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Tiki Central Forums » » General Tiki » » Baltimore's Hawaiian Room at the Emerson Hotel - MAJOR DEVELOPMENT!!!
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Baltimore's Hawaiian Room at the Emerson Hotel - MAJOR DEVELOPMENT!!!
johntiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 31, 2002
Posts: 1525
From: MD
Posted: 2004-05-25 10:28 pm   Permalink

I have begun my quest for information regarding Baltimore's long lost tiki haven - The Hawaiian Room once located in the Emerson Hotel which was demolished in 1971. I have contacted the Enoch Pratt library in Baltimore which is supposed to be one of the best around. Any ideas on how to get started? Databases I need to explore? Photo achives? I haven't done research since college and I'm a little behind the times when it comes to looking things up - I think it also has a lot to do with the laziness the internet instills in us. Do newspapers have a searchable database that goes back all the way to the 50's?? Do libraries keep old phone books?? Help!

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JohnTiki

Aloha from the enchanted Pi Yi Grotto in exotic Bel Air Maryland!


[ This Message was edited by: johntiki 2007-04-19 19:02 ]


 
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Swanky
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Joined: Apr 03, 2002
Posts: 5059
From: Hapa Haole Hideaway, TN
Posted: 2004-05-25 11:18 pm   Permalink

Here's menu I forgot to bid on recently (&*%$##!) that may have had a history with the place in question.
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Johnny Dollar
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 01, 2003
Posts: 2962
From: Baltimore, Maryland, PNG
Posted: 2004-05-26 07:22 am   Permalink

hey johntiki,

haven't done any research at enoch pratt, but from my experience (national archives, etc.) the norm is more often to slog thru card catalogues etc. to find microfiche etc. although, in the past few years info technology might have caught up, i guess i'm just suggesting to expect something less than google

related thought, perhaps library of congress might have selected phone books if local baltimore resources don't. wild-ass guess. but library of congress is pretty damn cool, so are the national archives.

just another random thought, you might check the baltimore city historical society
http://www.historicbaltimore.org/history/history.htm oftentimes city-based historical societies have pretty good photographical indexes. and since the emerson hotel was such a high-profile place (connected to emerson drugs who made BROMO-SELTZER) u mite turn something up.

best of luck my bro...
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Swanky
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Joined: Apr 03, 2002
Posts: 5059
From: Hapa Haole Hideaway, TN
Posted: 2004-05-26 11:07 am   Permalink

I would suggest looking at old phone books and newspapers from the time for ads, etc. That may be all you get of the place. If you know when it opened, you might have a nice article on it around then in the paper.
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cynfulcynner
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 24, 2002
Posts: 1800
From: Ocean Beach, San Francisco
Posted: 2004-05-26 8:15 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2004-05-25 22:28, johntiki wrote:
I haven't done research since college and I'm a little behind the times when it comes to looking things up - I think it also has a lot to do with the laziness the internet instills in us.



Don't be afraid to ask your friendly local librarian for assistance -- that's what they're there for! They should have the local newspaper(s) (on microfilm) going back many years.


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johntiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 31, 2002
Posts: 1525
From: MD
Posted: 2004-05-27 11:14 pm   Permalink

I have finally uncovered a piece of documentation on the long lost Hawaiian Room at the Emerson Hotel...quite possibly the only true tiki bar that has ever existed in Baltimore! The blurbs below are scanned directly from articles that I believe appeared in the Baltimore Sun in February and April of 1971 - a couple months before the demolition of the classic hotel. Neither of these articles deal specifically with the Hawaiian Room but, the first article below is the only account I've discovered of what the interior must have looked like. The second is a remembrance article about the Emerson Hotel written by a former manager of the hotel - Kemp C. Ga...the rest of the name is cut off! I'm going to contact the Pratt library and attempt to get the writer/manager's full name...hopefully he is still among the living. In his picture that accompanies the article he appears to be in his mid-50's...33 years ago. Finally, I got a rather
unusual piece of information...the auction item list of Hawaiian Room furnishing that were destined to be auctioned off in February of 1971! I will scan this page and post it when I get some time...items of interest - #581 Asst. Artificial Planters, Wall Decorations (tikis?), Stones, etc. - Quantity - Lot #582 Asst. Ceiling Decorations, etc. - Quantity 230 - Wow that ceiling must have had some intense clutter!

This seems like a good start - now I just have to make time to browse the phone books on microfilm down at the library.





A side note...reading the articles about the demise of this glorious hotel is rather depressing...I need to track down when the Hawaiian Room opened, maybe the article will seem a tad more upbeat.

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Aloha from the enchanted Pi Yi Grotto in exotic Bel Air Maryland!


[ This Message was edited by: johntiki 2007-04-19 19:01 ]


 
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Johnny Dollar
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 01, 2003
Posts: 2962
From: Baltimore, Maryland, PNG
Posted: 2004-05-28 07:35 am   Permalink

very cool findings johntiki! have you hit the library already - ?

i took the liberty of putting your scans through the Optical Character Recognition program on my pc, so the following is that text in ascii to make it more cut-and-pasteable...

keep on truckin!

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A turn to the right takes you to the "Hawaiian Room," Baltimore’s most California effort in the supper club business. It was budgeted for about $84,000, but cost $125,000, what with all the lava rock brought from "the islands" and the Pacific coral. Lamps were made in the shape of blowfish in this part of the forest and the drinks were served in ceramic pineapples and death's heads.

The hotel’s original barbershop, in the basement section where we later installed the Hawaiian Room, was an elaborate, eight-chair emporium as expensively fitted as the rest of the hotel.

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the pre-tiki barber shop.

just take a little off the top and sides...



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[ This Message was edited by: Johnny Dollar on 2004-05-28 10:32 ]


 
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johntiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 31, 2002
Posts: 1525
From: MD
Posted: 2004-05-28 1:00 pm   Permalink

"The man with the action-packed expense account. America's fabulous freelance insurance investigator" - Johnny Dollar, you're the man! Now we're getting somewhere! This picture has really piqued my interest, now I've really got to see what the Hawaiian Room looked like - did they cram a bar into that small space or did they expand? Where did you come across that photo?

I'm still waiting for a response from the Pratt about who the mystery former manager was...I'm perfectly willing to track him or his family down and see if he or his descendents might have photos or documentation of the installation and operation.


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Trader Woody
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 2301
From: Tiki Manor, Forest of Bowland,UK
Posted: 2004-05-28 1:17 pm   Permalink

Excellent thread. There's far too little information about how to research long-lost Tiki establishments. Many of us would like to dig a little deeper, but it's often difficult to know hwre to start. Too much of the information we have about such places is as a result of pure dumb luck.

Perhaps someone could write a concise but informative guide to researching Tiki for Tiki Central and using our collective interest & skills we could map out the lost world of Tiki.

Trader Woody


 
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Johnny Dollar
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 01, 2003
Posts: 2962
From: Baltimore, Maryland, PNG
Posted: 2004-05-28 1:19 pm   Permalink

hey jt,

i followed the advice i gave you and looked thru the maryland historical society - digitized collections and searched "emerson."
http://www.mdhs.org/explore/library/digi_collections.html there are a whole slew of 1940's and 1950's photos of trade and factory organizations having luncheons and dinners at the emerson, but nothing tiki. i looked through them all, so don't spend your time unless you want (i was very bored this afternoon).


what a delightful luncheon, hey hon?

actually my wahine pointed out that before 1960's white flight, baltimore had a whole lot of upper crusties downtown.

she had another observation, that if you can charm a librarian at enoch-pratt to help you out, they will dig and dig until they find something. apparently they live for this kind of research stuff...

mahalo for the props ~ back atcha brah's

p.s. from the outside in the heyday ~

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Johnny Dollar
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 01, 2003
Posts: 2962
From: Baltimore, Maryland, PNG
Posted: 2004-06-04 08:37 am   Permalink

hey johntiki, the manager appears to still have an address, over by towson university. i pm'ed you the info. (with phone #)

good luck ~
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johntiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 31, 2002
Posts: 1525
From: MD
Posted: 2004-06-04 12:59 pm   Permalink

Well, it looks like my investigation has reached a dead end, literally. The former manager of the Emerson Hotel - Kemp C. Gatling died in December of 2001 at the age of 89. I've got to pursue my other leads now...will keep everyone informed.


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johntiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 31, 2002
Posts: 1525
From: MD
Posted: 2004-06-08 07:56 am   Permalink

I got my hopes up for a moment when I received a scan of this postcard from Polynesian Pop...unfortunately he did not have the actual postcard so he couldn't confirm or deny that this is indeed the Emerson's Hawaiian Room and not the Hawaiian Room at the Hotel Lexington in New York City. Does anyone own this postcard? Does the reverse side of this card reveal the true location and identity of this tropical paradise?



[ This Message was edited by: johntiki 2007-04-19 19:05 ]


 
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johntiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 31, 2002
Posts: 1525
From: MD
Posted: 2004-06-08 08:26 am   Permalink

Below is a scan of the itemized list from 1971 when the contents of the Hawaiian Room and the entire Emerson Hotel were auctioned off...to think at what treasures might have been sold off for a few dollars makes me sick to my stomach...



Of note - the postcard shows a lot of large and small tables as mentioned in the contents of the auction. One of the other acticles also mentions a large number of bamboo chairs...hmm...

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JohnTiki

Aloha from the enchanted Pi Yi Grotto in exotic Bel Air Maryland!


[ This Message was edited by: johntiki 2007-04-19 19:05 ]


 
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PolynesianPop
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 2368
From: Corona, Ca
Posted: 2004-06-08 09:02 am   Permalink

Sabu, can you compare the above dining room photo against the postcards you have of the Hawaiian Room in Lexington? Do they match?

If not, then I think we have the answer!


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Poly-Pop *



Bartender, make mine a glass of WATAHHH!!!!!


 
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