Historic Atlantic City

The birthplace of Miss America, salt water taffy and gleaming East Coast casinos, see Atlantic City, NJ, rise and fall, and rise again.

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Home of the Miss America Pageant

Originally cooked up to extend tourist season past Labor Day, the Miss America competition began as a 2-day beauty contest on September 7, 1921. After 6 years in Las Vegas, the competition returned to Atlantic City in 2013.

There She Is … Miss America

Margaret Gorman from Washington, DC, smiles, wearing a large Statue of Liberty crown and a striped cape, as the first-ever Miss America. The grand prize? A 3-foot golden mermaid trophy.

Atlantic City: The Beginning

Located in South Jersey along the Atlantic Ocean, the beachfront property was viewed as prime real-estate for a potential resort town. The city was incorporated in 1854, but it saw a huge building boom during the early 20th century.

Atlantic City's Golden Age

Tourism was not only at its peak in the 1920s but it actually flourished during Prohibition, which was largely unenforced. With liquor and gambling taken place in back rooms of nightclubs and restaurants, Atlantic City became known as "The World's Playground." Much of this era under racketeer and political boss Enoch L. "Nucky" Johnson has been captured on the HBO series Boardwalk Empire.

United States Hotel

Upon arriving in Atlantic City by train, guests were taken to the United States Hotel. Owned by the railroad, the United States hotel was not only the first hotel in Atlantic City, but the largest in the country housing over 2,000 guests.

Rolling Chairs

Introduced in the 1880s, these wicker, canopied chairs on wheels are manually pushed by attendants (much like a rickshaw) and are boardwalk fixtures to this day.

Lucy, the Elephant

Located 2 miles south in Margate City, Lucy is a 6-story structure constructed in 1822 by James V. Lafferty to attract tourism and sell real estate. Designated a National Historic Landmark in 1976, Lucy is now open as a museum.

Steel Pier

Opened in 1898, the Steel Pier billed itself as "The Showplace of the Nation" and was one of the largest and most famous attractions in Atlantic City. One tourist trap in the early 20th century was horse diving, introduced by William "Doc" Carver. Today, Steel Pier still functions as an amusement pier across from Trump Taj Mahal.

The Boardwalk

Opening on June 26, 1870, the Atlantic City Boardwalk was one of the first boardwalks in the country. Running southwest from Absecon Inlet to Ventnor City, the boardwalk has been home to several piers and notable attractions including Boardwalk Hall, formerly known as the "Historic Atlantic City Convention Hall."

Salt Water Taffy

The famous beach treat was created by David Bradley in 1883. Story has it Bradley's shop was flooded by a storm, soaking his taffy with salty ocean water. He sold some "salt water taffy" to a girl who showed it off to all her friends on the beach -- and the rest is history.

The Hotel Boom and Bust

Many hotels like the Shelburn (pictured here) were suffering embarrassing vacancies by the 1960s and eventually demolished. In an effort to revitalize the city, casino gambling was approved by New Jersey voters in 1976.

Monopoly City

In the US version of the popular board game properties are named after places in and around Atlantic City. Little known fact: Marvin Gardens, the leading yellow property on the board, is actually a misspelling of the original location name "Marven Gardens."

The Tropicana

Young guests of the Tropicana Motel sunbath and socialize on the hotel's sundeck in the 1960s.

Resorts International

The first legal casino in the eastern United States opened on May 26, 1978. Others quickly followed suit totally 12 today, making Atlantic City the "Gambling Capital of the East Coast."

Mike Tyson's KOs

in popularity to Las Vegas, Donald Trump attracted customers by bringing boxing legend Mike Tyson to his casinos. In fact, most of Tyson's fights during the 1980s were in Atlantic City.

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