jersey was teeming with lady business owners, most of whom presided over hotels and guest houses. One of those ladies was Elizabeth Sherman Moore.

Miss Moore owned The Broadmoor Hotel at the corner of Central Avenue and Broadway. As early as 1881, the property belonged to her married sister Emogen Hewson, but at some point ownership was transferred to Elizabeth.

Elizabeth Moore seems to have enjoyed being a businesswoman. In March of 1889, she decided to expand her holdings and contracted with the firm of Carman & Holbrook to build two more houses, which she would later call the Holly and Laurel Cottages. It cost her $3,500.

The “Carman” of Carman & Holbrook was William H. Carman: Civil War veteran, Freemason, Democrat, and builder/architect whose firm erected many of the earliest homes and hotels in Ocean Grove.

Now I can’t help but wonder what Miss Moore thought about her hired contractor. Did she find Mr. Carman handsome? As she chatted with him over cottage blueprints, did she blush?

Ah, but what did it matter? He was a married man, after all.

But as fate would have it, in 1894, Mr. Carman’s wife passed away. She had been ailing for several years.

Four years later, on Christmas Day, a wedding took place in the parlor at The Broadmoor — that of William H. Carman to the landlady herself, Elizabeth S. Moore.

While the second Mrs. Carman enjoyed life as a hotelier, Mr. Carman’s business thrived. He was also appointed aide-de-camp on the staff of Commander in Chief of the Grand Army of the Republic for the department of New Jersey, and was appointed as a member of the election board in Ocean Grove. He was known to speak to schoolchildren about his time in the Civil War and loved walking alongside his fellow vets on parade.

He also found time to champion the cause of introducing gaslight to Ocean Grove. He felt it was necessary for the advancement of Ocean Grove, and was quick to remind folks that it was cheaper than electric lights.

Carman was the kind of guy you’d like to have for a neighbor. Mr. W.J. Cramer would certainly know. Late one January night in 1896, he was cooking up some kind of turpentine concoction in the kitchen of 107 Embury Avenue when the substance caught fire. Cramer tried to throw the pot out the back door, but instead he wound up dropping it and soon the kitchen woodwork was in flames. Luckily for Mr. Cramer, William Carman was just two doors down. Carman rushed in with a bucket of water and helped douse the flames.

Never a dull moment in Ocean Grove for Mr. or Mrs. Carman!

William H. Carman died in 1916 and Elizabeth Moore Carman in 1918. Several years before her death, Mrs. Carman had become a semi-invalid due to a fall and a fractured hip, and it seems The Broadmoor passed into the care of a Mrs. M.H. Hennig. Here’s an ad from The Ocean Grove Times of July 6, 1916, trumpeting Mrs. Hennig’s skill in the kitchen:

broadmoor adLike Mrs. Hennig, future owners of The Broadmoor would keep its name, although sometimes with slight variations (like the Broadmoor “Inn” of 1932). Eventually it would become, and stay, a private residence.

Kim Brittingham

Funding has been provided by the New Jersey Historical Commission.