The Atlantic Hotel contributes to the Berlin Commercial Historic District as an example of late nineteenth century architecture. The hotel has been one of the most important commercial buildings in this small community from the time it was built in 1896, to the present. The Atlantic Hotel served as a vital social center for Berlin and has managed to do so even today. During Berlin’s Victorian Christmas event, the Atlantic Hotel boasts beautiful Victorian-era holiday decorations and décor.
The center pediment is stamped, “1896 Atlantic Hotel." Historians have said that the age-telling marker resembles that of a robust headboard and further signifies the building as a grand hotel. The Atlantic Hotel is a 3-story brick masonry structure which faces east from the west side of South Main Street in Berlin, MD.
The hotel is the apex of intersecting Broad, Jefferson, and Main Streets. Since its original construction in the late 1800’s, an addition, that inappropriately masked the character of the building, was added in 1946. The brick masonry construction, arched window openings on the side and rear facades, a large stained glass window on the south side and flat roof construction are all original to the hotel. Other original markers include ornate pressed metal cornices and window hood moldings.
“The façade of the Atlantic Hotel has been mostly hidden by several ugly additions of more recent date,” said Maryland Historic Trust representative, Michael Bourne in August of 1969.
“The best feature of this building is its tin cornice with brackets, panels, and egg and dart molding,” Borne surmised. Borne toured many historic buildings in Worcester and Wicomico Counties during the late ‘60’s to update the Trust's record books.
The large brick building is one of few buildings located in the central commercial district which survived the Berlin fires of 1902, 1904 and was built in 1896 – immediately following the fire of 1895. The gorgeous building once housed a saloon, restaurant, and rooms for locals and guests alike. For almost 50 years, the Atlantic Hotel has played a key role in the social development department for the surrounding community.
In 1987, the building was in extremely poor condition. The interior was rotted, there was severe water damage, and the structure was not sound. Two years prior, the entire roof was blown off of the hotel during a tropical storm. Water had accumulated on the second and third floors.
The grand piano, currently located in the bar area (known today as Drummer’s Café), is older than the hotel itself. The Atlantic Ballroom, which seats up to 125 people, is often used for lovely wedding receptions, parties, luncheons, and other events of the same kind. On the second floor, the Ladies Parlor represents a common area where guests can join to play checkers, enjoy the balcony, or relax on the pink, velour, wing-backed sofa. The period-decorated guest rooms and suites, a detached Gardner’s Cottage, and the Drummer’s Café and bar are updated but retain their Victorian charm. The main entrance hall has a portrait wall featuring Eastern Shore families during the Victorian era.
The arrangement of the current Atlantic Hotel offers 18 Victorian-period guest deluxe and standard rooms, junior suites, and a full suite. All guest rooms, decorated by Angela Reynolds, feature authentic antique furniture, accessories, and modern amenities.
The Victorian era was marked by romanticism, mysticism, changing social values, and an increase of peace, prosperity, and art. Every holiday season, bits and pieces of this long-gone era can been seen in downtown Berlin, MD during Victorian Christmas. Berlin was alive and thriving during the Victorian Era in the United States.
If walking down Main Street in Berlin, the large Christmas tree on the property of the Atlantic Hotel will catch your eye. The town’s holiday tree is bedazzled with over-sized Christmas balls, giant glittery snowflakes, and a huge gold star. The front doors of the hotel have hand-made wreaths that feature fresh apples, pinecones, and big lace bows. Swags and garland adorn the rest of the hotel porch and balcony.
Traditional Victorian Christmas décor includes strung garlands, gingerbread men and marzipan candies as decorations, fresh cookies, pine cones and berry bunches on display, along with the scent of pine, fir, and hemlock wafting through the air. Simply decorated Christmas trees were placed next to glowing fires and lit by small, slim candles placed carefully on large branches. Other buildings in the Berlin vicinity are also decorated for the holidays in Victorian garb and open for tours. The Calvin B. Taylor House Museum and the Merry Sherwood Plantation have scheduled open house times in honor of Victorian Christmas.
Until January 1st, the Atlantic Hotel will be open for tours in honor of Victorian Christmas. Only unoccupied rooms will be open based on hotel vacancy. The Merry Sherwood Plantation will host an open house on December 15th from 4 – 8 pm. The Taylor House Museum will be open on Saturday, December 17th for tours.