Ocean Drive & Pittsburgh
Avenue; East Cape May, New Jersey
Built: Turn-of-the Century (1905) - Opened: April 11, 1908
Operated by Rev Carl McIntire and site of many International Council of Christian Churches convocations, as well as memorable vacations for thousands of radio listeners to 20th Century Reformation Hour, the pioneer of talk radio.
Dr. Carl McIntire was born on May 17, 1906 in the manse of the First Presbyterian Church of Ypsilanti, Michigan where his father was pastor. Dr. McIntire either founded or was an integral part of the Bible Presbyterian denomination in 1938, the American Council of Christian Churches, the International Council of Christian Churches, the Independent Board of Presbyterian Home and Foreign Missions, Faith Theological Seminary, and the Christian Beacon, a weekly newspaper. His radio broadcast was called the Twentieth Century Reformation Hour. Dr. McIntire went to be with the Lord on March 19, 2002.
(Bio from SermonAudio; see link below)
Closed: By Cape May City Officials, 1991,
for want of tens of millions of dollars to bring up to modern codes
Destroyed: February, 1996
When the Greenhill family visited in the late '70s
The elegant Main Floor Dinning Room (upper rigtht): locale of many pleasant moments;
Where Dr McIntire enjoyed many breakfasts of 'Presbyterian' Oatmeal.
February 29, 1996 began the month long destruction.
There were no buyers with $50m for restoration to current codes.
Just down the street from the Christian Admiral
The lonely 'widows' looked for their returning sailors from atop the Victorian homes.
One of the last views. 1990
Dr Carl McIntire and Anita Fetterhoff Myers, who saved her memories.
One of Dr McIntire's
Anita as Betsy Ross
Cape May "Diamonds"; Dr McIntire enjoyed taking guests to Sunset Beach to sift for these Quartz specimens, then to visit Stephen Decatur's grave. See other pics from Sunset Beach at: http://njsouth.com/Sunsetbeach.htm
News and Comments on Life and Death of Carl
After refusing to accept a retirement request, 92-year-old Carl McIntire has left the Bible Presbyterian Church and is holding Sunday services at his Collingswood, New Jersey, home.
The departure comes after more than two years of tumult in the Collingswood church. In 1996, Collingswood Bible Presbyterian Church elders concluded that McIntire could no longer fulfill the tasks of senior pastor, his role since 1933. When McIntire refused retirement, the session took the issue to the Presbytery of New Jersey.
In response, McIntire withdrew, intending to form his own presbytery. Eventually, the presbytery determined that McIntire had left the denomination and declared the Collingswood pulpit vacant.
McIntire says he is fit to continue as senior pastor and that he has been illegally tossed out of the Bible Presbyterian church. He promises legal action.
A major figure in fundamentalist circles since the 1930s, McIntire founded the American Council of Christian Churches in 1941 and the International Council of Christian Churches in 1948 as counterweights to the National and World Council of Churches. In the 1960s, his weekly Christian Beacon newspaper had thousands of subscribers, and his 20th Century Reformation radio program was broadcast on 600 stations.
McIntire was at the center of splits in the Bible Presbyterian Church in 1956 and 1984. The latter conflict reduced McIntire's following to a handful of congregations. Prior to his departure, Sunday attendance at the Collingswood church averaged 50 people, although 1,400 are listed on the official membership roll.
By John P. Elliott. Copyright © 1999 by the author or Christianity Today International/Christianity Today
Rev. Carl McIntire dies at 95
By SUSAN AVEDISSIAN
Cape May Star and Wave
(March 28) VOORHEES — Some revered him, some disliked him — the Rev. Carl McIntire has been called in turn "fractious," "intractable," "a controversialist," "a skilled propagandist," and "a brilliant man, gifted, able to accomplish much in his life."
McIntire, of Collingswood, N.J. died March 19 at age 95 after a short stay in a hospital here in Voorhees, N.J. His funeral service was Tuesday, March 26, at the Bible Presbyterian Church of Collingswood, which he founded, where he had been pastor since 1933 until his retirement in recent years.
McIntire, a colorful, firebrand fundamentalist preacher with a long-standing national and international following has been credited with being the first to recognize the power of radio as an effective means of widespread evangelism.
McIntire had great energy and a penchant for causes that suited his strong religious and political beliefs.
Curtis Bashaw, his grandson, and owner of Congress Hall Hotel and the Virginia Hotel in Cape May, said the image that most often comes to his mind in thinking of his grandfather, is him preaching, on his pulpit, using a bullhorn, or at a rally.
"He was not afraid to stand up and speak," Bashaw said this week.
McIntire founded two denominations in the Presbyterian Church after being defrocked by the church in 1936. After his dismissal from the main body of the church, McIntire reportedly picketed nearly every General Assembly of the church for more than half a century.
He has ties to Cape May that go back to the early 1960s and for many years he broadcast his Christian evangelist radio show from the Christian Admiral Hotel, which he bought in the early 1960s and used as a site for Bible conferences.
"He loved Cape May," Bashaw said.
In addition to the Admiral Hotel which he had renamed the Christian Admiral, McIntire owned numerous other properties in Cape May, including Shelton College, which he operated as a fundamentalist Christian educational institution from 1964 until it lost its state license; Congress Hall Hotel, now owned by Bashaw, and in the process of a $22 million dollar historic rehabilitation; the Windsor Hotel which burned in 1980 under what some say were questionable circumstances; the successful Virginia Hotel, now also owned and operated by Bashaw; the Morning Star, the Evening Star, and others.
He was reported to have said at the time of the Windsor’s demise in May of 1980, with his ever-present bullhorn, standing upon the rubble of that burned building, that it will be God who eventually reveals the reasons for the blaze.
"We have asked almighty God to bring to light who did this, and we’re anxious to see God reveal in his good time what was behind this," he was quoted as saying.
He blamed a recent city ordinance that allowed the city first claim for back taxes out of insurance proceeds in the event of fire.
"I said that would be an open invitation to arson, and 11 days later, this is what happened," he was reported as saying at the time.
Some say he lost important Cape May buildings due to neglect and his relentless battle with the city over a refusal to pay taxes on them, which he litigated to the Supreme Court, but that body refused to hear his appeal. Finally in 1980, he delivered a check to the city of Cape May in the amount of $560,000 for back taxes and delinquent water and sewer bills owed — reportedly the largest tax receipt in the city’s history at that time.
He was criticized in 1980 for a plan to raise money from his followers through a mail-a-will drive in which wills were filled in with the name of his organization, Christian Beacon, as the receiver after a testator’s first beneficiary.
In contrast to his detractors, he had many faithful listeners and readers all over the world.
There are those in Cape May who credit him for being the one to save these old Cape May historic buildings, at a time when few others were. McIntire came to Cape May soon after the storm of 1962, when the city was struggling to recover and rebuild itself and desperate for influxes of capital. Without McIntire, some say, perhaps all these historic buildings would be lost. Instead, the Windsor and the Admiral were lost, one to fire, the other to financial difficulties. Bashaw has credited his famous grandfather with saving the important Congress Hall Hotel, for which, as he has described it, the Admiral Hotel had to be sacrificed.
Bashaw recalls his grandfather holding many a rally to save the Windsor after more stringent state fire codes began to jeopardize his ability to maintain the building.
"He was sitting in front of the Windsor, having a rally, mad that it had been closed, he thought the state had been unfair," Bashaw recalls. "He had a lot of rallies to try to raise awareness about how old buildings were being jeopardized."
McIntire also battled the city in court for years over the issuance of beach tags. He believed they were patently unfair.
He railed against those who would deny individuals their constitutional rights to free expression, and religious belief and practice; government was repeatedly on the persecuting end of the stick in his view.
A staunch conservative and anti-Communist, McIntire founded the Christian Beacon, a paper, in 1936 to chronicle his radical break from the mainstream Presbyterian Church at the time. The paper was published weekly until the early 1990s. He also authored 12 books, including Author of Liberty and The Death of a Church.
His influence was felt over decades of the 20th century and worldwide.
Students came from all over the world, from India to Holland, to study at his staunchly Christian Shelton College; his radio show, The Twentieth Century Reformation Hour, broadcasted on numerous stations in practically every state of the country until the station he broadcast from and owned, WXUR AM/FM had its license revoked by the FCC in 1973. McIntire blamed Republican President Nixon at the time for the license revocation, accusing him of orchestrating the move to silence his even more radically conservative views.
Not to be undone, McIntire continued to broadcast for a short time from a ship stationed in international waters off Cape May called "Radio Free America."
Bashaw said his grandfather viewed America as a blessed country.
"He was a Calvinist. He understood that all of humanity is fallen in some sense and that all of humanity needs to understand its limitations, so he believed we all needed grace.
"He really believed America was blessed by God because of its system of government, and he believed we could never have utopia here on earth, so he believed in freedom of religion and freedom of speech, and that that’s the best we can do."
Copyright©Cape May Star and Wave. All rights reserved. Entire contents of this newspaper, editorial and advertising, is the property of the Cape May Star and Wave. No part may be reproduced without prior written consent.
Roy Greenhill, Sr remembers
Carl McIntire is gone. There does not seem to be much remaining of his 70 years of tireless labor. But McIntire remains. Yes his voice will speak as long as there is an Internet, tape cassette, CD and DVD. McIntire was always on the cutting edge of technology (his grandchild was given one of the first organ transplants, and he rejoiced in it); he was talk-radio when 'talk-radio wasn't cool' - well before Joe Pyne.
And his sermons will teach all exactly how to deliver a passionate paean of praise to Jesus Christ. He loved the Bible and the Gospel of Jesus Christ and his fervent dedication shone through every discourse he delivered. It was simple, direct, personal, orthodox. His preaching was something like the spoken word as a hymn. A personality whose only task was to portray the beauty of the Gospel of Christ. When preaching the Bible, he was walking through the grain fields and sharing the fruit of the harvest with his listeners.
"I burn my candle at both its ends;
It will not [may not] last the night;
But Ah, my foes, and O, my friends -
If gives a lovely light! [for Jesus and the Creed of the Church]"
I heard Dr McIntire quote this once; his candle lasted the long night and lighted the whole 20th Century.
There is a Memorial Page for Dr McIntire at CarlMcIntire.org
Carl McIntire Sermons
Visit an amazing
audio site and hear 40 of Dr McIntire's sermons,
preached after he reached 85 years of age. Of special interest is the
autobiographical funeral eulogy for his wife Fairy.
This audio ministry answers a prayer Dr McIntire uttered in that sermon
at his wife's funeral - that his preaching voice be heard after death, since
it was that voice that distinguished and defined the ministry God had given him.
Carl McIntire was truly a magnificent preacher, a model in passion and simplicity.
Access all of the McIntire Sermons, including the funeral for Fairy McIntire
“Cape May’s own Titanic”
‘Watching History Go Away’
Story and photographs by Jennifer Brownstone Kopp
“Lot for Sale” signs dot the landscape today like headstones in a graveyard. Most bear another message as well — “sold.” Four houses already face the beach. Homes of fine proportion with grand views. Summer houses. Cottages, they’re modestly called in Cape May.
But there’s an eerie vacancy to the scene, too. One can feel it in the air.
There’s an immediate coolness, a sense of void.
“You’re watching history go away, kid,” an
unidentified one-armed man wearing a Vietnam veterans’ jacket tells the little
boy standing next to him. It is Monday morning, February 26, 1996 — a cold and
damp day in Cape May — but one that will live in memories for years to come. A
day generating countless tales future generations will have to hear, and bear,
again and again.
In a town whose very existence depends on its historic buildings, the loss of one from fire, much less demolition, is felt intensely. The Christian Admiral Hotel was like a living, breathing member of the community and her passing was mourned as such.
This morning demolition is slated to begin, though no one knows
for sure if it will. The razing had been halted the previous week because
of weather conditions. Still, spectators line the beach front well before 8 a.m.
determined to witness the making — and unmaking — of history.
Though some bring video camcorders and most carry cameras, few are here simply to ogle. Memories have brought them to watch, wait, share stories and even shed a few tears. Personal recollections of days gone by and the moments when the old hotel touched their lives.
Built between 1906 and 1908, the same years as the ill-fated ship Titanic, her soul and destiny were much the same. She was a brick mammoth boasting 333 rooms and touted as the world’s largest hotel when she opened April 11, 1908.
Her lobby featured a glass-domed ceiling much like that aboard the Titanic, and a staircase also reminiscent of the great ship bending in two directions as it led visitors to the upper levels.
Now, the Christian Admiral is sinking too, literally being pulled to the ground by large cables that wind around exterior walls of the building and connect to small bulldozers.
The crowd is quiet. Many drink coffee while talking in hushed tones, a sense of camaraderie begins. “Have you heard anything? Are they going to do it?” everyone asks each other. As coffee runs out and the cold sets in, many are hesitant to leave in fear of missing something. The waiting — and the stories — continue.
Both the Titanic and the hotel were designed to cater to the wealthy, the Christian Admiral, or Hotel Cape May as she was first called, was an intricate part of the 4,000-acre East Cape May Project initiated by wealthy Pittsburgh steel magnates in hopes of creating another Newport, Rhode Island.
Besides the hotel, yacht clubs and golf courses were to be built and “entertainments” as posh as Newport available. A harbor was dredged, trolley tracks laid and stately homes, including that of project president Peter Shields, built in Cape May’s then-remote eastern section.
The hotel itself cost $1 million to build, and from the moment ground was broken, judgment seemed passed — the project was doomed.
Trouble started when the construction workers, amidst racial tension, went on strike within the first six months on the job. Small riots, and even the sabotage of a trolley carrying African-American workers to the construction site, brought work to a standstill. The hotel opened two years behind schedule.
Despite setbacks, the grand opening celebration was magnificent. Cape May’s local newspaper, the Cape May Star and Wave, reported the event to its readers stating, “One of the greatest events which has ever occurred at Cape May is the formal opening of the million dollar Hotel Cape May. It undoubtedly will stand in all future time as an incident marking the beginning of a Greater Cape May, which thus embarks upon a career of upbuilding (sic) and importance which will make all past history of the resort pale and insignificant.”
It was, perhaps, the
hotel’s finest hour — many
guests danced to small orchestras in the hotel’s grand ballroom as others strolled the wide beach front verandah watching Henry Ford and Louis Chevrolet race their newfangled “auto-mobiles” on the sands of East Cape May’s beaches.
One year later, the East Cape May Project was in financial ruin. Peter Shields quit and the project declared bankruptcy. In 1910, the new president Frederick Feldner, and a major stock holder were killed instantly when their auto-mobile was hit by a train at a nearby railroad crossing.
Nelson Graves, a wealthy Philadelphia manufacturer, took over the project and temporarily revived East Cape May and the hotel offering guests a major convention center, improved trolley lines and an amusement park.
In 1914, Graves too declared bankruptcy.
During World Wars I and II, the hotel was used as a military hospital. Postcards from both wars depict her grand halls housing ward after ward of gravely wounded soldiers, nurses at their sides.
Ralph Cornwell stands waiting among the spectators with his wife, Madeline. He remembers being treated here during World War II. “It’s a real shame,” he mutters as he shakes his head and turns away from the spectacle for a moment. His wife, too, remembers the treatment Ralph received here... and other moments when the building served as a hotel and she would have dinner in its Corinthian Dining Room.
After the First World War, the building was purchased by one Frank Schroth who ran it as a hotel until 1931 when he sold it to the Admiral Hotel Co. — for $128,000. Renamed the Admiral Hotel, it wasn’t very long before Schroth’s hotel, too, failed to succeed.
On August 16, 1940, the City of Cape May bought the building at a sheriff’s sale for just $900. The Pennsylvania Company bought it later that year and sold it in October of 1957 to the Masefield Corporation for $142,000, who subsequently declared bankruptcy. In March of 1962 the First Pennsylvania Bank and Trust Company purchased the building at yet another sheriff’s sale for $66,000.
By October, the building was sold again,
this time to Reverend Carl McIntire’s Christian Beacon Press — purchased for
$300,000 in an effort to save the structure from demolition. Again renamed, the
now “Christian” Admiral operated from 1962 to 1991 as a bible conference
hotel. It was during the 1980s the building began to age and deteriorate. New
building codes forced the changes in the hotel she would never recuperate from.
Its last owner, Curtis Bashaw, McIntire’s grandson, grew up in the hotel and
remembered her in a 1996 issue of the Cape May Star and Wave — 88 years
after the grand opening article.
“First it was the transoms — those lovely glass windows above the doors that tilted into the room. They had to come out, replaced by pieces of metal. Then the doors had to have sheet metal tacked on the back, either that or be replaced by metal fire doors. Then the gorgeous stairwells had to be enclosed, the long corridors shortened and the old fire towers enclosed,” he wrote.
“One thing led to another — code upon code — none of them unexplainable, but nevertheless closing up the place. And so the story becomes modern and more familiar. There were operating realities and enormous expenses that just couldn’t be eliminated. Rehabilitation costs were in the tens of millions.”
The reality of the situation by the mid-1990s, as Bashaw saw it, was like coming to terms with a terminal illness. The Admiral was dying, time had passed it by. “After accepting the inevitable, everything became easier. Instead of trying to make that dear, tired edifice something it wasn’t, we just embraced each other. And with that there was peace.”
This fateful day in February, hours have passed, and suddenly the crowd of resolute onlookers notice something is happening. An expectant hush befalls the crowd. Even the dog who has been merrily playing fetch, hesitates and stops, noticing something is up. As the cables are connected to the bulldozer, a man mumbles, “This is it, this is what we came here for.”
Anticipation mounts and workers spew from the building toward the spectators warning, “The bricks are gonna fly. Move back. Keep moving back.” Then they, too, turn to watch.
A small bulldozer starts to tug, groaning forward as the building grieves a distinctive creaking and moaning sound, hesitant to fall, as if fighting her inevitable end. Seconds tick by as the creaking and moaning continues and then, suddenly it happens, the walls give. Each member of the crowd reacts differently.
As the bricks hit the ground and a huge wall of dust begins to rise, some witnesses shout, others are silent, people grab unto one another, and one woman is left on her knees laughing an odd, uncontrollable, laughter.
A wall of dust descends the area. As it swells, visibility is totally obscured. People close their eyes from the dust and then are hesitant to open them, minutes later, to see what is left — or not — of the Christian Admiral. The east wing has vanished, and the show is over for the day.
Work continued until
April when the last brick fell and the Hotel Cape May — a.k.a. the
Admiral, a.k.a. the Christian Admiral — was no more. Thousands of spectators
watched week after week, dogged in their vigil of being by her side when she
died — for when a long-standing member of the community passes, the whole
© Copyright 1998 by Cape Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved.
Note the Tiffany Dome, Similar to the one in the Titantic
The Christian Admiral was situated where the 'p' is in 'Ca'p'e May' on the map.
So, you can see it faced south. The absence of air-conditioning added to its unique charm; it was like sleeping with the Atlantic. Note Sunset Beach where the 'diamonds' were found. (Maybe they were also to be found at 'Diamond Beach, NE of Cape May - I don't know.)
Please suggest material and Links: ChristianAdmiral@GreenhillGlobal.com
Visit my Site at Things Kept Secret
Elisabeth Greenhill arranges flights for Short-Term Mission Trips;
E-Mail to Elisabeth: firstname.lastname@example.org
Web Site with Elisabeth's Picture and some info: Mission Trip Air Fare
Some material on this page is by Roy Greenhill,
Sr; other is included with attribution under the 'Fair Use' principle. Any
objection will result in removal. webmaster@GreenhillGlobal.com
opyright © 1999 by [Greenhill Ministries]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 12 Jun 2012 20:52:49 -0400 .