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Glimpses of Atlantic City's Nostalgic Past

To see numerous interesting scenes of Atlantic City's nostalgic past follow these links:

Early Beach Scenes
Early Boardwalk Scenes
Early Clubs
Early Dress Code
Early Entertainers
Early Hotels
Early Inlet Scenes
Early Piers
Historic Atlantic City Convention Hall
Miss America Pageant
Mr. Peanut

Early Atlantic City Boardwalk

Early Atlantic City Boardwalk

Postcard by J. Murray Jordan
- from collection of Thomas Topham

The boardwalk was initially put down to keep the sand off the hotel carpets. City ordinances allowed hotels and shops on the land side of the boardwalk, but not on the ocean side. An exception was made for piers.

Rolling Chairs

Rolling Chairs

When rolling chairs were introduced on the boardwalk, they quickly became very popular. The boards on the boardwalk were later laid in a herringbone pattern to provide a less bumpy ride for the chairs.

Hotel Shelburne

Hotel Shelburne, Atlantic City

Postcard by P. Sander
- from the collection of Thomas Topham

Another famous Atlantic City hotel was the Shelburne

Mr. Peanut

Mr. Peanut, Atlantic City

Photo from A.C. High School Class of 1958 website.

Visitors walking along the boardwalk were greeted by Mr. Peanut standing in front of the Planters peanut store. The smell of roasted peanuts coming from the store tempted them to enter. Many did.

Lucy the Elephant

Lucy the Elephant

Postcard by The World Post Card Co.
- from the collection of Thomas Topham

The original Lucy as she looked in 1907.

Captain Starn's Inlet

Captain Starns Inlet

Photo from A.C. High School Class of 1958 website.

Captain Starn's restaurant, on the inlet, was one of Atlantic City's finest seafood restaurants for almost 40 years. It featured an in-house fish market, and had a fleet of 13 vessels, which included double decker excursion boats and the sail boat shown above.

Historic Convention Hall Interior

Historic Convention Hall, Atlantic City

Photo by Jack Freeman

Historic Convention Hall was so large that football was played on a full sized field within the building.

Early Atlantic City Bathers

Atlantic City Bathers 1915

Photo from Robert Dennis collection
- from Library of Congress.

Bathers around the turn of the century were not allowed to show much skin. Regulations required women to cover their legs, and men to wear tops. It wasn't until 1940 that the ordinance preventing men from going topless was repealed

Steel Pier

Steel Pier

Postcard by Jack Freeman
- From the collection of Thomas Topham

Steel Pier became the best known of all the boardwalk piers, becoming the showplace of the nation. It stretched 1780 feet into the ocean. It opened in 1898.

Boardwalk and Steeplechase Pier

Steeple Chase Pier

Photo from website.

Steeplechase Pier opened in 1904. It featured the largest electric sign in the world, "The Chesterfield Sign" with twenty-seven thousand light bulbs.

Traymore Hotel

Traymore Hotel

Postcard by Smithens Post Card Co.
- from the collection of Thomas Topham

The best known hotel in Atlantic City was the Traymore. The Traymore started out as modest boarding house in 1879. It evolved into Atlantic City's largest and most glamorous hotel. It was demolished in 1972 to make room for casinos.

Miss America Pageant 1921

Miss America Contestants 1921

Photo courtesy of Miss America Pageant

The Miss America Pageant began in 1921 as a gimmick by Atlantic City businessmen to extend the summer tourist season .

The winner of the first pageant was Margaret Gorman. She is the second from the left in the picture above.

Miss America 2005,
Deidre Downs

Miss America 2005

Photo courtesy of Miss America Pageant

From 1921 until 2006 the Miss America Pageant was held in Atlantic City. It is now held in Las Vegas.

Frank Sinatra

Frank Sinatra

Frank Sinatra often performed in Atlantic City clubs.

Hackney's Seafood Restaurant

Hackney's Seafood Restaurant

Photo from A.C. High School Class of 1958 website.

Do you remember Hackney's? They had pools full of live lobsters. You could pick your own, and they would cook it for you. In its prime, Hackney's was the largest seafood restaurant in the world. Now it is gone!

Historic Convention Hall

Atlantic City Convention Hall

Postcard by E.C. Kropp - from the collection of Thomas Topham

This building, at it's time (1929), was the largest convention hall in the world. It was so large that you could play football in it. See adjacent photo. The building has been completely renovated and is now called '"Boardwalk Hall."

Thomas Topham

Thomas Topham -1951


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