The location and menu will be the same for the 90th Anniversary Gala from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Nov. 17. And everybody is invited to bring their best Roaring '20s attire.
Tickets ($50) are on sale now for the Gala and will be limited to the first 300 guests to purchase them. All proceeds from the event will benefit the Ocean City Historical Museum, which celebrates its 50th anniversary next year.
The event will include entertainment from the Ocean City High School Jazz Band during hors d'oeuvres, a full-course dinner and a DJ and dancing. Evening attire is recommended, and Roaring '20s dress will be rewarded with prizes.
The event also will include:
- A display of Flanders Hotel memorabilia and antiques
- A presentation on the history of the hotel by Ocean City historian Fred Miller
- An update on the last decade of the Flanders by Pete Voudouris, president of the president of the Flanders Hotel and Condo Association.
To purchase tickets:
- Call or visit the Flanders Hotel, 609-399-1000, 11th Street and Boardwalk, (cash, check or credit card)
- Call or visit the Ocean City Historical Museum, 609-399-1801, 1735 Simpson Avenue, (cash or check)
- Look for more information on the Flanders' Facebook page.
The Flanders has been a landmark of the Ocean City Boardwalk and skyline for nine decades. Generations remember learning to swim in the hotel's famed saltwater pools.
The Flanders timeline includes the following:
- 1922: A group of 24 entrepreneurs met at the Atlantic City County Club and formed the Ocean Front Hotel Corporation. The purpose of the meeting was to put plans into effect to build a "stately seaside hotel." The hotel would be built with steel girders and concrete and would be billed as "fireproof." Ocean City residents assumed a large part of the financial responsibility by purchasing stock from the corporation.
- 1923: Grand Opening of the Flanders Hotel — The hotel was named after an American cemetery in Belgium where soldiers who were killed fighting in World War I were buried. On July 23, under cloudy and rainy skies, guests enjoyed an evening of speeches, fine dining and dancing in the elegant ballrooms, which were decorated with poppies to symbolize the Battle of Flanders. The cost to build the hotel was $1.5 million. Nicknames for the Flanders in the 1920s: "The Jewel of the Jersey Shore" and "Queen of the Ocean City Hotels."
- 1927: Fire on the Ocean City Boardwalk — A major fire that spread over seven blocks leveled all the buildings along the Ocean City Boardwalk except the Flanders Hotel.
- 1928: The Famous Salt Water Pools Were Constructed — The three pools consisted of an Olympic-sized pool, children's pool and a diving pool. The pools held spectacular water shows that featured Olympic athletes like Johnny Weismuller and the renowned Ocean City Beach Patrol.
- 1929: The Flanders Hosts the National Marbles Championship of America — First prize was a trip to Ocean City and a stay at the "Immaculate Flanders Hotel." Newspaper article: "Shining in the Ocean City sunlight like the white palace of an old-time king, the Flanders Hotel, home of luxury and ease, awaits the coming of the modern king of American boydom — the Marble Championship of America."
- 1932: Ocean Front Hotel Corporation Sells the Flanders to Elwood Kirkman — The 1920s and 1930s were very difficult times for the Flanders. The depression left its mark on not only the hotel but on Ocean City in general. The rumored selling price of the hotel was $150,000.
- 1966: Competition Comes to Ocean City — On May 22, the Port-O-Call Hotel and Motor Inn opened on the Boardwalk at 15th Street. The Port-O-Call quickly replaced the Flanders as the face of Ocean City. Shortly thereafter, a period of "bigger is better" descended upon the resort, and from 1970 to 1980, most of the resort's iconic hotels — the Delaware, Breakers, Lincoln, Illinois, Strand and Colonial — came crashing or burning down. They were often replaced by newer or larger hotels and condominiums. These developments left the Flanders as the sole remaining hotel of Ocean City's "Golden Age."
- 1978: Salt Water Pools Closed — On Labor Day, due to increasing maintenance costs, the Flanders' large salt water pools closed for good.
- 1991: Flanders Struggles to Keep Afloat — The year 1991 proved to be the Flanders' worst financial year on record.
- 1992: Amusement Park Constructed on Boardwalk Side of Hotel — The one-acre lot where the saltwater pools were located sat vacant until this amusement park was built and opened for business.
- 1995: The Flanders Closes Its Doors — The windows and doors were boarded up and the Flanders became an eyesore for the city. The building sat vacant for one year until it was purchased by James Dwyer.
- 1997: The Flanders' Grand Re-Opening — James Dwyer spent $12 million on renovations. The property was converted from a 220-room hotel into 95 condominium suites. A master deed of VJ Flanders Condominium, dated Aug. 13, was recorded in Cape May County.
- 2005: Amended and Restated Master Deed Completed — On Feb. 24, this document, along with a "Map of Survey of the Flanders Hotel" and architectural drawings, were approved and filed. The new titled name is "The Flanders Condominium Association, Inc.," a New Jersey nonprofit corporation.
- 2006: The Association Secures a $2 Million Construction Loan — The Flanders obtained necessary funding to repair major issues. These funds were used to complete the renovation of the exterior of the building, replace collapsing pool deck and rectify 117 fire code violations.
- 2009: Flanders Hotel Placed on the National Register of Historical Places — In November, after two years of filing the proper documents and reports, and a presentation in Trenton, the National Park Service approved the Flanders' application for recognition.
- 2010: All Holdings of Ocean City Partners Purchased — On Jan. 15, the Flanders Condominium Association purchased the Banquet Center facility, Garden Room and first-floor office space. The $3.1 million purchase was supported by a $1.8 million loan from Sun National Bank.
- 2012: Flanders Success Comes Roaring Through — The year 2012 was the most successful year financially for the Flanders Condominiums since its inception in 1997. Money was placed in the Flanders Reserve Fund for future projects and protection from unexpected legal or maintenance issues.