Unique House Tour in Ocean Grove


coaster-news-200By DON STINE

Every time Ocean Grove resident Shirley Bell looks out her window or sits on her front porch there are many memories – but memories that now only bring back a lot of heartbreak.

“I just want to cry sometimes and it is a real heartbreak,” she said Saturday.

Bell’s family, the Hemphills, used to own the Park View Inn at 23 Sea View Ave., which is directly across from her house.

Bell worked for many years in the former hotel.

“I just want to cry. But it is too costly and economically unfeasible to restore it. It is just so disgusting now,” she said.

The Park View Inn was among four other building in Ocean Grove’s historic district that were featured on a rather unique tour June 28 sponsored by the Ocean Grove Homeowners Association. The 1.25-mile tour featured some of the historic district’s buildings in need of some tender loving care.

Association representatives said they hope the tour will help highlight the problem of derelict buildings in the historic district.

Almost 50 people turned out for the tour, which included residential properties and two former hotels. Buildings on the tour were 14 Spray Ave., a property of architectural and historic importance; 22 Lake Ave. at The Warrington Hotel; 23 Seaview Ave. at The Park View Inn; 84 Lake Ave.; 101 Asbury Ave.; and 80 Main Ave.

Homeowners Association member Kathy Arlt, who led the tour, said that that an important part of Ocean Grove history is caring about its historic buildings.

“It is important to save these important pieces of Ocean Grove history,” she said.

Arlt explained, in front of each building, its history and the present financial and structural dilemmas each building is facing.

Ocean Grove resident Eileen Kean said that she was on the tour because, as a homeowner, she feels these derelict buildings have an adverse effect on the town.

“They take away property values and fire remains a real issue,” she said.

A 2011 Ocean Grove fire destroyed one hotel, nine houses and damaged another five homes.

“These buildings are abandoned and they are trying to tear them down. But some of them are masterpieces and they are just being run down,” she said.

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