Thursday, April 30, 2009

The1904 Floral Parade - Atlantic City Boardwalk with a twist-turn up the volume.

Fans...Let me know if you like this version with SOUND
Turn up the volume.
Thanks to Thomas Edison and Weezer.


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Asbury Park - Ocean Grove Train Station

Many Jersey Shore fans do not realize that for decades Asbury Park, and Ocean Grove, were ruled by the stern hand of the "founder" James Bradley, a former Manhattan brush salesman.
He was a very religious man and had no problem imposing his concept of morality on the two resorts. Interestingly, the nearby resort of Bradley Beach - named after him - broke free from his rule before the other two. I suppose they learned by observing what Asbury and Ocean Grove were going through such as trains not being permitted to service the resorts on Sundays. Some rules made sense, and well others, including his bizarre disdain for hot dogs and his insistence that they not be sold in "his" beloved Asbury Park, well .... :)
The first thing the Asbury Park government did when it wrestled control from Bradley was to permit the trains to service the bustling resort on Sundays. Pictured here is the beautiful train station.

Atlantic City over a century motion.

Here is a rare treat for you fans taken by the Wizard himself ... Thomas A. Edison.

The occasion ? The Floral Parade on the Atlantic City boardwalk in 1904...yup, 1904.

I watched it a few times to see the amazing detail. One of the floats says "Young's Pier." Look at the children and the old school policemen.


Goodbye to an era..

The Atlantic City beachfront had been one of the most famous in the world for more than half of a century. As poverty, decay and crime grew in the latter half of the twentieth century Atlantic City was no longer the place to be seen.
In 1979 Louis Malle's film Atlantic City featured dramatic aerial footage of the magnificent Traymore hotel being demolished to make way for new hotels and signal an end of the era of pre-casino AC.
Malle used artistic license in his film, for the actual demolition - a Guinness world record holder at the time for the largest controlled demolition - actually took place in April 1972, six years before gambling was legalized in America's Playground.

Enter if you Dare

George Tilyou, of Coney Island fame,  was serious about fun and his Atlantic City Steeplechase Pier.

Here is the boardwalk entrance.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

#1 Atlantic Ocean


Here are two incredible interior images I just located of the inside of Captain Young's mansion on his pier in Atlantic City... very rare.
As I wrote earlier he only bought the finest furniture.


Birth of Tillie

Many of you Asbury Park fans know that Tillie of Palace Amusements fame, has been featured on my FaceBook fan page.
Few folks know that the demonic clown image of Tillie was morphed from the trademark that George Tilyou used on his Steeplechase Parks and Piers.
Some say he patterned the image after a photo of his brother but as you can see in this very cool photo of Atlantic City it was prominently displayed on his Steeplechase Pier.

I'm working on a post about the fellow who created Tille for the Palace Amusements and will publish it soon
For the time being click on this fun image and check out a very crowded boardwalk on a long ago Easter Day.

Number One, Atlantic Ocean.

This was one of my most popular posts on the FaceBook fan page where we are about to hit 1800 fans..great.

I thought I would post this again along with a new image that you have to see to believe.
Here is the back story.
Atlantic City promoter, Captain John Lake Young, built his second and most famous amusement pier in 1906 and called it Young's Million Dollar Pier.
Ever the showman, the Captain ( no one has any idea where he got the rank from ) built an Italian-style villa at the end of his amusement pier and called it Number One, Atlantic Ocean. That was the actual address where he received his mail.
The villa had formal gardens, a lush grass lawn and marble statuary. The view from the bell tower must have been breathtaking. Young imported the finest furnishings from Europe, and the mansion more than paid for itself in the publicity it provided for his amusement business. The "Captain" played host to presidents, celebrities and industrialists ( pictured here is President William Taft dining in the villa which was located hundreds of feet over the Atlantic.) Each evening the mansion could be seen from miles away because of the thousands of miniature white ligghtbulbs that were designed and installed by Young's fishing buddy Thomas Edison.

Steel Pier- What a shot

I posted this on FaceBook once before but with the ability of our new blog to enlarge in high-res I decided to re-post.

Please click on it to enlarge..It is fabulous


Spring Lake- More 1953 storm

Spring Lake like many other NJ Shore towns suffered damage from time to time along their boardwalk and seafront.
In 1953 a November hurricane tossed the wooden walkway and buildings across the town as if they were tinker toys.
Today much of the walkway is made of artificial material.

Monday, April 27, 2009

The Atlantic City beach and Steeplechase Pier

This is one of my favorite images.
Click on it to see some amazing detail of the AC beach and George Tilyou's Steeplechase Pier around 1910.


Large and in Charge :):)

For those of you new to my blog feel free to click on the images.
The photo will fill your page and it's fun to study the detail
Check it out on the last old photo I posted on Lucy the Elephant near the beach




I added a new feature this weekend at the bottom of the page.
You can view my books and a few others.


Lucy when she was a hotel

Lucy was originally located at Cedar Grove Avenue and the Beach in Margate.  She was used as a real estate gimmick to develop the "southern beaches " of Atlantic City and she was instrumental in Margate becoming a resort.
The ocean continued to encroach and she was eventually ( pictured in my last post ) moved to her new home in 1970
Pay her a visit. It is worth it

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Are You Seeing Elephants :) :)

In June of 1970 the residents of Margate, NJ got quite a treat as they saw Lucy the Elephant being moved slowly down the street to her new home.
Thanks to a loyal band of preservationists she was saved from the wrecking ball and is now a National Historic Landmark.
She is worth a visit.

The Twin Cities - Asbury Park/Ocean Grove

Just found a 1904 brochure on the "Twin Cities"
I left the original captions so you can enjoy.
Feel free to enlarge them.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Signing in

Some of you fans have noted that you have to sign in as anonymous when you leave a comment on the blog. You should be able to use your name if you registered as a follower on the blog.
If that still does not work no problem ..just sign on as  "Anonymous", sign your name and we will all know it is you

Thanks for your interest

Your blog host's NJ Shore Books

Hi All,

Some fans have asked what my books look like. As you may know Jersey Girl "CJ" won an autographed set on the FaceBook contest and they will ship next week.

The new mini-raffle will take place the end of next week and will only include registered followers of the new blog as contestants. To enter just select the "follower" icon above the followers box on the left of the page and provide your email address. The winner will be randomly selected.

For those of you who do not know here is a brief description of each book.

The Summer City bu the Sea, An Illustrated History of Cape May, NJ ( Rutgers University Press ) covers the history of our oldest resort from colonial days to the present.

Boardwalk Memories, Tales of the Jersey Shore ( Globe Pequot Press ) covers each boardwalk town on the Jersey Shore

Jersey Shore, Vintage Images of Bygone Day ( Globe Pequot Press ) covers various subject on the shore including architecture, parades, storms , personalities, etc.

Good luck and if you do not win there is always Amazon or Barnes and Noble :)


Marilyn and the Parade

Some of you may have seen this on my FaceBook fan page but I am committed to revisiting some great images in high quality on my new blog that you can click on to enjoy more detail. .
Pictured here is legend Marilyn Monroe.

The back story?
In 1952 Marilyn was visiting Atlantic City to promote a new film. When the Grand Marshall of the Miss America Parade became ill and could not attend the event the organizers asked the beautiful star to fill in. She obliged and caused quite a stir. The public loved her but based on the plunging neckline :) she was never asked back by the conservative pageant committee. Try to explain that to that sailor with the camera.
What a memory.

The Asbury Park Casino Carousel

Hi guys,

With our new blog high-res format I thought I would re-post this memorable image of the old Casino Carousel in Asbury Park. What makes this so interesting is that besides the fact that it only now exists in our memories is that you can see in the window reflection the Palace Amusements Ferris Wheel. During the decline of the Duchess of the North Shore, as Asbury was known in its heyday, both the Casino Carousel and Palace Casino/Ferris Wheel/Amusements disappeared due to neglect and greedy collectors. In 1988 the Palace closed, and the hand-carved figures were sold off to the highest bidders. In 1990 the Casino Carousel figures were sold and replaced with fiberglass animals and today the building is empty.

There is a lot of history in the image.
Do not forget to click on the image to see all of the fine detail.
Thanks to my friend Peter Lucia - who owns the copyright on this image - for this photo.

Please pass on the blog to your friends and don't forget to register as a follower to enter the raffle for my books

Enjoy this beautiful weekend.


Friday, April 24, 2009

Golf Anyone ???

While the resolution is not what I wish I had to post this FABULOUS image of the coolest miniature golf course I have ever seen. I keep clicking on it for more detail :)
Located along the Long Branch boardwalk it evokes many memories. Can anyone date this?


The Boss

When I wrote Jersey Shore, Vintage Images of Bygone Days, I asked now deceased famous rock photographer Joel Bernstein if I could use a few of his early Bruce Springtseen images.
He shared a several with me including this beauty that was used on a cover for one of the Boss's singles at one time.
I have posted this before but am revisiting a few images since so many new people are viewing the blog ( 3200) as of today. I also want to share it in high-res which I could not do on face Book.
Enjoy guys

Don't forget to register as a blog Follower and enter the raffle for my 3 books

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Old Long Branch from the air

For you Long Branch fans here are two very cool, detailed images of the resort before the pier and boardwalk fires.
Enjoy and click on them for greater detail.

PS If you want to join the mini-raffle for an autographed set of my books just register on the blog as a follower. Emil

A cool clear Sping Lake day :)


For those of you who are not convinced yet I thought I would re-post this wonderful image of Spring Lake back in the day. Please click on it to enlarge and I think you will agree the blog resolution brings another dimension to my posts.

The date is 1947 and the boardwalk was still wood at the time. The famous Essex and Sussex Hotel which appeared in the 1981 motion picture Ragtime, is on the top left and guests of the hotel could use the very toney private beach across from it.




Those FaceBook fans that have not registered as followers I would appreciate it if you would.
Goggle indicates that the blog is getting thousands of views a day so it appears many of you have bookmarked it and check it out from time to time but have not signed on.
That is fine but if you register as a follower it personalizes the blog for me and the others. More fun I think and we can communicate via the comment box. 
It does not ask for any personal info or even a profile.
If you wish to join the blog as a follower just click on the icon to the left that is over the box of followers.
I believe it asks you which email system you use  - Gmail - AOL - Yahoo
Once you indicate which one you use it just asks you to confirm your email and that is it
Hope to see you soon

PS  Don't forget I am having a drawing for an autographed set of my books on May 2 for the registered need to enter.. I will pick one at random.

Summer in Cape May

With warm weather predicted this weekend I wanted to share some more teaser Cape May 08 images with you and show off the high-def quality of these photographs on the new blog. They are crystal clear and can be clicked on to enlarge them to view all details.
Thanks to you guys that have signed on as followers. Please pass the blog onto your friends.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Carousel Horse

Many of you know that I really like the old school, hand-carved carousels that once operated up and down the Jersey Coast.
One of the masters of the Philadelphia style carousel horse was William Dentzel. The carousel that still operates on Casino Pier in Seaside is the Floyd Moreland Dentzel/Loof Carousel. It lists Loof's name along with Dentzel because the carousel contains figures carved at both men's workshops.
William was the son of German immigrant Gustav who taught his son how to carve classic poses in their horses with delicate trappings, gently flowing manes but no jewels. At the height of the golden age of carousels in America ( 1900-1930) Dentzel had forty craftsmen producing 5-6 carousels a year in his Philadelphia workshop.
I was fortunate enough to purchase this Dentzel horse several years ago from a woman in California. She owned it for years and it was in need of a new home. She believed it came from an old carousel that once ran in San Fransisco. I was told by an expert that it is quite rare as it still has the original paint on it and was carved to stand on all fours which is unusual. He told me never to paint it.
I posted this earlier on the FaceBook page but wanted you to enjoy it as a high res image on the new blog.
If you get a chance visit the carousel at Casino Pier.

You can email the posts to anyone

Hi all,

I wanted to point out two cool features of the new blog. One is that you can click on any of the photos to enlarge the image.

The second is that there is a little" envelope icon" at the end of each story. If you click on it you can email the post to any of your friends or relatives that you think would enjoy the blog


The Steel Pier

Of all the piers in the amazing history of Atlantic City the Steel Pier stands out above the rest. The pier opened for business in 1898 with an appearance by famed sharpshooter Annie Oakley. It was located opposite Virginia Avenue and the bathhouses owned by George W. Jackson, the president of the newly formed Atlantic City Steel Pier Company. In an effort to engineer a stable structure ( these piers had a way of getting blown away by nasty storms ) massive iron pilings were driven into the sand, and a steel skeleton extended 1,600 feet from the Boardwalk, its sturdy frame topped with a hardy wooden deck.

Next came the beautiful buildings that lined the pier, dazzling both tourists and permanent residents alike. The stylish Casino Building, with its two stately towers, served as the entrance to the pier. To squeeze the most space out of the available square footage, it was built as a double-decker. The first level was a large esplanade, perfect for people watching and catching a refreshing sea breeze. The floor above served as the Casino Theatre, host to many great bands of the day.
Next built was the almost 12,000-square-foot dance pavilion, behind which was a monstrous aquarium where people gathered to watch the sea lions, yup, sea lions. In Atlantic City nothing succeeded like excess, and the icing on the cake was the almost 3,500 electric lights outlining the structures. The Steel Pier was a wondrous site to behold, and it drew people to it like moths to a candle.
Another innovation was that instead of using the traditional "pay as you play" model, the owners of the new pier created a marketing plan that permitted entrance to the pier and all it had to offer for one flat price, a dime :) The public loved it.
From opening day the Steel Pier was a smash hit, providing band music, dances, and water shows, and even introducing the latest dance craze., the cakewalk, to the country. No trip to the America's Playground was complete without a visit. During the first half of the twentieth century, everybody who was anybody, or wanted to be somebody, appeared here, at the "Showplace of the Nation." Bud Abbot and Lou Costello, Frank Sinatra, Glenn Miller, Jackie Gleason, Benny Goodman, Bob Hope, Amos 'n' Andy, and even the Three Stooges played the pier. In the 1960s such acts as the Rolling Stones and the Beach Boys followed a generation of stars to the Steel Pier.
Two of the pier's memory makers were the Diving Bell, in which up to fifteen riders took a trip below the waves, and of course, the High Diving Horse, an act in which a rider and horse jumped from an elevated platform 45 feet into an 11-foot-deep tank.

More to come in other posts on this wonderful pier.
I hope you agree that this is a much better format for the stories and pictures I am sharing with you.


Hi all,

As you may know I am conducting a mini raffle for you loyal people who are following me on the new blog. I think you will enjoy the format.

On May 2 I will randomly select a registered follower from the blog to win an autographed set of my NJ Shore books.

Good luck.



Hey fans,

Thanks to those who have followed me from Face Book to this blog.  I realize I will lose folks but I have decided I would rather have a small group of dedicated readers like you then almost 2000 fans most who never read the posts :)

I think you will find it interesting and better suited for what I am trying to accomplish for you.
I can now share high res multiple images and longer copy with you guys if the story demands.

Feel free to comment under each story
Another advantage is that there is a detailed index list on the front page of all the stories I have posted on the blog and you can select one if you missed it. As you know FB after a day or so buried the posts and it is cumbersome to scroll through the site and find an older story.

Thanks and please send the link to your friends.
They do not have to be on Face Book to join.

Great story coming later today on the Steel Pier.


Monday, April 20, 2009

The Please Touch Museum Dentzel Carousel in action

Here are a few of the short videos I shot this weekend in Philadelphia. The carousel is a fifty-two foot, three-abreast, jumper carousel with a stationary outside row of characters. It contains fifty-two, hand-carved, animal and two chariots. Eighteen beveled mirrors are attached to the outside rounding board. The mirrors are each surrounded by a clown head, decorated with acanthus leaves. It contains forty horses, four rabbits, four cats, two pigs, two goats as well as the two chariots.
It is said that it was one of William Dentzel's favorite carousels.
I rode it and highly recommend a trip to the Please Touch Museum in Memorial Hall, Philadelphia.

The Dentzel Carousel - Philadelphia

Here is a preview of the Woodside Park Dentzel Carousel story I plan on posting in more detail. As many of you know I visited the Please Touch Museum this past weekend to photograph and video this marvelous recently restored carousel.
The tie-in to the Jersey Shore is that the Dentzel family made many of the hand-carved carousels that once graced our resorts. Today only one still exists on Casino Pier at Seaside and that is a mix of Dentzel and other carver's work.
The Woodside Park carousel pictured here is supposed to have been one of Dentzel's favorites. It is said that he would often bring clients to the park to see it when he was about to close a deal.
It has had several homes including the defunct Woodside Park in Philadelphia, Rockaway Beach, Long Island, Lambertville, NJ - storage at the Smithsonian for over 40 years - and now the Please Touch Museum located in historic Memorial Hall back in Philly.
More to follow.

Boardwalk Magic

With Atlantic City falling on hard times I enjoy looking back at the time when the resort was America's Playground. I hope reading about the glory days will prompt my readers to take another look at the city. 

I have offered my services as an historian and author to the various tourist groups in the resort in the hopes of telling the story of Atlantic City's rich heritage but it is very political. Hope you enjoy this story I posted on my blog in 09. 

How did the Reading Railroad enter a 227-ton ( ton ) locomotive in an Atlantic City parade in 1925 and how the heck did the boardwalk not collapse?
Here is the story.

The Pennsylvania and the Reading railroads had been battling each other for year for the lucrative shore trade. They both recognized the need for marketing and in 1924 The Pennsylvania -through its division, the West Jersey and Seashore Railroad, scored a coup when it won the grand prize for floats in the beauty pageant parade with a scale model of their Delair Bridge.
The Reading - and their division, the Atlantic City Railroad, were livid and hatched a plan for revenge.
At the time the Reading's pride and joy was their Boardwalk Flyer, a 227-ton, 15 foot-high monster that carried carloads of tourists between Philadelphia and Atlantic City. At one time the Reading had twenty of these magnificent locomotives in service.

Under a veil of secrecy that would rival any covert operation today, employees began working on a full-scale model of the Boardwalk Flyer in the company's service shops in Camden, NJ.
They began with two Ford chassis and, using blueprints from the real locomotive, spent 6 weeks creating and assembling over eleven thousand parts consisting of sheet metal, wood and handmade fabrics. ( These guys were serious )

This work of art was built by hand, and when the magicians were finished, they had conjured an exact replica of the giant engine and tender.
Instead of the 227-ton real-life version, the parade beauty weighed in at 2-1/2 tons. It was secretly shipped by rail to Atlantic City in the dead of night and kept from view until the day of the parade. When it made its appearance thousands of spectators swore the genuine Boardwalk Flyer was traveling down the wooded walkway. Many ran fearing that the boardwalk would collapse. Fifteen men were require to operate the monster float. The designers left nothing to chance including an apparatus that produced steam and smoke,. The most expensive entry in Atlantic City parade history ran away with the grand prize for 1925. A tough act to follow

A Swan Song

Remember the Swan Boat rides on Wesley Lake in Ocean Grove and Asbury Park.
While visiting Philadelphia I stopped by their beautiful Zoo and was happy to see that they have a swan boat ride that brought back memories of my youth.

Friday, April 17, 2009

The B in Boardwalk

While Atlantic City was not the first boardwalk ( Cape May has that honor )  it certainly became the largest Boardwalk on the New Jersey Coast.
In 1898 the city adopted the word Boardwalk as a street name thus a capital B is always used when referring to the their, great wooden walkway. 
I am planning on posting a detailed story on the origin and evolution of the Atlantic City Boardwalk but for now thought I would post a few images of it in 1922

Thursday, April 16, 2009

A Day at the Beach

On a beautiful summer day in August of 1901 the Thomas A. Edison Company brought their new motion picture camera to Atlantic City and captured a day at the beach. I sometimes wish I could time travel to see what things were really like throughout history. Since I have written so much about the New Jersey Shore, and its colorful past, I think it would be wonderful to spend a day like this in America's Playground over a century ago. It is difficult to imagine that some of these sea bathers enjoying the same beach that we do today were born before the Civil War.
No time machine yet so for now we will have to settle for a few minutes of Edison's magic.

July 4th - 1912 Atlantic City

America's Playground specialized in conventions which brought the same groups to Atlantic City year after year.
During Independence Day Weekend in 1912 the Photographers Association of America held their 32 annual convention at the resort. This wonderful image shows the happy group posing with the impressive Steel Pier on our left and George Tilyou's magical Steeplechase Pier on our right.

Look like a beautiful day for an outing... It's a great photograph as well it should be considering the outing :) As with all of my posts just click on the photograph for a larger high-res image.