Atlantic City, an Early Tourism History

People know Atlantic City today as a gambling hotspot. But Atlantic City’s history is much more interesting than a simple slot machine. Atlantic City was incorporated in March of 1854, and that same year the first passenger railroad train made its way down the new line from Philadelphia. The total trip of about 60 miles took 2.5 hours, but by the trip’s end, as the first vacationers stepped off the train and onto the beach, the era of Atlantic City tourism had begun.

After 1860, Atlantic City became one of the hottest vacation destinations in America. Its primary draw – location – made it accessible from several major urban areas, particularly Philadelphia. People from all over would flock to the city’s beaches to enjoy summer activities. At the time, Atlantic City focused its energies on being a health resort. Doctors would even prescribe the city’s “sea air” as a remedy for stress, pain, and even insanity. As the population and tourism grew, the businesses began to expand and move closer to the beach.

There was only one problem with the close proximity to the beach – the beach itself. Merchants were inundated with sand dragged, dropped and deposited in their establishments. In the late 1860s, railroad constructor Andrew Boardman proposed a solution. Along with others, he suggested a walkway that would rise above the sand and allow beachgoers to clean their feet before leaving the beach. On June 26, 1870, the plan was realized – a wooden walkway was completed that separated the beach from the rest of the city. Boardman’s Walk – as it was called – was the world’s first. The name was eventually shortened to “Boardwalk”. Plus, as an official Atlantic City “street”, Boardwalk was (and still is) always spelled with a capital B.

As demand for additional beachfront space rose, the Boardwalk grew. This expansion led to the invention in 1884 of another Atlantic City staple, the rolling chair. A canopied chair designed to be pushed from behind, it made traveling the length of the ever-expanding Boardwalk easier for wealthy vacationers.

Boardwalk real estate became a prime location. All sorts of beachside attractions sprang up, from amusement piers to sideshows to performance theaters to small vendors selling Salt Water Taffy (another Atlantic City first) and more. Steeplechase Pier, Steel Pier, Heinz Pier, the Million Dollar Pier, and others made their glorious debuts in those first few decades of rapid development.

Between 1890 and 1940, Atlantic City’s history becomes less a single chain of events, but rather a series of “oddities” and “firsts.” So much happened in Atlantic City during its heyday: presidents came to speak, magicians dazzled audiences, amusement piers came and went and came again, and countless other bits and pieces of history were made. Atlantic City had razzle-dazzle, craziness, in-your-face showiness, corporate enterprising, and everything in between.

The first picture postcards in the U.S. were views of Atlantic City in 1872. Salt Water Taffy was invented and named there around 1880. The first air-conditioned theater opened in the summer of 1896. Although Chicago holds fame for the first “Ferris Wheel,” it was in 1891 that Williams Somers built an “observational roundabout” on the Boardwalk. It was this wheel ride that was observed and improved upon by George Washington Gale Ferris for the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, and it is his name, not Somers’, that is today attached to the ride.

The string of “firsts” continued into the 20th century. In 1915, the first non-subsidized public transportation system, The Atlantic City Jitney, was established. The first passenger airline service made its way through Atlantic City in 1919, the same year that the term “airport” was coined. Of course, the Miss America pageant started here in 1921, and continued here for decades. The first official convention hall opened its doors in Atlantic City in 1929. For golfers, the slang terms “Eagle” and “Birdie” were first used here.

By 1944, the Atlantic City Boardwalk stretched a staggering seven miles down the coast of Absecon Island – ending in Longport, three cities south. However, in the fall of that year, a massive east coast hurricane destroyed most of the Boardwalk, many attractions and several amusement piers. The Boardwalk would eventually be rebuilt to a shorter distance of about 5.75 miles (including the Ventnor section).

The hurricane of 1944 may have been the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back for Atlantic City tourism. Commercial airline travel, popularized in the 1930s and 1940s, was making exotic destinations (such as Florida and the Bahamas) more accessible. There was less need for a local vacation destination, and Atlantic City tourism began its steady decline. By the 1960s, Atlantic City was all but dead. With almost no tourist income, high unemployment, and low population, something needed to be done.

In 1970, a bill was introduced to the New Jersey Assembly suggesting the legalization of gambling statewide as a way to boost Atlantic City’s economy. The bill was rejected and the idea dropped, partly due to pressure from protest groups against the idea of legalized gambling in New Jersey. At that point, the only state in the U.S. with legalized gambling was Nevada (established in the 1930s). Three similar gambling bills were brought to the assembly before it was finally approved in 1976, and only after the bill was modified to allow for gambling exclusively at Atlantic City, and not statewide as the previous proposals had suggested. A mere 18 months later, in May 1978, the first casino in Atlantic City – Resorts International – opened its doors. In the ensuing years, other casinos quickly followed suit, and a new wave of tourism began.

Tropicana Casino and Resort in Atlantic City

The Tropicana Casino and Resort is one of the most prominent and largest hotels in Atlantic City. It has 500 rooms and suites that include luxurious contemporary facilities. The resort is convenient to a wide array of fun and enjoyable activities inside and outside.

Among the major highlights of the hotel:
o Guestrooms and suites providing oceanfront views
o Indoor and outdoor pools
o 21 restaurants
o Casino games such as slot machines, blackjack, craps, poker and many more.

Guests are offered with different choices of room accommodation. The amenities vary. Among the choices are:
Standard Rooms – West Tower
o Oceanfront view
o Standard room size
o Black and white photos of Atlantic City history
o Cool and warm white and blue interior decoration

Standard Room – Havana Tower
o Deluxe room
o Outstanding view of the ocean
o Free Internet access
o 2-line speaker phones
o 25 inches cable TV

Standard Room – North Tower
o Near casino area
o Refurbished room
o Pillow top mattresses

South Tower Suite
o Luxurious amenities
o Large parlor
o Bath and bedroom

New Yorker Suite
o Located at the 50th floor
o 3 elegant bedrooms
o 4 opulent baths
o Grand piano
o Bar
o Panoramic views
o Rate is $10,000 per night including taxes

The hotel’s location provides easy access to a variety of shops, beautiful beaches, and amusement centers including the IMAX Theater.

There are also several vacation packages for guests to avail. These packages are ideal for couples, families or business travelers. The packages available are:
o Romantic Getaway Package
o Girlfriends’ Getaway Package
o Night of Laughs Comedy Package

The hotel houses the best restaurants featuring many choices of local and international cuisines. The best chefs in town work for these establishments.

Carmine’s Restaurant – Carmine’s restaurant is one of the best Italian restaurants and has received numerous citations and awards for its excellent service and delicious cuisines.

Cuba Libre Restaurant – This restaurant specializes in serving Cuban dishes and traditional cuisines. The atmosphere is uniquely classic.

Palm’s Restaurant – Known to be one of the favorite dining places of many celebrities. This restaurant serves Italian dishes, sea foods and the best steaks. It also features the finest wine, awarded Wine Spectator Award of Excellence.

P.F. Chang’s China Bistro – This restaurant serves Chinese cuisines combined with American dishes. Guests can also enjoy classic cocktails. The decorations make it an ideal place for heart warming dining.

There are still more restaurants to choose from to suit your personal taste.

For your entertainment needs, you can groove to the music at the Tango’s Lounge. There are also several entertainment venues where you can enjoy singing along in many karaoke bars or choose to bang the night with the music of live bands.

You can have a makeover from the salon at the lobby. Services include hair coloring, waxing, pedicure, manicure and many other beauty services.

Hotel Amenities:
o Spa
o Beach Cabana service
o Concierge
o Business center
o Tropicana health club
o Indoor and outdoor pool

The hotel can provide a professional meeting coordinator to help you with corporate events planning. The convention center provides enough room to accommodate large group of guests for your event. Food catering is also available upon request.

The casino is one of the major attractions of the hotel where many of its guests can enjoy several games of luck. It is many table games, slot machines, roulettes and many other exciting games you would surely enjoy.

The Tropicana Casino and Resort is really an ideal place where everything you want is under one roof.

Sheraton Atlantic City Convention Center Hotel

The Sheraton Atlantic City Convention Center Hotel is a spectacular 15-story structure which houses 502 fabulous guest rooms and 24 amenity filled suites.

Along with the twenty-seven thousand feet of meeting space, the 19 meeting rooms and a 800-1200 seat ballroom and banquet center, the Sheraton is indeed the place for any sort of business conference or big event you may be planning in the Atlantic City area.

Located on Atlantic City’s famous boardwalk, the Sheraton can meet all of your convention as well as your vacation needs. Rooms offer amenities such as high-speed Internet access and the option of in-room dining.

The Sheraton also provides a VIP exclusive experience, which provide guests with a private club lounge, continental breakfast and evening hors d’oeuvres.

As for dining experiences, you can’t go wrong when dining in one of the Sheratons Atlantic City convention center hotel restaurants. The Boulevards’ Cafe offers a breathtaking dining experience. With a view of the Atlantic City skyline, the cafe offers a delectable breakfast and is also available for private functions.

For lunch and dinner, the Tun Tavern is a popular brewery and restaurant in Atlantic City. In fact, it holds prestige as being the first brewpub in A.C. With award winning casual cuisine and their handcrafted brews, the Tun Tavern has what you are looking for in a dining experience.

The Shoe Bar is also located in the Sheraton Hotel Atlantic City Convention Center. In this stylish bar you can enjoy cocktails and light appetizers. You can spend a quiet evening with that special someone or just put a relaxing end to your busy day.