Point Lookout Hotel; memories of fun, history and dreams of yesterday are mixed with reports of trash and poor conditions at State Park

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Part I – Point Lookout Hotel –

The picture of Point Lookout Hotel that was carried in the November 1988 issue of The Chesapeake brought back poignant memories that I have really tried to put out of my mind. The last time I visited the Hotel, She reminded me of a skull looking with sightless eyes across the waters of the Bay. I say ‘She,’ because to me She was once a lovely old lady sitting there beside the beach smiling at the sea gulls and fishermen as they passed in their boats.
Today there is nothing left of what was there. She has been vandalized beyond description. They have stripped Her of everything, from Her furniture to Her kitchen equipment, to Her very doors – even to Her windows, so that now She is a mere hulk of herself and slowly deteriorating – soon to be just a memory.
I try not to think about Her this way, but instead, remember the happy times when She was alive with the sound of people laughing and enjoying what She had to offer. It is my hope that maybe my poor excuse for writing will somehow impart to you some understanding and feel for what I perceived Her to be.
She was not the first hotel built on Point Lookout, and she is not as old as she would seem, having been built just after the First World War. I first visited the hotel sometime around 1937-38 and thought She was grand with Her wide double staircase leading to the upstairs from the great oaken-curved desk. I have since learned that business-wise, She was in hard times and had been since the steamboats had stopped calling.

The Second World War was a shot in the arm for Her! During the construction of Patuxent Naval Air Station, many a workman was billeted there, since housing in St. Mary’s County was practically non-existent prior to building what is now the Lexington Park Hotel, and the houses are known as Lexington Park (more commonly called ‘the flat tops’.)

Those years were the last years in which the Hotel was run year round. As pretty and pleasant as it is down on the Point in summer, it is just as desolate and cold during the winter months when the North East wind whips across the Bay, carrying cold and dampness that can cut to the bone. If there is anyone you know that lived in the Hotel during those years, I would love to hear from them.

Following the Second World War, She had a number of managers who attempted to run Her successfully, ending up with what was called the ‘army’ just prior to my abortive attempt. Now, in reality, it was an arm of the Pentagon who operated the facility as an ‘R & R’ for the poor overworked ‘Brass.’

Being an enlisted man, with my face in the mud during the War while people I didn’t know tried to do me bodily harm, it never dawned on me that anyone in the Pentagon needed ‘rest and recreation.’

Being an enlisted man, with my face in the mud during the War while people I didn’t know tried to do me bodily harm, it never dawned on me that anyone in the Pentagon needed ‘rest and recreation.’

I had always thought that the Pentagon WAS ‘R & R!’ I guess us poor misguided types just never knew the hardships of having a nine-to-five job and being forced to live in or near the Capital of these United States!!

In some fairness to the military owners – they did improve the Old Girl while She was under their command. They installed a sprinkler system, put storm windows on each window, erected a helicopter pad behind the swimming pool (something every little hotel needs,) and saw to it that it was kept in as good of shape as possible. Something I tried to emulate, albeit, with far fewer funds than they had.


The Army-Pentagon decided to sell the facility, because, (we have been told) the ‘Brass’ came down less and less, primarily because there was no golf course nearby! The poor devils had to drive twenty-one miles to the Pax River Naval installation to play golf!! And then after an exhausting time on the links, drive another bone shattering twenty-one miles back!!

To the best of my knowledge, during that period, no civilian or enlisted men (other than those working for the facility) were allowed on the grounds.
I will not attempt to give you a full history of the old Hotel, rather instead, I will tell you some of the things that transpired while I was the manager, and give you an understanding of why it is closed.

The last years of the hotel are told by Alan Brylawski in Letter from Point Lookout Hotel in THE CHESAPEAKE: Tales & Scales http://amzn.to/1zXcs22

Point Lookout fishing pier was paid for by the establishment of fishing license fees instituted in the Schaefer Administration. Funds from fishing licenses were designated to build reefs and piers to be available to the public without charge. THE CHESAPEAKE TODAY photo

Alan Brylawski was the last operator of the Point Lookout Hotel on the Chesapeake Bay.

 

Point Lookout Hotel’s final days. THE CHESAPEAKE TODAY photo

Alan Brylawski, known far and wide as “Mr. B”, was the last operator of the Point Lookout Hotel, and owned the former Mr. Donut in Lexington Park for 20 years before retiring and selling his business. The CHESAPEAKE photo

Jean Brylawski, the longtime owner, and operator of the Lexington Park Baskin Robbins for 20 years located in Millison Plaza died in Florida in 2011. She and her husband operated the Point Lookout Hotel. THE CHESAPEAKE photo

This sign ignores the fact that the law enacted in 1992 required that the funds be used to provide fishing piers and reefs to expand and fishing opportunities. THE CHESAPEAKE TODAY photo

Point Lookout Hotel’s lunch hall after direct hit by hurricane in 1933.

Point Lookout Fishing Pier. THE CHESAPEAKE TODAY photo by Darrin Farrell

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