• Authors to discuss A.C. casino industry book
    Aug. 1 at Historical Museum

    Just One More HandStockton University professors Dr. Ellen Mutari and Dr. Deborah M. Figart will discuss their book, Just One More Hand: Life in the Casino Economy, at 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 1, at the Atlantic City Historical Museum. The book explores life stories of individual Atlantic City casino workers in the context of the history of the city and the now-global gaming industry. Click here to read more.
  • Philadelphia Eagles Book Mobile to visit Aug. 11

    eaglesThe Philadelphia Eagles Book Mobile will stop by the Atlantic City Free Public Library for a special story time at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 11. The story time will be held at the Main Library, located at One North Tennessee Ave. The Eagles’ Storybook Man will read a book to the children. Each child will have the opportunity to pick out a free book to keep following the reading. Click here to read more.
  • Library starts local Hispanic history project

    Hispanic Heritage Month photoOn Cinco de Mayo – Tuesday, May 5 – the Atlantic City Free Public Library launched a project to collect the history of the Hispanic community in Atlantic City. Through this project, the library is looking to develop a collection of materials which future generations of students, writers and genealogists can use to script a community history. Click here to read more.
  • Need help with your reading or writing skills?

    Literacy VolunteersThe Atlantic City Free Public Library and Literacy Volunteers Association Cape-Atlantic are offering a basic adult literacy class for individuals who need help with their reading and writing skills. The class is for adults on a fifth grade reading level or lower. Click here to read more.
  • Atlantic City Historical Museum
    hosts crew from NJTV show

    Talking Miss AmericaAn NJTV show scheduled to debut this fall visited the Atlantic City Historical Museum on June 20 to film an episode focused on the city’s history. “Drive By History” show co-hosts Ken Magos and Cindy Perman interviewed Atlantic City Library and Atlantic City Historical Museum archivist Heather Perez about some of the moments, people and places that have helped define Atlantic City. Click here to read more.
  • Walk-in Job Skills Lab held at library

    job skillsThe Atlantic City Free Public Library offers free weekly Walk-in Job Skills Labs to library members who need help with job-related tasks. We’ll provide refresher tips for your job search. Click here to read more.

Atlantic City Experience: 100 Years of Garden Pier

Garden Pier 1917Did you know that July 19, 2013 marks 100 years since Garden Pier first opened?

Garden Pier stood apart from the other piers in Atlantic City. First opening on July 19, 1913, its "uptown" location placed it away from the frenzied activity of the bustling downtown. The red-tiled roofs and Ionic architecture style of the buildings and the beautifully landscaped gardens gave the pier a formal appearance which attracted an upscale crowd.

(Postcard showing the buildings and gardens on Garden Pier soon after it opened. The large building in the center was B.F. Keith's Theatre. H049.624.158Gar014, Atlantic City Heritage Collections, Atlantic City Free Public Library.)

The centerpiece of Garden Pier was the stately B.F. Keith's Theatre, which for many years rivaled any of those on Broadway. Here, Tobacco Road and George White's Scandals premiered; during one notable week, both Douglas Fairbanks and Sophie Tucker appeared. One of the city's largest ballrooms was on the pier. In it, dances were held and large conventions met before the Atlantic City Auditorium was built. The first Miss America pageant started on Garden Pier in 1921.

 

For many seasons, businesses such as Underwood Typewriter, Hoover, and Pennsylvania Rubber Company advertised their wares to passersby. Taking advantage of the opportunity to attract people leisurely strolling by, the companies showcased typewriters, vacuum cleaners, car tires, and more.

Ultimately, the uptown location made it less commercially successful. After languishing for a decade, the pier was purchased by the City of Atlantic City in 1944. It survived the Great Hurricane of 1944 with extensive damage, but a new era for Garden Pier began when it reopened during Atlantic City's Centennial celebrations in 1954 as the Garden Pier Civic Center. The pier housed the Atlantic City Art Center, a historical exhibition, a fountain, and a concert and band shell.

Florence Valore Miller, a charter member of the Atlantic City Art Center, became the Civic Center executive director in 1962. For years, songstress Lucille "Aunt Lucy" Russo gave local youngsters their first taste of stardom in Garden Pier's Civic Center with her Boardwalk Star Revue. A devastating fire heavily damaged the pier in 1981, but thanks to the dedication of Mrs. Miller and Atlantic City Councilman Walter Collette, the pier was rebuilt. In 1985 the Atlantic City Historical Museum joined the Art Center on the Garden Pier. The pier underwent major renovations in 1994, funded by the City of Atlantic City, and again in 2012 with funding from the City, the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority and the pier's new neighbor, Revel Hotel Casino.

Today, the Garden Pier is the only municipally-owned pier in Atlantic City. The Atlantic City Art Center, under the management of the City of Atlantic City, and the Atlantic City Historical Museum, under the management of the Atlantic City Free Public Library, join in wishing the Garden Pier a very happy 100th anniversary!

Please visit the Atlantic City Historical Museum when we reopen to see the exhibit "Atlantic City Experience: 100 Years of the Garden Pier."

experience logo no background Click above to visit the Atlantic City Experience site. Visit the Atlantic City Historical Museum and see the best historical and cultural resources of Atlantic City.

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