Atlantic City, New Jersey

Atlantic City is one of the largest and definitely the best known part of Atlantic County New Jersey. Located on a little island called Absecon, this paradise has beaches, casinos and a lot of great places to eat, drink and be merry. Essentially, if you took Atlantic City, stripped away the drunken wedding industry and added actual beaches instead of just pools, you'd have Atlantic City in a nutshell. This is a town unlike any other, and its classic structures and local color give it a unique flavor. While any city could legalize gambling, and having a body of water is all you need for a beach, Atlantic City's history as the playground of the world -- New England in particular -- makes it something truly special.

The area got its start as just a fun place to lounge around for a few weeks at a time back in the 1850s. But a few bent laws during prohibition and the delicious invention of salt water taffy made Atlantic City into a permanent staple on any vacationer's list. Today, you won't find a hardcore beach bum or gambler who hasn't made this unique secular pilgrimage, and some love it enough that they decide to stay around.

Atlantic City is an attractive city for both local residents as well as tourists. The city also has a bustling nightlife, various places to eat, places to see and can also offer you a great shopping experience. The city is known for its ambient social atmosphere and its lively residents.

Atlantic City History

Atlantic City, New Jersey began centered around a hotel and some railroads. The Belloe House opened up in 1853, and then the Camden and Atlantic Railroad's service to the area began in 1854. Though it had been an obvious candidate to become a resort town before that time, only in 1854 was Atlantic City actually incorporated. The trains kept the beaches full and the hotels equally so, and by 1874 the average annual visitor count had nearly popped the half a million mark. In 1870, a boardwalk was built along part of the beach as a courtesy to keep some sand out of the lobbies of local hotels. The original boardwalk ran 7 miles until it was later destroyed by a 1944 hurricane.

Roads were slower to arrive than rails had been. The first road from the mainland to Absecon Island and Atlantic City was begun in 1853 and finished construction in 1870. Featuring a $.30 toll, it was premium priced for its day. However, a later road built from Pleasantville was free. During this period, in 1883, salt water taffy was invented and became a classic, edible Atlantic City souvenir. The legend goes that during a small flood, a candy store owner's entire stock of taffy was saturated with sea water, and he jokingly offered it to a little girl who came in wanting taffy. Its popularity became incredible, and it's still sold all over town today.

The 1870s saw a massive building boom in Atlantic City. Not only were there enough visitors to justify building a second train line into the city, opened in 1880, but there were incredibly large and luxurious hotels constructed in town as well. In the 19th century, amenities like pools and air conditioning were a big deal, and tourists looked for such relatively posh extras. However, at this stage of the game views of the ocean were starting to come into practice. But this was nothing compared to the building boom of the early 20th century.

Some nice hotels had been built before during the 1860s, but many of the places during the first few years of the 20th century were still wooden framed boarding houses. Those were either radically upgraded or replaced outright during the first two decades of the 20th century. By 1930 the city had gone into a whole new world, opening the 24 story Claridge. Called the Skyscraper by the Sea, this hotel would be the largest one constructed before the casino boom that would occur a few decades afterward.

For decades the tourism trade continued, albeit weakened by the power of Atlantic City's popularity. However, Atlantic City put itself back on the map in 1976 by legalizing casino gambling. Within two years a casino had opened, and within ten years there were almost a dozen of them. From that point onward, Atlantic City was solidified as being the World's Playground.

About Atlantic City, New Jersey

Atlantic City, New Jersey is a great place overall, with something to offer to everyone. From the old styling's of a few stalwart hotels that escaped the middle of the 20th century, to the few grand hotels that were operating before the recession hit and the views around Atlantic City, there are many beautiful scenes and there are innumerable things to do.  Located on a small island, Atlantic City has hosted generations of tourists going back to the middle of the 19th century.

Atlantic City was established in the 1850s. Interestingly, the first rail line to enter the city actually predates its incorporation by a few months. Back in those days, there was a different method to vacationing which people today might find hard to believe. In the 19th century, free time was a different kind of commodity than it is today, and people could take vacations that were several weeks long. Before cars and airplanes, travel took a good deal longer than it does today, and people had to vacation with travel time in mind. As well, people often lived in far less comfortable conditions than many people of the same social class would settle for in the modern world. Back in those days air conditioning was a precious and rare luxury that even many wealthy people didn't have in their homes. But the hotels near the beaches in Atlantic City did, and that was a significant draw. Also, as people could afford homes in the suburbs with pools of their own, taking a long trip just to swim and bask near water lost a decent amount of its prior appeal.

During prohibition Atlantic City became the world's stage for a number of reasons. This town of 40,000 would often draw in hundreds of thousands of tourists looking for illegal drinking and gambling. Since prohibition was never seriously enforced in the city, its popularity during the 1920s soared, with all manner of organized crime bosses profiting handsomely from the tourism, prostitution and other vice trades.

Atlantic City's early appeal was eventually lost for some time, but ultimately began to resurface after gambling was actually legalized in the city. Now when people visit Absecon Island to gamble and drink, they can do so with total legal impunity so long as they're inside of a licensed casino. Atlantic City is a hedonist's paradise.

About Atlantic County, New Jersey

Atlantic County has a total land area of 110 square miles within its borders. For the most part, this is a fairly flat patch of land that ranges from sea level at its lowest point all the way up to a couple of 150 foot high peaks. However, for the most part it is something of a level plain. The county contains roughly 274,000 people as of the 2000 Census report.

According to that same Census, the roughly quarter of a million people contained within the county were within just over 95,000 individual households. 63,000 families occupied these households, and the total distribution of people in general was 450 per square mile across the county, with 203 housing units per square mile. The demographic data for the area is very well mixed, with just over two thirds of the population being caucasian, almost twenty percent being black or African American, and just over 12% of the population being hispanic or latino. The mixture of households was positive, with just over 31% of households having children under the age of 18 and nearly 47% of the households consisting of married couples. The average household size was 2.59 people, while the average family had 3.16 people included in it.

Atlantic County's population has seen fairly robust growth for most of its history. The 1840 Census established a population of just over 8,700 people, and there has been some degree of population growth in all but the 1940 Census since that time. In fact, in all but five of the Censuses since 1840, the population growth of Atlantic County has increased by more than ten percent.