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Historic Atlantic City

Marc Rochkind

Updated 5-Sept-2013


In the first four decades of the 20th century Atlantic City was the ultimate resort. It had a terrific beach, elegant hotels, an incomparable Boardwalk, regal movie theaters, world-class entertainers, fine restaurants, and, best of all, it was the place to be seen and to see others.

Except for the beach, everything started to decline after World War II, although Atlantic City was still quite a place in the 1950s. The decline accelerated in the 1960s and 1970s, mostly for the same reasons that other US cities declined, but also because of cheaper airfares to farther-away resorts, competition from destination amusement parks like Disneyland, and white-Americans' preference for segregated vacations. Casino hotels came to Atlantic City in 1978, but they replaced, rather than revived, the Atlantic City of old. Some of the biggest casino hotels, such as the Borgata, have no connection with the city at all. Today Atlantic City is as spectacular as it ever was, but in a completely different way.

But you can go back to the old days with this app. Click on the photos below to explore all that's here, especially Hotels and Piers, which lead to interactive maps that show all the famous historic hotels and piers. There are over 1200 images to view.

The history of Atlantic City, from the first railroad to the construction of the great hotels.
All of the big historic hotels on an interactive map, including the Chelsea, Shelburne, Dennis, Blenheim, Marlborough, Claridge, Brighton, Traymore, Chalfonte, Haddon Hall, Strand, Seaside, St. Charles, and Breakers. Click a thumbnail to read a bit of history, see more photos, and view postcards, brochures, and other materials.
An interactive map showing the amusement, entertainment, and promotional piers, including the Heinz, Garden, Steel, Young's, Central, Steeplechase, and Million Dollar. Click a thumbnail to read a bit of history, see more photos, and view postcards.
Scenes on the Boardwalk.
Street Scenes
Streets away from the Boardwalk.
Scenes on the beach.
Boats, Airplanes, and Buses
Photos of boats, airplanes, and buses.
Aerial photos, mostly from 1978, just before the Marlborough and Blenheim were demolished.
The huge Easter parade, among others.
Miss America
Photos from 1922 to 1959.
Convention Hall
Photos and history of Convention Hall (now Boardwalk Hall).
Photos, drawings, and detailed description of the Absecon Lighthouse, dating from 1855.
City Hall
Atlantic City's 1901 City Hall, documented in two dozen detailed photos.
Fire Station
Atlantic City's historic Fire Station No. 4.
Post Office
Atlantic City Post Office.
Union Station
27 photos of Union Station.
Other Buildings
Some other buildings in Atlantic City.

Entire site ©2006-16 Marc Rochkind unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved.