The Deauville Inn

The history of the Deauville Inn can be traced by deeds back to 1887, and the earliest known photo is from 1888.

It was built around 1881, by James P. Carothers, who came to America from Ireland in 1862. It was originally known as the Whelen Hotel, back when Strathmere was still just known as Corson's Inlet. Materials to build the hotel had to be brought in buy boat. The original building could cater to 100 guests, and was less than half the size of the building as it is known today. The Reading Railroad line ran right by the Whelen, and made 6 stops daily.

In the late 1890's the fishing industry was flourishing, and many whalers and traders would patronize the Inn. The card on the right says 'Whale - 2000lbs, caught by fishermen from the Whelen Hotel, Corson's Inlet' The picture was taken on the bay beach in front of the Whelen. The photo features William G. Carothers, son of James, who took over ownership of the inn. Later William's daughter Mary Carothers Jones(1902-70) would take over.




This old postcard dates from around 1907-08, and shows the original smaller version of the Whelen. Look at the ladies on the front porch in their floor length dresses!



Below are 2 more old photos which show better detail. Notice the corner porch is screen in, and see the 'Whelen Cafe' sign out front? These 2 photos are probably from the Teens or 1920's.

3 rough photo copies of very old postcards of the Deauville, when it was still known as the Whelen.

Two postcards of the Deauville Inn, from around 1937. Slightly different images.

This postcard of the Deauville Inn is postmarked 1929

This is a nice early image of the Deauville when it was still called the Whelen Inn, and it was only half the size that it later became.

An old ad for the Deauville. It was printed as a small booklet, below is the front page. Click on the image to see it is shown folded flat, first with back and front covers, then the inside pages.


Here is a newspaper clipping for a Red Cross benefit supper held at the Whelen in 1918.


Below is an old key from one of the rooms at the Whelen.
This fancy old cash register came from the Deauville Inn, so did the old Art Deco speaker
Click images for larger views

The Deauville was a popular place during the 1920's and 30's, even during prohibition. There are stories of a gambling casion being in one of the rooms, and a newspaper in 1933 reported that 2 slot machines were seized from the Inn. Many famous entertainers appeared at the Inn like Eddie Cantor, Sophie Tucker and Jimmie Durante. You could dine overlooking the bay, and dance in the ballroom. There were 22 rooms on the 2 upper floors for guests.


The Deauville underwent some remodelling after a terrible hurricane hit the coast in 1944. These photos were taken around the 1950's.


In March of 1962, there was a terrible storm and the Jersey shore really took a beating. The Deauville suffered extensive damage, and was forced to close. The grand old building stood lonely and neglected for 18 years, and suffered further damage from weather and vandals. The owner lived in a downstairs room of the Inn, and stray cats occupied the upper floors. The owner would occasionally let old friends into the front bar for drinks and talks of the old days. One of those friends was Walter Carpenter. Walter use to tend bar at the Deauville back in the 1950's. He could remember the Deauville in it's better days. He was fascinated with the old building and wanted to see it restored back to it's glory, and preserve the long history of the building. So in 1980, Walter and his wife Gloria, along with their kids and grandchildren, took on the enormous task of restoring the building back to it's former glory. 10 out of 12 contractors told them to tear down the building and totally rebuild. But the Carpenters wanted to preserve as much of the original building as possible.

Walt & Gloria's daughter Lynda was a friend of my parents. She invited us to come go through the Inn, shortly after the family bought it, when they first started cleaning out the debris in the upper floors. I can remember going with my parents, I was about 13 years old then. When we pulled into the parking lot, I looked at the building, and I thought the Carpenters were crazy for buying the place, it was a mess! The siding was falling off in chunks, the windows were smashed out and the windows overlooking the bay were all boarded up, there was a hole in the roof, and the floor below it was soft and rotting from rain. There was trash and debris scattered through all 22 rooms. The place stunk like cats and there was cat hair over everything. They were literally shoveling garbage out the upper windows. The Carpenters were a determined bunch though, and little by little they got the work done. The front bar was fixed up and opened for business while work was done on the rest of the building. The roof was repaired, the front dining porch was rebuilt, new wiring and heating was run through the building. They started with a small menu of sandwiches and pizza. Eventually the dining room was finished and opened, and they expanded the menu. Now, Thanks to the dedication and hard work of the Carpenter family, the Deauville stands proud again, overlooking the bay. The Inn now has 3 bars, a dining room that overlooks the bay, and dockside service, where you can pull up in your boat and order drinks and sandwiches.


Visit the official site for the Deauville Inn


Click the links below to visit the rest of the site -
  • History of Strathmere
  • Homes in Strathmere today
  • West Jersey Cottages


    If you have any info, or images that we can add to the site, please EMAIL us
    We are looking for vintage images, and histories of homes in Strathmere.

    The photos used are from the collections of Bruce & Gwen Riordan, the Deauville Inn, the estate of Bertha Wittkamp of the West Jersey Cottage,and Elizabeth Bergus. Some of the history used for this website was taken from ' The Carpenter Family's 10th Anniversary Souvenier Book' from 1990.

    Uncredited photos and text Copyright Carol Baker. Do not copy or reproduce.