1950's America was an optimistic, confident, enthusiastic society and an economic
colossus where people enjoyed increasingly greater wealth and leisure time. TV
overtook radio as the most important cultural influence and began broadcasting
ads for a device that would transform society: the automobile.
wanted to get in their cars and go! The Wildwoods accommodated them with a dynamic
seaside boardwalk, amusement piers and nightclubs that became a proving ground
for the period's biggest music stars. The prosperity and vitality of the 1950's
provided the impetus for an exciting high-voltage visual style that transformed
the Wildwoods' architectural landscape. The island resort's architecture built
in this era reflected the spirit of the people: brash, bold and boastful, and
the popular culture of the times. The dense building fabric presented a varied
and exaggerated spectacle of designs, all competing for the passing motorists'
attention. Angular elements, space-age imagery, tropical themes and colors, with
spectacular neon signage turning up the volume even more, combined to form a sensational
display that can still be seen in the Wildwoods today.
courtesy Aladdin Color, circa 1960s |The
Caribbean Motel was built in 1957 by Lou Morey (whose family built many of the
Wildwoods' original Doo Wop motels) for original owners Dominic and Julie Rossi.|
the signature features of this ultra-modern motel was a curving "Jetson Ramp"
that winded its way from ground level up to the second-floor sundeck & lounge
in a most glamorous fashion! Then there was the crescent-shaped pool - one of
the most unique in the area at the time, and still to this day!
courtesy Aladdin Color, circa 1960s
Caribbean is said to have been the first motel in The Wildwoods to use plastic
palm trees to create an exotic atmosphere that made you feel as if you were far,
far away from New Jersey! These kitschy oddities are now ubiquitous throughout
the entire resort - and you can blame (or thank, depending on your point of view)
the Caribbean for starting the trend!|
In this photo from the 1960s, you
can see how the Caribbean has not changed much - at least on the outside!
Caribbean's famous oversized rooftop neon sign was designed by Harry Lanza of
Allied Signs in Wildwood. When first proposed, no sign this large had ever been
installed - or permitted - in Wildwood Crest! After much debate, local ordinances
were changed to allow installation of the extra-large sign, setting the stage
for other motels to follow suit with similarly over-the-top signs, gradually creating
the neon-lit fantasyland the "strip" in Wildwood Crest would soon become,
and still is today!|
tuned for more historical photos and tidbits from the Caribbean Motel!
read on to learn about our complete restoration
and renovation which began in 2004!