I was eleven when, on a field trip with my Girl Scout troop in southern New Jersey, I stumbled into an exhibition about the Lenni Lenape. I don’t remember any specific details about the dress on display, but I’ll never forget the feeling that came over me when I saw it. The noise inside my head blocked out everything around me. I stood frozen, unable to move or speak. The dress was like a time machine, connecting me to its maker, a hundred years in the past. Historical fiction should do the same.


Chalfonte on the left, Haddon Hall on the right, both wood frame bldgs, 1882 lithograph
Fireproof Chalfonte on the left, Haddon Hall with Boardwalk addition on the right, Ad from 1921
Chalfonte-Haddon Hall in 1940s
Window detail from Resorts Casino, my photo
West Jersey & Seashore RR system map, SJRail

“Murder at the Alcazar”

Hotel Alcazar in 1902
The largest indoor pool in the world, late nineteenth century
The pool is now the Cafe Alcazar
The Alcazar is now the Lightner Museum