In 1911 James Gibson purchased the North Beach property from homesteader Al Hill. Originally an apple orchard established in the 1880’s, the Gibson family continued to harvest fruit for many years as North Beach Farm. However, to make ends meet, the family soon branched out into the hospitality business.
In addition to apples, by 1916 North Beach Farm was also providing tourist accommodations in the form of tent cabins located in the orchard and along the beach. In fact, several of the oldest cottages which still exist today were constructed on those original tent cabin frames.
The business was expanded in 1932 to include a total of eight sleeping cottages and a main lodge where meals were served. At that time the name of the business was changed to North Beach Tavern. The “tavern” title was in the spirit of the old English style tavern or inn, which provided both accommodations and meals for travelers. The design of the main Lodge itself was modeled after a Scottish hunting lodge. However, as it was still the Prohibition era, the business could not serve alcohol. Thus, to avoid misunderstandings, the resort was soon renamed Gibson’s North Beach Inn, which it has been known as ever since.
North Beach Inn owes its continued existence in large part to the devotion of many generations of loyal guests. In the early days it was common for guests to stay at the resort for several weeks or more each summer. In fact, some of the cottages were originally named after the guests who stayed in them. Linesville for instance was named for the Lines family and Craigsville, now Lalla Rook, was named for the Craig family.
Today the Gibson family is still active in managing the resort, including members of the fifth generation.