September 22, 2022

Crest Kitchenette Motel and Blue Marlin Lodge Listed in Virginia Landmarks Register

Two 1960s midcentury modern Virginia Beach motels have been listed in the Virginia Landmarks Register. The Virginia Board of Historic Resources voted to approve the nominations for the Crest Kitchenette Motel and the Blue Marlin Lodge at its Sept. 16 meeting. Both buildings were nominated under the Virginia Beach Oceanfront Resort Motels and Hotels (1955-1970) Multiple Property Document (MPD) that was approved in 2021 by the Virginia Department of Historic Resources and the National Park Service. The Jefferson Manor Motel Apartments is the historic property that was first recognized with the MPD. The MPD established the historical context and statement of significance for this building type.

The Crest Kitchenette Motel, which today operates as the Cutty Sark Motel and Efficiencies, is located at Atlantic Avenue and 37th Street. It was designed in 1963 by William "Bill" Alderman, a local architect who designed several oceanfront motels during that era, including the Jefferson Manor Motel Apartments. William Winner built and operated the Crest Kitchenette for 10 years. The Modernist-style, three-story, four-bay concrete block building faces the ocean. The eye-catching facade is staggered with the two center bays projecting slightly beyond the end bays. There are 11 units with private balconies which make up the bulk of the facade. Exposed, prestressed concrete beams comprise both ceiling and floor support in the balconies. Melvin and Jimmie Koch purchased the building in 1977 and Mrs. Koch still actively operates the motel, which has changed very little from the original design.

The Blue Marlin Lodge, located on the east side of Pacific Avenue between 24th and 25th streets, currently operates as the Blue Marlin Inn & Suites. It was designed by Alderman in 1965 for Dr. and Mrs. John Anderson. Dr. Anderson had his dental office on the property, and it was incorporated into the design of the motel by Alderman. Upon its completion in 1965, the Blue Marlin Lodge housed 10 efficiency units, three standard motel rooms, and a motel office. Subsequent owners converted the dental and motel offices into five guest room units on the first-floor level. In 1977, a second floor was constructed above the one-story wing, bringing the guest room total to 19. Alderman's original design is intact with its character-defining two-story guest room wing, open concrete stairs, walkway, and balcony with distinctive X-shaped braces, metal screen railing, honeycomb-patterned concrete tiles cladding the south end exterior wall, and a section of the original folded-plate roof.

Kristin Kirchen of Iron Dog Preservation prepared the Crest Kitchenette nomination. Debra McClane, Architectural Historian, developed the nomination for the Blue Marlin. Kirchen and McClane are the authors of the Oceanfront Resort Motels MPD. Funding for the nominations was provided by the City of Virginia Beach through the Historic Preservation Commission. The nominations will be forwarded to the National Park Service for listing consideration in the National Register of Historic Places.

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