The New Oakdene was a hotel on Phillips Avenue in Pigeon Cove operated by Mrs. J.J. Dean. An advertisement in a 1903 magazine described the New Oakdene as “built and furnished new 1900; all modern improvements.” It also said the hotel had the “finest situation on Cape Ann, broad ocean view.” Another ad, from 1904, described it as “a modern, quiet, exclusive house accommodating not more than 25 guests; broad ocean view.”
Mrs. Dean’s husband was then treasurer and later president of the Cape Ann Tool Co. In 1909, Mr. Dean founded the Dean Drop Forging Company in Muncie, Ind. The Deans continued to spend their summers in Pigeon Cove. In 1910, the Deans were involved in an auto accident in Manchester, Mass., when he tried to pass an ice wagon and ended up hitting and jumping over a stone wall.
I assume that the hotel was called the “New Oakdene” because it replaced a former establishment, also called Oakdene. An 1896 article in The Boston Daily Globe about summer visitors to the North Shore talked about Oakdene cottage in Pigeon Cove, owned by Mrs. J.J. Dean. It described the Oakdene’s summer guests as “quite a colony of literary workers,” specifically naming Margaret B. Peeke of Sandusky, Ohio; Dr. W.P. Phelan of Chicago; and Edith Weld of Jamaica Plain, Mass.
It appears that the Oakdene attracted interesting guests. Margaret Peeke was a Martinist — a believer in a form of mystical Christianity — who wrote two books, Born of Flame, Numbers and Letters: or The Thirty-Two Paths of Wisdom; and Zenia the Vestal, or, The Problem of Vibrations. Dr. Phelan was a medical doctor who wrote a number of books about a variety of mystical and health topics. Some of his titles included Esoteric Vibration; Our Story of Atlantis: Written Down for the Hermetic Brotherhood; Love, Sex, Immortality; Three Sevens: A Story of Ancient Initiations; and Future Rulers of America. Edith Weld came from a wealthy Boston family and was a founder of The Footlight Club in Jamaica Plain.
Based on that 1896 article, the “old” Oakdene was also popular among bicyclists. The round-up of Oakdene guests had this to say:
Capt. and Mrs. Cutter of Concord, Mass. are among the tandem bicyclists of Pigeon Cove summer residents.
J.A.V. Hurd, one of the first bicyclists of the cape, and with Mrs. Hurd the first tandem riders on the cape, still continues his interest in wheeling matters. His cyclometer this season registers high in the four figures.
Mr. and Mrs. and Miss Himmelsbacher of Philadelphia are among the bicyclists of this resort.
Miss Anna Merrill of Boston, Miss Coburn and Mrs. Dennis of Lowell, the Misses Simpson of Boston Highlands, Prof. Brewster of Columbia college and his son Edward are also among the local wheelmen.
The Misses Canney and Miss Abbie Frost are among the Pigeon Cove wheelwomen.
Between the literary guests and the cycling guests, I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall as they all sat down to dinner and conversation.
This postcard was published by The Rotograph Co. and bears a copyright of 1905.
Where can I learn more about the Dean family and the forge in Muncie, Indiana?
One source I found was a biographical sketch of John Brazier. He had worked at Cape Ann Tool Company and then went with Dean to Muncie to become superintendent of the plant there. See: http://countyhistory.org/books/doc.dela2/532.htm.
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