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The Carver Hotel



Few places have had a greater impact on the local area as long as the Carver Hotel has. Located at 312 Myrtle Avenue, Neptune NJ, the building was built in the early 1900s, and opened as a hotel in 1940. The establishment acted as a powerful contrast to the rampant segregation of the era - the Carver was open to African Americans denied access to other white hotels on the Jersey shore. Many notable figures stayed at the inn, including Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Harry Belafonte, Lena Horne, Sammy Pugh, Cab Calloway, and Joe Lewis.


However, the Carver Hotel wasn't just a place for rest - the Carver was a large center for music and entertainment. Artists like Lena Horne gave impromptu concerts at the establishment, while Cliff Johnson reminisces playing jazz near the hotel's bar. The inn also promoted events other than music, like its Fashion Show, advertised as "featuring the latest styles of New York and Paris," and "display[ing] the chic little bonnets to fit every mood and personality." 


After the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, the Carver Hotel took up a different role - the hotel transitioned into a three story, 40 room boarding house, providing affordable communal living to the community. The residents of the Carver often described the rooming house as more of a family; one of the tenants explained how everyone would help each other in their times of need, and that it was common for people to share food in the communal kitchen. 


Unfortunately, tragedy would strike the Carver Hotel: on Dec. 3, 1999, the building unexpectedly rose up in flames, with the century old building, and all of its tenants' possessions, burning away. Luckily, no one was injured. Despite this, the owner of the Carver, Helen Johnson, did everything she could for her tenants - Johnson personally made sure that everyone who stayed at the boarding house had somewhere to stay, driving them herself anywhere they needed to go.


While the Carver Hotel was destroyed, the inn was able to be rebuilt, with it still standing at 312 Myrtle Avenue to this day! While the original building was regrettably destroyed, the memories it created still live on to this day, with the Carver, whether it be a hotel or a boarding house, always justifying its position as a community icon. 


If you want to learn more about the Carver Hotel, check it out at https://create.passitdown.com/present/5e861cd2802f1730d242e9c9/david/story/5e869416802f1730d242f242


 

About the Author

Hi! I’m Ahan Iyer, a high school student from Holmdel, New Jersey. My interests include playing the oboe, jazz and chess. I’m a classically trained oboist, but have become interested in exploring various aspects of jazz, including jazz history and jazz composition for the oboe. Apart from exploring the jazz oboe, I play and teach chess. I’m currently working on a research project where I analyze data sets to find patterns that help us understand the wider influences that jazz has globally.


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