A History of the Historic Emerson Hotel
Journeys into Emerson
Someone in our house was hungry for a steak sandwich the other day. So we went to their destination of choice for such things: The Emerson Hotel.
The Emerson Hotel has been a staple of the community for a long time - almost taken for granted, there just off from the newly rebuilt Railroad Plaza. In recent years it is best known for its steak sandwiches, pizza, burgers, dinner platters and friendly folks at its bar. It also serves a good onion soup.
While waiting for our food I came to wonder out loud (My dinner partner did not much care) how long it has been since the Emerson Hotel was actually a hotel.
Though I did not get an answer to the question I was looking for, I did find some interesting facts about the Emerson Hotel.
According to the website for restaurant, The Emerson Hotel, originally called Etna House, then Block’s Hall, has stood on Emerson Plaza East since 1872 and was one of several along the railroad tracks to feed and shelter travelers. Many borough meetings, receptions, and social gatherings occurred here.
Much more of interest can be found at the borough website. For example, in the early 1870s, John H. Ackerman (Ackerman Avenue) opened Kinderkamack’s first general store (Kinderkamack was the umbrella name for an area stretching from what is now Emerson to River Edge. Emerson would not be called Emerson until later) near the corner of Linwood Avenue and Kinderkamack Road. At about the same time, George W. Wallace built the Etna House, so-called for the new community name that was quickly replacing the old-fashioned sounding Kinderkamack. Later purchased by August Block, and referred to as Block’s Hotel (or Block’s Hall) it remains a landmark in downtown Emerson and has long been known as the Emerson Hotel.
By the way at this page can be found some great historical pictures. And, make sure to check out these two: "Old picture post card of Emerson, looking east toward Emerson Hotel and Linwood School", and "Block’s Hotel (now the Emerson Hotel), circa 1903".