Granite State Stories: The glorious Oceanic Hotel opens its doors

  • Oceanic Hotel, Star Island, Isles of Shoals, with a view of Gosport Village, opened for business in 1873 by John R. Poor of Stickney and Poor Spices; watercolor en grisaille on paper by unidentified artist, c. 1874. N.H. Historical Society

Published: 8/4/2017 3:11:16 PM

Located on Star Island in the Isles of Shoals, the Oceanic Hotel was another of New Hampshire’s grand resorts when it opened in 1873, set in the exotic location of an island 6 miles off the coast.

Built as competition for the Appledore House on Maine’s nearby Appledore Island, the Oceanic was the pet project of John Poor who had made his fortune producing Stickney & Poor’s Mustard.

Constructing his grand hotel on the remnants of an ancient fishing village, Poor created a luxurious retreat that slept 300 guests and boasted two bowling alleys, a billiard room, a ballroom, running hot and cold saltwater and the first elevator in an American hotel.

Just three years after its grand opening, the Oceanic burnt to the ground, with the glow from the fire apparently visible all the way to Boston.

Poor rebuilt a second Oceanic Hotel on the same spot. It remains one of a handful of New England’s more than 150 grand resorts that hasn’t undergone a complete renovation in succeeding years.

N.H. Historical Society

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