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Atlantic City Boardwalk: 1908

Atlantic City Boardwalk: 1908

Atlantic City, New Jersey, circa 1908. "Chalfonte Hotel and the Boardwalk." With some sort of spillage splotch in the middle, "double chair" rental on the right and a 45-star flag topping it all off. Detroit Publishing glass negative. View full size.


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Shill Rolling Chair

I recently purchased a Shill Rolling Chair that seats three people. The brass plate mounted on the front of the white wicker frame says the charge was 75 cents an hour for one person or $1 an hour for two or more. I am curious about the age of the rolling chair. Based on the price per hour, would you know the age of my chair?

Tanning and Horses

Looking at all the clothes these people are wearing makes me realize that being tan probably wasn't as common, at least for city folk. There is hardly any skin showing on anyone.

Also, note the horses bottom left. I guess someone had the job of cleaning up after them on the beach/boardwalk.

Neat picture, btw. And I agree about the time machine, though I'd like a ticket back in case things didn't work out.

45 Stars

If the flag has 45 stars and the date is 1908, the hotel owner should have bought a new flag. Utah was the 45th state, admitted in 1896. Oklahoma was 46th, admitted in 1907.

[The 46-star flag was adopted July 4, 1908. If the photo was taken in 1908, it was probably before the Fourth of July. - Dave]


Can I go back in time please... One way is OK... Sign me up and get me outta here!

Nap time!

I like the man on the beach taking a siesta. What strikes me most about this picture is how lazy we've become in regard to architecture. Maybe a glass brick is easier to heat and cool as well as construct but dang, look at that beautiful building!

The Chalfonte and The Haddon Hall down the block

Those were family favorites for mini-vacations from upstate New York, so long as the tires on my dad's '37 Chevvy two-door had viable treads. Best shop on the AC Boardwalk for me was the James' Salt Water Taffy shop a few blocks west of the Chalfonte. They packaged their product in a molded papier-mache carton in the shape and color of a white barrel. I used one of these for years as a kid for my spare pocket change.

Postal Photos

I see that Palace Postal Photos are best. I assume that is a place you could go to get a souvenier photo made to mail to the folks back home. Got any of those in your bag Dave?

[Afraid not. - Dave]

Hotel lobbies

Circa 1926 Ethel Waters made a record called "Jersey Walk," about a girl who dances in the hotel lobbies "just to hear those bellhops yell... 'Shake 'em up kid, shake 'em up kid, shake 'em up lady...'"

Janet Klein and her Parlor Boys recorded it much more recently.

Ah yes, the old Chalfonte

In the early 1940's, while the tires were still mileage-viable on my dad's 1937 Chevy 2-door, we traveled to AC from Newburgh, NY, several times as a family. We usually bunked at the Chalfonte or its sister hotel down the block, Haddon Hall. As a kid my favorite place on the AC boardwalk was the James Salt Water Taffy shop. They sold pressed paper cartons of those filling-yankers in really neat-looking wire barrel shapes. For many years, I used one of these as a piggy bank.


Atlantic City transitioned from this sedate scene to a bustling family-oriented seaside resort by the 1940s. I remember the Steel Pier and the Diving Horse. By the early '70s, A.C. hit rock bottom...then gambling was legalized. The rest (along with visitors' money) is history.


Wow, those are some beautiful timbers stacked on the beach. Timbers like those would cost a fortune today.

Double Chairs

From a WPA guide to Atlantic City:

The next milestone in the history of the resort was the invention of the rolling chair in 1884. M.D. Shill, a Philadelphia manufacturer of invalid chairs, go-carts and perambulators, came to Atlantic City and opened a store to rent out baby carriages to summer families. He also rented out invalid chairs for convalescents and cripples. Within a few years these invalid chairs evolved into the double chair with a pusher. Triple chairs followed, completing the fleet of comfortable sightseeing chairs of today.

Sandy Clothes

Wow. I can't imagine how long it must have taken to get the sand out of those heavy wool clothes.

Chair rental

50 cents for the double chair rental seems like a lot in 1908. Unless that included one of the many men standing around to push you? Kind of like a rickshaw.

[Chair rental circa 1908 was 50 cents an hour. In 1913 the A.C. city commission, in a move to cut "chair congestion," passed an ordinance raising mercantile taxes on the chairs by $5 a year -- to $10 on single chairs, and $20 for double chairs. The commission's goal was a doubling of the rental rate to a dollar an hour. - Dave]

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