A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

History: Aberdeen Inn, Matawan, NJ

I researched the online images of The Red Bank Register dated from 1900 to 1909 looking for the term "Aberdeen" and stumbled upon a series of articles about The Aberdeen Inn, a prominent hotel near the Matawan train station. The hotel was built around 1890 and was running strong twenty years later.

I hadn't come across the hotel in my research before. Anyone know where the hotel was located and if the building still exists? The old Matawan train station building is the only large building still around. I've noted below numerous articles in chronological order from the first five of seven pages of my search results at RBR. I'll update this piece from time to time as I locate more details.

Michael Coleman of Morrisville to Move to Matawan

Michael Coleman, who has conducted the hotel at Morrisville for the past year and a half, has leased the Aberdeen Inn at the Matawan railroad station now conducted by Freeholder Charles E. Close. The term of his lease to for three years, with the privilege of a ten years' renewal at the expiration of that time. The yearly rental is said to be $1,000. The central office of the New York and New Jersey telephone company is located in the hotel and this brings in a rental of $300 a year. Mr. Coleman will take possession of the hotel next Tuesday.

The Aberdeen Inn is owned by Augustus Close, a brother of Freeholder Close. It was built ten years ago. For the first three years it was conducted by Christopher Croxson, and since then it has been in charge of Freeholder Close. The hotel has about twenty rooms and its proximity to the railroad station makes it a very desirable stand. The hotel does a very large bar business, besides having a dining room and lunch counter that are well patronized. It also has a good trade in accommodating transient guests. Freeholder Close, the present proprietor of the hotel, retires from the hotel business to engage in a match manufacturing enterprise. He made a trip to Europe last fall to familiarize himself with the match manufacturing business. He has not yet decided definitely where he will locate his manufacturing plant.

The hotel at Morrisville which Mr. Coleman leaves is owned by Thomas Walsh of Seabright. It was built about six years ago and Mr. Walsh conducted it for awhile himself. Afterward it was rented by Humphrey Hayward, then by Louis Steinberg and finally by Mr. Coleman. Mr. Coleman has put the business on a better basis that it has been since the hotel.was built. He took great pride in the surroundings of his hotel and catered to a good class of trade. Mr. Coleman's successor at Morrisville will be William B. Dalton of Long Branch.

Mr. Coleman, who assumes the responsibility of conducting one of the biggest year-round hotel enterprises in the county, has had a rather eventful career. For eleven years he was employed in the stables of the late D..D. Withers, near Holmdel. Afterward he took to the race track, becoming first a stable boy. From stable boy he rose to rider, from rider to trainer and from trainer to owner. He has made a lot of money in his time and he has spent a lot of it. A year and,a half ago he settled down in the hotel business. He finds the hotel business such a congenial occupation that he expects to remain in it the rest of his days. Source: The 6 Jun 1900 edition of The Red Bank Register, image 2 of 16

ABERDEEN INN, Matawan, N. J .

The Aberdeen inn is convenient to the Matawan railroad station and is equipped with BAR, DINING ROOM AND LUNCH COUNTER. The bar is supplied with first-class Liquors, Wines, Beers and Cigars. First-class accommodations for permanent and transient guests. In fact all the accommodations of a first-class hotel.
Source: The 22 Aug 1900 edition of the Red Bank Register, image 14 of 16

Turned Too Short
In turning around at the Matawan station last week with a horse and wagon, Winfield Geran of that place cranked so short that he was thrown from the wagon. The horse ran up on a terrace in front of the Aberdeen inn and broke the wagon. Geran was slightly bruised by the fall.
Source: The 22 Aug 1900 edition of the Red Bank Register, image 13 of 16

Short and Interesting Items From All Over the County

James Wright of Matawan and his wife have been held for the grand jury on a charge of keeping a disorderly house near the Aberdeen inn at that place.
Source: The 22 Aug 1900 edition of the Red Bank Register, image 16 of 16

A woman wanted for general housework and a man to work in a restaurant. Michael Coleman, Aberdeen inn, Matawan, N. J.
Source: The 22 Aug 1900 edition of the Red Bank Register, image 4 of 16

Michael Coleman of the Aberdeen Inn, Matawan, visited W. H. Dalton on Thursday.
Source: The 12 Sep 1900 edition of The Red Bank Register, image 8 of 16

A Coming Clambake
Michael Coleman, proprietor of the Aberdeen inn at Matawan, will give a clambake on Thursday of next week. All the big and little politicians of the county are expected to be present. Besides feasting there will be speechmaking and a general jollification.
Source: 26 Sep 1900 edition of The Red Bank Register, image 5 of 16

The Aberdeen Inn Leased
Michael Coleman has sold his lease of the Aberdeen inn at the Matawan railroad station to William McKelvey of Manasquan and not to James Norman, as has been reported. Mr. Norman was negotiating for a hotel at Long Branch, but the deal did not go through. N. O. McHenry will manage the Aberdeen inn for Mr. McKelvey.
Source: The 3 Jul 1901 edition of The Red Bank Register, image 4 of 20

Blankets And Whip Stolen
Tunis S. Sickles of Holmdel drove to Matawan on Sunday night to take his daughter and her husband to the train. While waiting for the train he put his rig under the sheds of the Aberdeen hotel. When he went to get the rig, two blankets, a lap robe and a whip were missing and no trace of them could be found.
Source: The 9 Sep 1903 edition of The Red Bank Register, image 1 of 16

Fined for Illegal Liquor Selling
William H. Perrine, proprietor of the Aberdeen hotel at Matawan, pleaded guilty in court last Wednesday to an indictment charging him with the illegal sale of liquor. He was fined $150 and costs.
Source: The 11 Nov 1903 edition of The Red Bank Register, image 10 of 16

Matawan Property Sold
M. A. Coon has bought a lot adjoining the Aberdeen inn at Matawan from Mrs. P. Larkin of South River and will build a blacksmith shop on it. Mr. Coon paid $500 for the lot.
Source: The 20 Jan 1904 edition of The Red Bank Register, image 6 of 16

Pig and Chickens Stolen
Samuel C. Towler, who conducts the livery business at the Aberdeen hotel at Matawan, killed a pig a few nights ago and left it in an out-kitchen over night. The next morning the pig was gone, someone having stolen it. The same night someone stole a lot of chickens from Horace Gaskin, who lives near Mr. Towler. There is no clue to the thieves.
Source: The 18 Jan 1905 edition of The Red Bank Register, image 12 of 16

Aberdeen Inn Changes Hands
John Reid of Newark has succeeded William Perrine as proprietor of the Aberdeen inn at Matawan. Mr. Perrine has made no plans for the future.
Source: The 1 Mar 1905 edition of The Red Bank Register, image 16 of 16

A Doctor Has A Runaway
A horse driven by Dr. Ervin of Matawan got scared a few days ago and ran up on the terrace at the Aberdeen inn. The doctor was thrown out, but he was not hurt.
Source: The 1 Mar 1905 edition of The Red Bank Register, image 16 of 16

Man and Money Gone
Alfred Woolley of Morganville, who drives a milk route at Matawan, had a German driving his milk wagon up to last Wednesday. On that day Mr. Woolley went to Long Branch and he instructed the German to meet him at the Matawan station with the wagon after he finished his route. When Mr. Woolley returned home he found his rig under the sheds at the Aberdeen inn, across from the station, but the German had skipped out, taking with him $18 that he had collected during the day.
Source: The 29 Mar 1905 edition of The Red Bank Register, image 10 of 16

Hotel In New Hands
The Aberdeen inn at the Matawan station was reopened to-day under the management of Jack Reed.
Source: The 20 Sep 1905 edition of The Red Bank Register, image 16 of 16

Summary: A multi-vehicle accident on what is now Route 516 between Browntown and Matawan led one vehicle to be repaired at the Aberdeen stables near the Matawan railroad station.
Source: The 25 Oct 1905 edition of The Red Bank Register, image 11 of 16


Last week the prohibitionists of Monmouth county completed their ticket and endorsed Charles E. Close for sheriff. Mr. Close is the Democratic candidate. This is the first time the prohibitionists have endorsed the candidate of another party since 1893, when James A. Bradley of Asbury Park was endorsed for senator.

The fact that the prohibitionists of the county have endorsed Mr. Close is in itself an indication of his high character. The prohibitionists may be considered "cranks" on their especial principle, but their nominees and.the nominees of other parties whom they have endorsed have always been men of high character. The endorsement of Mr. Close by the prohibitionists is thus in itself a testimonial of his high standing as a citizen of Monmouth.

Mr. Close was at one time manager of the Aberdeen inn at Matawan. The hotel is owned by Mr. Close's brother, W. A. Close. The hotel business proved to be very uncongenial to Charles E. Close, and he left it to engage in other and more congenial occupations.

During the time that Mr. Close was manager of the Aberdeen inn it was kept in strict conformity to the law. Mr. Close was particular to have the law observed in every detail, and there was not even a whisper against the manner in which the hotel was conducted. Some Republicans have had a great deal to say about running a man for office who was once a hotel keeper, but the fact that the prohibitionists have endorsed Mr. Close, despite the fact that he at one time conducted a hotel, shows the moral stamina and high character of the man more conclusively than perhaps anything else possibly could.

The Republicans, in their desperation over the antagonism against Mr. Francis which has been manifested by the voters of Monmouth,, are trying to show that Mr. Ciose, because he once kept a hotel, would not enforce the liquor laws and would permit open violations of the Sunday laws. That this is not true is shown by the fact that every hotel man in the county of Monmouth who wants to keep an open bar on Sunday is out working tooth and nail against Mr. Close. The liquor dealers association of Monmouth county is fighting Mr. Close with the same violence with which Dr. Bogardus was fought when he ran for sheriff three years ago. Sheriff Bogardus was elected on a pledge that if he was elected he would force the hotels of Keyport to close their bars on Sunday. He kept his word. The Sunday bars were closed and the men who had been running them were indicted and punished. These men see in Mr. Close's election another three years of closed Sunday bars, and they are bending every effort to defeat him.

If the hotel business is discreditable, as the Republicans intimate it is in Mr. Close's case, how is it that they can support Mr. Francis for sheriff? Mr. Francis is now, and for many years has been, engaged in the liquor business. Mr. Francis's supporters are trying to make the people believe that keeping a hotel, as conducted by Mr. Close, is a discreditable business, but they fail to say that Mr. Francis is now, and has been for years, engaged in the sale of liquor and there is no intimation that he has ever found it an uncongenial occupation.

For myself, I see nothing discreditable about keeping a hotel, provided it is kept according to law. I think it is rather a meritorious thing to run a good hotel and to run it according to law. It seems to me, too, that every hotel keeper in the county who does run his hotel according to law should be the person above all others who should support men who propose to enforce the law. If hotels are to be run wide open on Sundays at Pleasure Bay, or at Long Branch, or at Keyport, or at any other place in the county, it is a direct injury to every hotel keepwr who does obey the law. It is placing an undue competition on men who follow the mandates of the law, as Judge Foster has often said. Illegal liquor selling is an injury to the community where it in carried on ; but it is a direct financial injury to every hotel keeper who obeys the law. Hotel men and liquor sellers who want to run open Sunday bars are not expected to favor the election of officials pledged to an enforcement of the law; but the hotel keepers who do obey the law should be the very men above all others who should strive to elect men who will not act as guardians of law breakers.
Source: Excerpted from the 25 Oct 1905 edition of The Red Bank Register, image 13 of 16

Fire at Matawan
A fire started at the stables of the Aberdeen inn at Matawan on Tuesday of last week. Six tons of hay and a ton of straw were destroyed and the stables will have to be newly roofed. The loss is covered by insurance.
Source: The 4 Jul 1906 edition of The Red Bank Register, image 

New Buildings at Matawan
Harry B. Hulsart of Matawan is planning to build a house and barn on his lot adjoining the Aberdeen inn. The house will be 24 x 30 feet, with a basement. The barn will be 40 x 56 feet with a basement. The buildings are to be completed by spring.
Source: The 30 Oct 1907 edition of The Red Bank Register, image 14 of 16

Three Negroes Held to Await the Action of the Grand Jury.
One day last week Charles Edward Boyce of Matawan was returning home after having taken a load of produce to the Keyport boat. He was accompanied by his father and daughter. At Keyport he was asked to leave a watermelon at the Aberdeen inn at Matawan. On his way he stopped at Oak Shades and he and his father went in Pat Whelan's grocery store. While they were in the store three negroes sneaked up and stole the watermelon from the wagon. The negroes were Howard and Charles Rogers and Jacob Johnson. The child called for her father and Mr. Boyce hurried out of the store. A fight ensued and the negroes struck Mr. Boyce several times. The watermelon was mashed during the fight. Warrants were issued for the arrest of the three negroes and they will be held to await the action of the grand jury.
Source: The 19 Aug 1908 edition of The Red Bank Register, image 4 of 16

Fine Residence for Matawan
H. C. Hulshart has started his fine residence near the Aberdeen Inn at Matawan. The house will cost about $7,500.
Source: The 19 May 1909 edition of The Red Bank Register, image 5 of 16

License Transferred
The license of the Aberdeen Inn at Matawan has been transferred from John Greene to Wright K. Cortledge.
Source: The 26 May 1909 edition of The Red Bank Register, image 2 of 16

A new blue-stone walk will be laid from the Aberdeen Inn at Matawan to the railroad station.
Source: The 4 Aug 1909 edition of The Red Bank Register, image 5 of 16

New Boat on Raritan Bay
W. R. Cartledge, the new owner of the Aberdeen Inn at Matawan, has had his large motor boat brought  from Philadelphia to Keyport.
Source: The 11 Aug 1909 edition of The Red Bank Register, image 5 of 16

Addition to Hotel Building
W. A. Close has doubled the size of the building attached to the Aberdeen Inn at Matawan. The addition is used as a barber shop by George Schmidt.
Source: The 22 Sep 1909 edition of The Red Bank Register, image 5 of 16

Liverymen Build Wagon Shed
The Matawan Aberdeen company, which now owns the S. C. Towler livery stable business, is building a long wagon shed for the use of its patrons.
Source: The 29 Dec 1909 edition of The Red Bank Register, image 5 of 16


  1. According to The Matawan Journal Dec. 1961, "the Aberdeen Inn will be torn down to make way for Cal Haley's new Texaco station",

  2. The Inn was on the corner of Main and Station Plaza next to the 7/11. I believe the boarded-up Haley's gas station is still there.