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In 1865, Riley A. Brick, the son of Joseph W. Brick, erected a two and a half story building on Main Street, east of the present Post Office. This architectural wonder was originally known as the Bricksburg House and later became known as the Laurel House. The "Romantic Laurel House" as it was then known was host to the Vanderbilts, Goulds, Rockefellers, Astors, Tilfords, Rhinelanders, Kipps, Arbuckles and scores of other families of social prominence. Oliver Wendell Holmes and Rudyard Kipling would sit on the floor by the fireplace and recite poems and tales to the children, who would gather around to listen. 1 "History of Lakewood."

The large hotel building boom began in 1882 with the expansion of the Laurel House. It was rebuilt and enlarged to house 186 sleeping rooms, filling almost one entire block. Among notable guests in 1884 were authors William Cullen Bryant, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Henry Cuyler Bunner, an Albion W. Tourgee, as well as publishers Henry Oscar Houghton and George H. Mifflin. Grover Cleveland, in between his two terms as President of the United States, and his wife Frances were guests at the Laurel House for several days during the 1889-1890 season.

2 Miller, Pauline.

"History of Lakewood." Township of Lakewood. 2015. Miller, Pauline. Ocean County: Four Centuries In The Making. Toms River, New Jersey: Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders and Ocean County Cultural and Heritage Commission, 2000. 496.