|One of the oldest names in the Atlantic City Hotel business is Haddon Hall – still around today as the home of Resorts Casino. The history of this establishment dates back to 1868, when Elisha and Elizabeth Roberts opened the Chalfonte, a three-story boardinghouse, at North Carolina Avenue. The name came from Chalfont Township in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. The following year, Samuel and Susanna Hunt opened Haddon Hall across the street from the Chalfonte, naming it after a manor in Derbyshire, England. The two hotels flourished in the bustling resort climate of the city, and were eventually moved 400 feet closer to the ocean in 1889, after the popularity of the Boardwalk had shifted the center of activity away from city streets. In 1890, the Leeds and Lippincott Company, one of the most prominent hoteliers in Atlantic City, purchased both the Chalfonte House and Haddon Hall, managing them together as Chalfonte-Haddon Hall. In the next century, the two hotels followed many others in the resort in phasing out their wooden boardinghouse structures in order to build larger, more impressive (and more importantly, fireproof) brick buildings. The Haddon Hall that still stands today was completed in 1929. During World War II, Atlantic City became occupied by the US Military as training grounds, soldiers’ barracks, and hospitals for the wounded. Chalfonte-Haddon Hall was renamed Thomas M. England General Hospital in 1942, and became the largest soldiers’ hospital in the United States. The hospital operated until 1946, when the hotels again reverted to their original names. Chalfonte-Haddon Hall held on in a declining Atlantic City, remaining open while several other hotels in the resort were closed and demolished. When gambling was legalized in 1976, Leeds and Lippincott sold Chalfonte-Haddon Hall to Resorts International, Inc. for $2.5 million. Haddon Hall was extensively renovated in order to reopen as a casino as soon as possible. On May 26, 1978, it became Atlantic City’s first operating casino. The Chalfonte building remained on the Boardwalk, though unused, until it was finally decided that it could not be renovated for casino purposes like its partner had been. It was demolished in 1980.|
| An 1882 lithograph of the original Chalfonte and Haddon hotels.
From the Atlantic City Heritage Collections, H084.Souvenir001.
| A photograph of Chalfonte-Haddon Hall during its service as England General Hospital. The Haddon Hall, on right, still stands today as Resorts Casino.
From the Atlantic City Heritage Collections, H009.WW2.003.
| For more information, see these resources in the Atlantic City Free Public Library, Atlantic City Heritage Collections:
Local History Subject Files - Hotels