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    Auction Finds

    Vintage reproduction photos of a tranquil Atlantic City

    Way before the casinos took root and spread down the Boardwalk, the Million Dollar Pier and pony airplanes provided some of the early entertainment in Atlantic City. At least that’s what you’d surmise from a handful of black and white reproduction photos I picked up at auction.

    These 1920s photos show men and children watching a ship in the fog, boats tied up on the shore, boys playing on the washed-up hull of a ship and elephants bathing in the ocean. The photos – which have no photographer’s credit, only captions – offer a placid view of the area. Maybe they were sold on the Boardwalk as souvenirs.

    They show you the ocean not the Boardwalk, where the joints were jumping. In the 1920s, Atlantic City was a place to party, a spot right smack in the middle of Prohibition where you could get booze when you wanted it. Tourism was high, and the city was living what is considered its golden age. There were theaters and amusement parks, and hotels and night clubs, the Million Dollar Pier and a host of other entertainment.

    Then the party stopped, and the ensuing years were rough on the city – until casinos came calling some 50 or so years later. In fact, at another auction, I landed two oversized color photo-posters – with no dates – of Atlantic City before and after the casinos.

    Here’s the city in the 1920s and years later:

    Atlantic City 1920s

    “Pony airplanes waiting for passengers, near Central Pier, January 30, 1920.”


    Atlantic City 1920s

    “A party of riders, Million Dollar Pier in the distance, April 4, 1920.”


    Atlantic City 1920s

    “The biggest bathers, near Garden Pier, July 9, 1923.”


    Atlantic City 1920s

    “Ice-covered fishing boats, near Gardner’s Basin, February 7, 1920.”


    Atlantic City 1920s

    “Hull of the wrecked ‘Lizzie Parsons,’ May 10, 1925.” The Lizzie M. Parsons was an American schooner.


    Atlantic City 1920s

    “Watching the ‘Thomaston’ through the fog, May 7, 1924.”

    Aerial view of Atlantic City before the casinos

    Aerial view of Atlantic City and the Boardwalk before casinos arrived. There is no date on the photo.


    Atlantic City aerial view after casinos

    Aerial view of Atlantic City and the Boardwalk after the casinos. There is no date on the photo.





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