Back to Articles

8 things to know about the Atlantic City Boardwalk

Photo Credit: AP

America's first boardwalk has seen a lot over the years. 


The First Boardwalk

Dr. Jonathan Pitney and Richard Osborne began developing the area on Absecon Island in the early 1850s. Atlantic City soon became a popular vacation spot because of its beaches, shops, restaurants, hotels and easy access on the train.

Plenty of tourists brought plenty of sand into the train cars and luxurious hotel lobbies. Alexander Boardman, a railroad conductor, and Jacob Keim, a hotelier, proposed the idea of the boardwalk. The very first boardwalk in the U.S. opened on June 26, 1870.

Photo Credit: AP



In 1884, the rolling chair was introduced. It was the only vehicle allowed on the Boardwalk.

J. Edgar Hoover, left, and his assistant Clyde Toulson enjoyed a rolling chair ride in 1938.

Photo Credit: AP Photo


Sweet Treat

Salt water taffy has been sold on the boardwalk since the early 1880s. In 1925, John R. Edmiston tried to patent the name but was denied by the Supreme Court, saving other taffy manufacturers millions.

Photo Credit: AP


The Pier

The Steel Pier opened in 1898 as a theater hosting acts over the years including Lou Costello, Frank Sinatra and Ricky Nelson. It was quickly expanded to include countless rides and exhibits including the famous 'diving horses.' The Steel Pier became known as 'The Showplace of the Nation.'

Photo Credit: AP Photo


Dress Code

Censors walked the boardwalk and the beach in the early 1900s regulating beach attire. Anything deemed inappropriate would lead to arrest. In 1921, a beachgoer was arrested for wearing stockings rolled below her knees and refused to pull them up. She even punched the officer during the confrontation to show her distaste. 

Photo Credit: Detroit Publishing Company


There She Is

The Atlantic City Inter-City Beauty Contest began in 1921, and took place at The Steel Pier. We know this event today as the Miss America Pageant. 

Photo Credit: AP


Game Night

If you haven't been to Atlantic City, the Monopoly board may seem like it's based on any old town. The game, patented in 1935, is based on Atlantic City, and the blue "Boardwalk" space is one of the most expensive on the board.

Left: Atlantic City and Hasbro Games officials unveil the Monopoly Game stamp at Brighton Park (Park Place and Boardwalk) Wednesday, August 19, 1998, in Atlantic City, N.J. 

Photo Credit: AP


War Time

During World War II, Convention Hall, on the boardwalk, became U.S. Army training facility, Camp Boardwalk. It was common to see squads of soldiers marching up and down the boardwalk as well as mock invasions on the beaches.

Photo Credit: Heston Collection of the Atlantic City Free Public Library

Contact | About | Privacy Policy | Terms of Use | Advertise | Distribution | Do Not Sell My Information - CA Residents