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Brief History Of Atlantic City

Located on Absecon Island in Atlantic County, New Jersey, Atlantic City is approximately 100 miles south of New York City and 60 miles east of Philadelphia.

The original summer visitors to Atlantic City, the Lenni Lenape Indian Tribe, enjoyed this heavily wooded island for it’s natural assets and beautiful beaches. Since access to Absecon Island was only by boat across six miles of bay and marsh area, there were very few full time residents for many, many years.

It wasn’t until 1852 that a local physician, Dr. Jonathan Pitney envisioned a resort area on Absecon Island. Along with other area businessmen, received a railroad charter from Camden to Atlantic City. Two years later, in 1854 the city was incorporated and the first train from Camden arrived in Atlantic City.

Since Atlantic City is close in proximity to many large population centers, thousands of city dwellers took the train to the shore to escape the heat and enjoy cool ocean breezes. The city grew quickly, offering a wide variety of lodgings, eating places and amusements for all incomes and ages. In 1870, the world famous Atlantic City Boardwalk was built, originally intended as a place where one could wipe the sand off their feet before entering one of the large resorts.

Atlantic City held its reputation as a major resort town from the 1870’s to the 1960’s. However, as air travel became more popular in the 1960’s, Atlantic City started to see a dwindling amount of summer vacationers. Along with the typical slow season of winter and emerging economic and social problems, Atlantic City started on a slow decline from its reputation as “Queen of the Coast”.

The legalization of gambling in Atlantic City in 1976 was intended to attract new visitors and provide resources for much needed new construction in the city. Resorts International, the first casino, was opened May 26, 1978.

Within a decade of the first casino opening, a dozen more were in operation. The real estate value exploded from $315 million in 1976 to over 6 billion in 1988.

Today, the famous 7-mile boardwalk attracts over 30 million people a year. American pop culture icons, such as the game “Monopoly’ whose streets are named after Atlantic City streets, as well as the Miss America pageant that is held here every year, keep Atlantic City one of the East Coast’s most treasured towns.