The Original Oceanic Hotel
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Written by SeacoastNH Archive Presents 
Historic Portsmouth #358

Plans are underway for the June 11 Gosport Regatta, a sailboat race from the mouth of the PIscataqua to the Isles of Shoals. The first regatta in 1874 was designed to draw public attention to the new Oceanic Hotel on Star Island built the year before, but did not last long. (Continued below)


Wealthy John Poor of the spice company Stickney & Poor had secretly bought up almost every inch of Star Island from impoverished fishing families. His plan was to cash in on the tourism boom of the 1870s. The Oceanic, built for $35,000, was the first major competition to the Appledore House establish by Celia Laighton Thaxter’s family in 1847. But Poor’s original Oceanic Hotel (seen here) burned down the following fall in 1875. Two existing buildings, the Atlantic House and the Gosport House were quickly adapted into a replacement hotel, but Poor lost interest in the project and sold the island operation to Cedric and Oscar Laighton, Celia’s brothers, in 1877 for a whopping $100,000. But Cedric died and Oscar lost the islands to bankruptcy. The Appledore Hotel burned in 1914, but the 1875 Oceanic still thrives. The nonprofit Star Island Corporation, formed in 1915, purchased the island and all its historic buildings as a conference center. For more about the Gosport Regatta and the Oceanic Hotel contact Star Island at 603-430-6272. (Photo courtesy of the Portsmouth Athenaeum)





Photos on (c) Portsmouth Athenaeum