The Dedication of the Most Famous Boardwalk in America
It was on June 16th, 1870 that the Atlantic City Boardwalk was dedicated. According to the Atlantic City Public Library, a petition had been presented to the city council in April of 1870 to build a walkway over the sand so that wealthy visitors could stroll by the ocean without getting sand on their shoes.
The boardwalk, believed to be the first in the country, was built with $5,000 appropriated by the council and officially opened on June 26th of 1870. When built, it was eight feet wide, one mile long, and was about a foot above the sand (now it is 60 feet wide and almost 6 miles long). Originally, no stores or commercial interests were allowed within 30 feet of the boardwalk, and the planks were taken apart and stored for the winter.
The boardwalk has been damaged and repaired/replaced several times because of weather damage, notably in 1884, 1889, and 1944. Hurricane Sandy destroyed part of it by the Absecon Inlet, but the portion of the boardwalk in front of the casinos was relatively undamaged. According to USA Today, Boardwalk Hall was used for Army training during World War II and the lamps on the boardwalk were shaded for fear of German U-boat activity. The Steel Pier opened in 1898 and at one point featured the famous diving horse; it was also once owned by Donald Trump. It, of course, survives to this day with its huge ferris wheel debuting in 2017.