During the early hours of November 11, 1875, the first Oceanic Hotel on Star Island was struck by lightning, and within the hour, the building was lost to the blaze. #onthisdate
Pictured is the first Oceanic, which was open for only two seasons, circa 1873-1875.
[Isles of Shoals Photograph Collection, P25.1705]
On November 16, 1875, the Boston Globe included an account of the fire:
"The wind was blowing from the northeast and the flames rose and swept over the roof with terrible fury. The heat and cinders were blown directly upon the Robinson, Gosport and Atlantic Houses, the first of which was destroyed, with all its contents.
"The fire spread to the bowling-alley and billiard room, which were destroyed, together with four fine tables. The men who occupied the hotel were aroused from their slumbers by the roar and crackling of the flames, and attempted to escape from the burning building by the main staircase. This was enveloped in flames, which cut off their retreat. They succeeded, however, in escaping by the windows, but had they slept five minutes longer they would have perished."
The wind shifted the fire off-shore, and 15 buildings on Star survived. Some of those buildings were incorporated into the second (and current) Oceanic Hotel.
The hotel proprietor was John Robinson Poor (1818-1903), a Boston businessman and owner of the Stickney & Poor Spice Company.
According to historian J. Dennis Robinson, Poor first stayed at the Appledore House, operated by the Laighton family, on Appledore Island in 1872. While a guest there, Poor secretly started purchasing nearly all the property in the village of Gosport on Star Island.
The 265-foot hotel had "147 sleeping quarters for 300 guests featuring wide corridors, modern conveniences, a fine spacious dining room, a dance hall, and elegant fixtures."
#oceanichotel #StarIsland #IslesofShoals #otd #collectpreserveshare📖 #localhistory #portsmouthnh #nh #maine #seacoast❤ ...