Friday, December 31, 2021 / by Teresa Dipeso
Today, Shamrock Beef & Ale owner Tom Gerace announced that he has successfully secured the rights to relocate the former historic hotel that was previously home to the Shamrock Beef & Ale. Gerace believes that said building is a unique piece of history at the Jersey Shore and more specifically the Wildwoods.
Gerace plans to physically relocate the building several blocks away and to honor the original structure in the City of Wildwood.
Gerace stated, "We are thankful that we have been granted leave to relocate this iconic structure. I'd be remiss if I did not personally recognize Joseph Byrne and his team at BG Capital, LLC for making this happen. The Shamrock building could have been demolished, but through our collaborative effort we were able to preserve this iconic piece of Wildwood.
"Byrne understands that in order to build Wildwood's future you have to appreciate its past which is the same approach they have taken to all of their development along Five Mile Beach."
A Brief History of the Shamrock Building
To quote excerpts from Preserving the Wildwoods' investigation report, dated October 26, 2021...
Our investigation into the history and architecture of the Victorian house at the southwest corner of Lincoln and Pacific Avenue in Wildwood, NJ:
Built circa 1900 as the Berwind Hotel, the house is a significant and well-maintained example of Queen Anne resort architecture, similar to styles in nearby Cape May City. It is representative of the history of Wildwood and is eligible for the New Jersey and national Registers of Historic Places based on its history, age and aesthetics.
When the boroughs of Wildwood and Holly Beach were founded in the late 1800's, they were quaint villages composed of dirt paths lined with a handful of exquisitely built Victorian homes and inns. However, by the time the boroughs merged in 1912 to form the City of Wildwood, Pacific Avenue had already become the city's downtown district. To meet the new commercial demand, many of the houses, hotels and inns along the avenue converted their first floors into businesses like stores and restaurants.
Many families continued to live above their businesses; otherwise, they opted to rent to boarders, which became a common way for widows to financially support themselves. These buildings' conversions to mixed-used spaces should be considered as part of the history, since this type of adaptive reuse is a true American tradition. The house in question is representative of that history.
In the 1900's, investors Jeffrey Pellerin and Fred Davis partnered as Davis & Pellerin and built the Berwind Hotel. The cross-gabled grand house they built was inline with the eclecticism and asymmetry of the Queen Anne style, featuring north-facing bay windows and a seaward-facing octagonal turret. The ocean views and breezes were certainly taken into consideration during construction. Aside from the loss of the porch awning and the witch's hat, the upstairs exterior portion of the Berwind has remained true to its original form.
In 1937, Irish immigrant Cornelius Ward bought the Berwind, moved upstairs and established the Shamrock Cafe "for drinking and socializing" on the ground floor, according to the cafe's plaques. The original Shamrock was inside the house before it gradually expanded over subsequent decades. Queen Anne resort architecture is becoming increasingly rare.