In Memoriam: The Atlantic City Boardwalk [Updated]

As Hurricane Sandy hits the East Coast, the first and longest boardwalk in the U.S. is floating in pieces through the streets of Atlantic City, New Jersey. [Update, 11/2: The pictures below represent a small portion of the Boardwalk. The oceanfront Boardwalk in front of the casinos appears, in the wake of the storm, to be undamaged.]

October 29, 2012


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A look back…


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The first iteration of the Atlantic City boardwalk opened in 1870 and it was the first boardwalk in the United States.. No commerce of any kind was allowed within thirty feet of the boardwalk and for the first several years, the boardwalk was taken apart and stored during the off-season.

The boardwalk experienced several overhauls, each larger and longer, until an 1889 hurricane brought about the 24-foot wide, 10-foot high, and nearly 4 miles long boardwalk with railings on both sides. It was improved and expanded in 1896 and is (was?) currently the longest boardwalk in the world.

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Atlantic City, early 1900s

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Early Thomas Edison film of people walking along the boardwalk, 1904

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Rolling chairs on the boardwalk, between 1905 and 1920

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“Keep Smiling” 1906

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Lucky Strike, 1925


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Atlantic City Inter-City Beauty Contest, 1926


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The New York Times in 1929: “A magnificent proof of America’s newly found wealth and leisure. It is an iridescent bubble on the surface of our fabulous prosperity.”

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Easter, April 12, 1936


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Woman dressed up on the boardwalk, 1940


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Women on the boardwalk, 1945

Flickr: jhsum-commons

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Atlantic City, 1951

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Atlantic City, 1960s


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“Put your makeup on, fix your hair up pretty / And meet me tonight in Atlantic City” - Bruce Springsteen, 1982

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Boardwalk, 2001

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September, 2012.

R.I.P., boardwalk. Flickr: billvarney

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