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New Jersey History – America’s First Boardwalk

Spencer Platt, Getty Images

After a great summer weekend like the wonderful 4th of July weekend we just had, it’s often pretty easy to see why we are in love with boardwalks of the Jersey Shore.

The boardwalk has become such a fixture of life at the Jersey Shore. We all know that the first boardwalk in America was in Atlantic City, but the details of the story of how it came to be are so interesting that I wanted to share them.

The next time you’re strolling along your favorite local boardwalk, it might be fun to remember how it all happened. Turns out that Atlantic City was growing quickly in the last quarter of the 19th century. There were great restaurants everywhere, but something else was everywhere too…sand. And all that sand was causing problems. It was on the trains and in hotel lobby’s and just about everywhere else.

So a conductor for the Atlantic City Camden Railroad was asked to come up with a solution to this problem, according to The man’s name was Alexander Boardman, and he came up with the idea of a wooden walkway from the beach to the town, and the rest is history.

The first boardwalk was put up in 1870 and cost the town half of it’s tax revenue for that year, and I’m pretty sure they weren’t selling sausage and pepper sandwiches on it, at least not right away!


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