Atlantic City is a city that is known for its beaches, spectacular scenic views of the Atlantic Ocean and its casinos. The city is also known for its many shopping centers and its boardwalk. This city is located in Atlantic County, New Jersey and served as the inspiration for the popular board game Monopoly. Atlantic City covers an area of seventeen square miles and has a population of over thirty-five thousand residents.
Atlantic City was incorporated in 1854 and since its inception has been a resort city. During the year of its incorporation, rail lines were established linking Atlantic City with the city of Philadelphia. Because of the relative short distance to the huge urban center of Philadelphia, the city became a popular destination for tourists. In 1870, the city built its first boardwalk along a stretch of beach. It was built to assist the hotels in keeping sand out of their lobbies. This idea spread like a wild fire, and the boardwalk was extended and changed several times over the course of the next few years. Up until 1944, it was about seven miles long and extended up to Longport. Then the area was hit by a major hurricane. Now, the boardwalk is about four mile long and sixty feet wide. The boardwalk has also be fortified with concrete and steel.
In 1882, the first amusement pier in the world was built in Atlantic City and it was named Ocean Pier. This was followed by Steel Pier in 1898, Million Dollar Pier in 1906 and the Garden Pier. Garden Pier was destroyed during the hurricane of 1944. During the first half of the twentieth century, Atlantic City experienced a period of rapid and extended development. Though it was once populated with boarding houses, the city started seeing the building of large luxury hotels. It was during this time that two of the most well known hotels were built, the Traymore Hotel and the Marlborough-Blenheim Hotel.
The Traymore Hotel was situated on the boardwalk and Illinois Avenue, and was started in 1879 as a modest boarding house. It would remain a boarding house until 1914, when it was transformed into a sixteen story, tan brick hotel that would be known around the world. In 1903, the Marlborough House Hotel was built. Immediately, the hotel was a success, and the owner decided to expand it. He started a new hotel that was adjacent to the Marlborough House Hotel. In order to give the hotel a unique look, he hired the architects of Price and McLanahan. This architectural company used reinforced concrete and designed the hotel in a distinctive blend of Spanish and Moorish architectural styles. The owner named the new structure the Blenheim and combined the two hotels into one. It would then become known as the Marlborough-Blenheim Hotel. These hotels were such a success that additional hotels started popping up. These included the Breakers, Brighton, Ambassador, Madison House, Chelsea, Ritz Carlton, The Mayflower, Haddon House, Chalfonte House and the Shelburne. Other hotels that opened in the city during the early twentieth century include the Chalfonte Hotel, The Claridge and Haddon Hall.
After World War II, Atlantic City began to decline. It was plagued by crime, poverty and the loss of its middle class. This decline was caused by a number of factors. During its early history, the city got most of its visitors via the rail lines. The widespread use of the automobile caused a decline in rail travel and also enabled people to reach other destinations easily. As a result, visitors who used to spend a couple weeks in the city, now only spent a couple of days. Another factor that contributed to its decline was the growing middle class. As people were more able to afford swimming pools air conditioning, the allure of the beaches and its luxury hotels lost its appeal.
By the 1960s, many of the grand hotels of the city had either closed their doors, or had been converted into apartment housing. During the 1970s and 1980s, many prominent hotels were closed and demolished. These included the Marlborough Blenheim, the Mayflower, the Breakers, the Traymore, the Chelsea, the Shelburne and the Brighton. Not all hotels closed down, however. Smaller hotels and some of the large hotels like the the Dennis, the Ritz Carlton and Haddon Hall. The Ambassador Hotel was remodeled and eventually became the Tropicana Hotel and Casino. In 1976, the city began an effort to bring the city back into prosperity. Voters approved casino gambling for the city and the Chalfonte-Haddon Hall Hotel was converted into the first legal casino in the eastern part of the United States. Soon, other casinos added along the boardwalk and attracted visitors from around the country.
But, Atlantic City has more than its boardwalk, hotels and casinos. There are a variety of other attractions in the city as well. A popular attraction in Atlantic City is Absecon Light House. Absecon Light House is situated on the coast of the northern end of the city and overlooks Absecon Inlet. It was built in 1857 and is the second tallest light house in the state and the third largest in the United States. Though it was officially deactivated as a navigational aid in 1933, the light still is lit every night. Located in the light house is a museum that contains exhibits pertaining to local memorabilia, ocean life, light house history and shipwrecks. Visitors can also walk the two hundred and twenty-eight stairs to the top of the light house for a fantastic view.
Other attractions in Atlantic City include Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Odditorium, Cabana & C5, Atlantic City Aquarium, Wild Wild West Casino, Resorts Atlantic City Casino, Harrah’s Atlantic City Casino, Atlantic City Historical Museum, Central Pier, Ventnor Pier, Atlantic City Art Center, Immersion Spa, Trump Taj Mahal Casino, Caesars Atlantic City Casino, Marriott’s Seaview Resort Golf Course, Borgata Casino, Sandcastle Baseball Stadium, Atlantic City Convention Center, Great Bay Resort and Country Club and the Trump Marina Casino.