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Asbury Park: 1905

Asbury Park: 1905

New Jersey circa 1905. "Boardwalk, Asbury Park." "Notice: Bicycle riding on the plank walk is strictly prohibited." Detroit Publishing Co. View full size.


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Way down on the South Jersey shore at Wildwood, bicycles were allowed on the boardwalk until 10 a.m. Unless one was cycling in a crowded area, enforcement was pretty lenient through the forenoon.

And now

I was in Asbury Park in 2008. Things are looking up.


The Men are Portly for the most part, but the Women have those nipped waists far as the Eye can see.

Something to be said for corsets.

Re: Lifeboats in Winter Storage

I think the boats are lowered down to the water and not carried to the beach. They look small enough to be able to be rowed out under the boardwalk. I've never been to the boardwalk, but it seems to me that it's high enough to have clearance underneath for small boats such as these. Could that be the case?


I wonder which the dog finally chose-- the statue or the bush.

Oops. Wrong coast.

Oh, yes. This "Winter" you speak of. It's some type of "season", isn't it?

Off season

Another clue that it is not the high summer season is that none of the men are wearing their straw boaters. In 1905, these were a strict summer ritual from May through Labor Day.

What about reading caption?

Dave, I understand your reply to Gooberpea to mean that the viewer should see button for "View full size." But on my monitor the sign about warning is still illegible with enlarged view. Wouldn't a reminder about the keystrokes to zoom in on page be more appropriate? If your remark to Gooberpea was supposed to be about the boats, the question of why they are where they are, I too am given no clue by the caption. What refer you?

[Sometimes I wonder about you people. - Dave]

Sun and parasols

It was considered very declasse to have a "tan" -- ladies had fair skin, farm girls were tanned. The woman in the front seems to be noticing the camera. And there is a well-dressed black man near the bottom of the frame. I'm always pleasantly surprised to see how many of these old photos are integrated.

The bleachers appear to be set up for a parade. This could be for the Fourth of July, a major holiday at the time, except that there is hardly anyone around. Could this have been taken in the early hours of the morning?

[This looks to be early in the season. - Dave]

Tan, anyone?

I can come up with three reasons people covered themselves while strolling along the boardwalk in 1905. I don't think they were worried about skin cancer.

Modesty was becoming. This is not far from the time when Brits referred to arms and legs as "limbs" so as not to raise the eyebrows of society matrons.

Middle and upper-class city dwellers didn't want to look like members of the laboring classes. "Red-neck" is a modern term, but the look has been around for a long time. Back then, you didn't want to be one. See Shorpy.

Tanning for white folks has only been thought a mark of beauty and health for a couple of generations. Look at how pre-WW I advertisements portrayed women's complexions. Lily-white was in.

Now we're starting to wear clothes again when we walk in the sun. Plus ca change . . .

Lifeboats in winter storage

Note the lack of crowds, despite it being the morning of a a sunny day. There is no one on the beach or in the water. It's clearly the off season.

I'd guess that the boats were stored high and dry on the boardwalk during the winter, and moved down to the beach for the summer.

Big guy advised little guy

I can see you've got a hungry heart and you're on fire. Don't worry, kid, someday the name Springsteen will mean a lot to people around here.


Know we know where all the old-growth forests went -- to the boardwalk at Asbury Park. Has anyone been to Asbury Park in the last 10-20 years? Boy has it gone downhill!

At Ease

The awesomeness of this picture makes me yearn for simpler days. Not that these folks had things easier than we but just look at the carriage on the street to the left.

Can you say, "leisurely"?

Where's Doc Brown when you need him.

Ahhh...the caption! I get it. Folks on the boardwalk were supposed to use the boats instead of bicycles!

Check out the expression on the gal adjacent to the stern of the first boat. I think she's heebie-jeebied by that rat on the boardwalk a few steps in front of her.

Landlocked Lifeboats

What do you suppose those dory-like boats were doing on the boardwalk? Props for photos? Exhibits? It looks like it would be very difficult to get one of these in the water unless there was some ingenious system of pulleys whereby they could be lowered onto the beach below.

I can't read the "Notice" sign...tried to enlarge it, but I'm not very good at PhotoShop.

Any ideas, Shorpy Nation?

[Try reading the caption! - Dave]

When I get my time machine,

I'm going to make the woman in front cover her arms, such boldness, then it's straight to the roller coaster.


Interesting that in 1905, almost all the men are wearing hats and the ladies are under parasols. They must have been aware of the damage the sun can do.


We were born to stroll.

No Show

I’m curious to know what all the benches are for. It would take quite a crowd to fill all of them, so what would they be watching?

Calling Mrs. Puff

What's with all the boats? I couldn't be that they are intended for lifesaving. You could drown twice before they got one off the pier.

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