Boardwalk, Atlantic City, New Jersey, ca 1907
The picture on this vintage 1907 postcard is of the boardwalk at Atlantic City, New Jersey, which today is mostly lined with large hotels and casinos but was at that time primarily a resort and health spa. Rolling chairs made of wicker, some with canopies, and similar to a Rickshaw that attendants push up and down the boardwalk were introduced in the 1800s are still popular. Two are visible at the lower right side of the picture. Horse drawn buggies can be seen in the background on the beach. Beginning in 1882 the boardwalk has been home to several piers like the one at the upper right side and today there is still an amusement pier across from the Trump Taj Mahal.
Logo of the Metropolitan New Company, Boston, Massachusetts
Dr. Jonathan Pitney came to this site on Absecon Island off the Jersey Shore on the Atlantic Ocean in 1819 to set up a medical practice after being convinced that the climate and water were ideal for a health resort. Today he is known as the Father of Atlantic City. It was interesting to note that the message on the reverse of the card says in part: "Came down here yesterday with a patient. . ."
The Prohibition years, 1919-1933, saw backroom illegal gambling, organized crime and liquor sales. A noted racketeer and political boss of that era was Enoch L. "Nucky" Johnson who was said to have had an income of $500,000 a year during the Golden Age of Atlantic City in the 1920s. Following World War II there was an economic downturn with an increase in poverty, crime, corruption and general decline. Fast, cheap air service offered people access to other resorts such as Miami, Florida and the Bahamas. In an effort to revitalize the city a referendum was passed in 1976 approving legalized casino gambling for Atlantic City. Since then some hotels converted to casino/hotels and several more casinos have been built. This did not immediately solve the problems but today Atlantic City is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the United States.
The Miss America Pageant begun in 1921 started in Atlantic City.
The properties on the Parker Brothers board game “Monopoly” are named for places in and near Atlantic City.
A popular feature introduced by William “Doc” Carver in the early 20th century, horse diving was held at the Steel Pier. The Steel Pier also had novelty attractions such as the Diving Bell, human high divers, and a water circus.
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