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Most of the photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs, 20 to 200 megabytes in size) from the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) Many were digitized by LOC contractors using a Sinar studio back. They are adjusted by your webmaster for contrast and color in Photoshop before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here.

 
 
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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • FLY TO THE CARIBBEAN BY CLIPPER, c. 1950s

Boardwalk Empire: 1910

Boardwalk Empire: 1910

Atlantic City, N.J., circa 1910. "Boardwalk, Hotel Marlborough-Blenheim and Young's Million-Dollar Pier." There are a zillion interesting details in this panorama made from four 8x10 inch glass negatives. View full size.

 

"Boardwalk Empire" Boardwalk

The set is located at Newtown Creek and the East River, Brooklyn side in NYC. It is surrounded with cargo containers stacked four high hung with blue screen so the background can be matted in electronically. Some blue screen can be seen at the left of the photo on a stack of containers.

Google Earth: Dupont and Franklin St., Greenpoint, Brooklyn, NY

Beautiful Buildings

I wish Atlantic City looked like this today. These are gorgeous buildings, unlike the ugly buildings that one sees there now. It must have been a great place to vacation in those days.

Park Place

The park in the front of the photo is Brighton Park. The street between the park and the hotel is Park Place.

The Marlborough-Blenheim remained in great condition through the seventies. In 1979, Bally's bought it and replaced it with the Bally's Park Place Casino.

Obviously shot from the Traymore Hotel

Just as this 1910 postcard picture was obviously shot from the "wedding cake" part of the Marlborough-Blenheim. Some of the same things are visible from the opposite side such as the Y-shaped walkway in the garden-like area and even the greenhouse.

Wheelchair Ramp

The hotel at the end of the great lawn had a wheelchair ramp installed after the building was constructed. You can see how it sits on top of the original staircase. I wonder what VIP stayed there to justify building that?

[The ramps were for "rolling chairs." Not quite the same as wheelchairs. - Dave]

Make Room for Bally's

The Marlboro-Blenheim started construction in 1902 and completed in 1906. In 1978 it was demolished to make way for Bally's Park Place casino. Bally's Wild West Casino now sits where that little park looking thing is and Young's Million Dollar Pier became The Pier Shops at Caesar's in 2006.

Coney & AC

Coney Island became what it is because of the availability of public transportation. The first subway line or El trains were built in the late 1800s. This afforded relatively cheap rides to the beach. There were hotels but nothing like those in Atlantic City. Although it was a reasonable distance from Philadelphia and NY it still required the railroads to move the more distant customers to the Jersey Shore. I'm sure there were day trippers but many people came to spend their vacations in the luxury of the the hotels.

The Twin Towers

Does anyone know what purpose two tall pillars or columns, might serve on the central hotel with the dome and all the gingerbread? They seem strange and lonely. Couldn't be elevator works inside, or ... what?

[Chimneys. - Dave]

A Lot of Gas

I see at least four gasometers (gas holders) in the photo.

Steve Buscemi

Anyone who's watched "Boardwalk Empire" has to believe many of these photos must have been used to create the CGI backgrounds they use for various shots.

[The "Boardwalk Empire" production company is one of our print customers. -Dave]

Photography and condiments

Nice view of another set of tripod legs and camera just below the apparent center view point of this pan. And just to the bottom right a wood headed greenhouse with the little cart of wood right beside the wood heater. Windows of the spice/condiment bays stored neatly behind the hedge in back of the green house. You can almost imagine the year long work of someone to make sure this operation always provides fresh things for the chef.

Mary Poppins

Apart from the cigarette ad, it could be a Disney film set. Wonderful photo.

Amazing Detail

This is just a fabulous image. It's fascinating to study the various hotels (I assume), porches, rooflines plus the people on the boardwalk and beach. It just goes on and on.

Such detail. All in focus.

This is a fantastic photo. You might even say it took my breath away. Nice to see an old shot like this and have everything look so new and clean. I'm amazed to see so much built in 1910. I'm going to have to do some research and discover the Atlantic City timeline. I was always under the impression it lagged behind Coney Island, but here it looks as though they were in place about the same time.

Amazing

The scope of the shot is breathtaking! From the chimney that needs repair in the lower right corner and the "hidden" clotheslines on that roof, to the confection of the M-B to the Pier and the vistas beyond and the wonderfully random set of tracks throught the sand. These people wouldn't recognize Atlantic City today.

Are any of these buildings still standing?

Maybe someone familiar with Atlantic City knows. I've never been there.

A Monumental Challenge

Do any of our talented colorizers dare tackle such a sweeping scene?

Just imagine

To be able to take for granted that you will walk outside to such beautiful buildings, a boardwalk where everyone is nicely dressed and you can even walk six abreast, sweeping lawns, spacious streets, peaceful porches to rock on, an almost empty beach to sit on. They probably took much of it for granted and certainly didn't know how amazing and wonderful it would look to me 100 years hence.

 
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Shorpy.com | History in HD is a vintage photo blog featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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