August Corbin, a rich banker acquired title to the Manhattan Beach Hotel. It was built on the far eastern shore of Coney Island. Architect J. Pickering Putnam set its nearly 700 feet long front with its covered verandas and acres of manicured lawns facing the sea. It was considered the most elegant and fashionable hotel in the United States. It featured 258 lavish rooms, restaurants, ballroom and shops. When Ulysses S. Grant delivered the dedication speech for the hotel's grand opening on July 4, 1877 the event and the free fireworks show drew such huge crowds that it overwhelmed Corbin's railroad. And those who once thought that Corbin overpaid for the land changed their minds and pitied Littlejohn for selling so cheap.
Original photo courtesy of George Eastman House (Flickr.com)