The Definitive Resource Of Oscar Wilde's Visits To America

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New Jersey 

Shinn's Hall

Monday, May 8, 1882

The Decorative Arts


Newspaper report

Monmouth Democrat, (Weekly), May 11, 1882

Newspaper Advertisement

Monmouth Democrat, (Weekly), May 4, 1882


Shinn's Hall 

107 Bennett Av., Freehold, NJ (now the midpoint of Lafayette Street at Court House Square)

Opened: before 1876 (George W. Shinn)

Seating capacity: 1000

Aka: Shinn's Hall - Opera House and Skating Rink, c. 1885

Renamed: Freehold Opera House, c. 1892

Converted: for the National Guard of the State of New Jersey, c. 1911

No contemporary image is known to exist of the location as Shinn's Hall. This is a detail from a c. 1911 photograph of the building after its conversion to an armory for the NGSNJ.

Subsequently demolished.

Sanborn Map Company, Freehold (Sheet 1), N.J. (1885)

Princeton University Library


It can be inferred from a contemporary newspaper article that Wilde stayed overnight in Freehold, as might be expected in what was then the remote town of Freehold.

Quite a crowd gathered at Matawan Station last Monday evening, and again on Tuesday morning, to see the "too utterly-utter" Oscar Wilde...

Matawan Journal, May 13, 1882, 2

However, no record has been found to verify at which hotel he stayed, although his choice was limited, probably to the American Hotel or the Washington.

Oscar Wilde In America | © John Cooper, 2024