New Jersey January 13, 2018
The Fascinating New Jersey Hotel That’s Steeped In Mob History
The entire state of New Jersey is steeped in mob history and, if you’re interested, I’d be glad to talk about it all in a future post…I’ve always been a little fascinated by the seedier side of our state’s past. But today’s article focuses on a specific spot, one that you’ll surely want to visit.
When it comes to mafia history and the Garden State, Atlantic City gets most of the attention. While that's absolutely understandable, the mob had a bit of a foothold in Ocean City, too.
The Flanders Hotel was built in 1923, and designed to be America's greatest shore resort. Sturdily constructed, it has survived floods, fires and near-financial ruin.
Today, it thrives as a multi-use facility consisting of condos, a full-service resort hotel, restaurant, and catering and special events venue. It is also home to a variety of retail shops and businesses.
Amenity-laden, it is the epitome of modern luxury. Though it features a beautiful beachfront location, it also offers Ocean City's largest heated outdoor pool. You'll also enjoy the business center, fitness center and spa.
You certainly don't want to miss Emily's Ocean Room Restaurant, serving breakfast and lunch daily (in season). It is open to both guests and the public, and it's a lovely place to dine.
But back in the day, Flanders Hotel was a little...different. A unique feature of its construction made it ideal for covert, and occasionally unsavory, activity.
The building features a full basement, below sea level, known as the "catacombs of Flanders." The catacombs contain a maze of seven or eight expansive rooms. According to the Flanders hotel website, "In the 1920’s and 30’s organized crime was a major force influencing business operations throughout the country and the east coast was no exception. Ocean City, being one of the few thriving areas in South Jersey during this time, was an ideal neutral location for occasional meetings by organized crime bosses from New York, Pennsylvania and Atlantic City. And of course the perfect place to hold these meetings was in the private catacombs of the Flanders."
While we can't be sure exactly what sort of mob activity occurred here (those meetings were, of course, kept secret), we do know that the catacombs housed illegal speakeasies during Prohibition. Alcohol was served and gambling likely took place. While no murders have ever been recorded in the catacombs, psychic Joseph Tittel believes that two people were killed in the secluded basement, one hanged and the other stabbed. Of course, there's no evidence to support that. The catacombs are still in use today, but only for storage.
Have you ever been to The Flanders Hotel? Were you aware of the building’s unique history? If so, are you familiar with the Flanders ghosts? Don’t worry, they’re friendly! To learn more about them, and other haunted spots in New Jersey,