The Haunted Mansion was
located on the Long Branch Pier, which was situated at 65 Ocean Avenue in
Long Branch, New Jersey. The history of the mansion starts
with Pat Cicalese, a local businessman who owned the water slide and beach
club across from the Long Branch Pier. Pat, who was a friend of
Carmen Ricci, was involved in the amusement industry of Long Branch since
the 1960s. When Carmen Ricci wanted to build Brigantine Castle in
Brigantine, NJ, he went to Pat for financial support. Pat decided to
help fund Brigantine Castle, which was completed in May of 1976. Pat
was so amazed at the success of Brigantine Castle, that he decided to
visit the attraction to get ideas for Long Branch.
After visiting Brigantine
Castle, Pat asked Carmen Ricci to come to Long Branch and help him build a
similar attraction at the Long Branch Pier. After some planning,
Carmen came up with the idea of the Haunted Mansion. The two men
formed a partnership and started a company called Ric-Cic
Incorporated. The company also consisted of Carmen's brother, Thomas
Ricci, who would help develop the Long Branch Mansion and
Although Pat Cicalese owned
the water slide and beach club across from the Long Branch pier, the pier
itself was owned by the Sowul family. In 1977, Pat and Carmen Ricci
leased the pier from the Sowuls with an option to buy it. Ric-Cic
then spent one million dollars building the three story mansion and
renovating other parts of the pier. In 1978, the completed 10,000 square feet mansion
opened to much success. The pier also
consisted of an arcade, a fishing pier, and 50 other concessions.
Ric-Cic bought the entire pier from the Sowul family in May of 1979.
|Thomas Ricci, former
co-owner of the Haunted Mansion, stands by a pier addition
The Haunted Mansion was
advertised heavily in New York as the world's largest haunted attraction.
The heavy advertising lured crowds of up to 100,000 a week to the Long
Branch boardwalk. In 1980, Pat Cicalese bought out Carmen and Thomas
Ricci's share of the Long Branch Pier and Haunted Mansion. Pat
continued to develop and expand the pier and mansion. He contributes
much of the mansion's success to his excellent managers, Lil Grauman and
|A picture of the
Long Branch Amusement Pier from the late 70s. The top of
the Haunted Mansion can be seen in the middle of the picture.
In 1985, Pat re-themed the
Long Branch pier as "Kid's World" after being inspired by Sesame
Place in Langhorne, PA. He started a pay-once system which is
now common at most amusement parks. Since the re-themed pier was
geared toward younger children, the scare-factor of the mansion had to be scaled
down. The mansion continued to employ live actors, but the scenes
became more "family friendly."
|A Kid's World Pennant
featuring Sandy the Sea Lion, the official mascot of Kid's
World. Bret Malone provided us with this picture.
The Long Branch Pier met its
demise on June 8th, 1987 when a fire destroyed most of the pier
and the surrounding businesses. It was later determined that the
fire was started by a gas leak and electrical arching under the
boardwalk. Since there was a heavy west wind that day, the fire
spread quickly across the entire pier. Unlike the Brigantine Castle, the
Haunted Mansion was still in operation when the fire completely destroyed
it. Because of this, no contents of the mansion were ever pillaged
by souvenir seekers like at Brigantine Castle.
Pat Cicalese originally
planned on rebuilding the Long Branch Pier and Haunted Mansion after the
fire. Unfortunately, he was heavily underinsured and only received a
settlement of under 2 million dollars. This did not even cover the
four million dollar mortgage which Pat still owed on the pier. When
no banks would fund the rebuilding of the pier, plans for redevelopment
|An artist rendering
of new pier facilities for Long Branch. Notice that the
mansion was included in the plans. Unfortunately, these
plans would never come to be.
In the late 90s, the city of
Long Branch took over ownership of the pier property and sold it to condo
developers. Today, nothing remains of this
once bustling pier. If you want to learn more information about the
Long Branch Pier and the Haunted Mansion, you should visit the Long Branch