• Leonard Dozier to play
    Third Thursday Concert Series on Aug. 17

    Leonard DozierThe Atlantic City Free Public Library will be bringing free entertainment to the city with its Third Thursday Concert Series. Performances will be held on the third Thursday of each month from May through September. Shows begin at 5 p.m. and will be held at the Main Library. Please call (609) 345-2269, ext. 3112, for more information. Click here to read more.
  • Work of famed artist Jacob Lawrence
    to be exhibited in September

    The Builders The FamilyThe Atlantic City Arts Commission will present the Jacob Lawrence Centennial Exhibition this September to commemorate the 100th birthday of the famed Atlantic City-born artist. The exhibit will be on display all month on the first floor of the Atlantic City Free Public Library, with a special reception scheduled on Lawrence’s birthday, Sept, 7, from 2-4 p.m. Click here to read more.
  • Summer Reading Program is underway

    Steel PierThe Atlantic City Public Library has kicked off its Summer Reading Program for children and teenagers. Steel Pier in Atlantic City is a sponsor of this year’s Summer Reading Program. Contact the Youth Services Department at (609) 345-2269, ext. 3050, to see how you can qualify for free rides and free snacks at Steel Pier for our end-of-summer party on Aug. 17. The rain date for this party will be Aug. 24. Please call Youth Services to find out whether the party will be moved to the rain date. Click here to check out the Summer Reading Program events schedule.
  • Library to host monthly Job Corps
    information sessions for individuals ages 16-24

    job corpsThe Atlantic City Free Public Library will host Job Corps orientations on June 21, July 19 and Aug. 16, from 11 a.m.-2 p.m.  Job Corps is the largest vocational trade school in the country that provides hands-on training in high-demand industries, such as manufacturing, construction, health care, hospitality, information technology and more. The program is open to ages 16-24 that need a High School Diploma. Call Kim Webster at (856) 305-7388 to reserve a seat. Click here to download the flyer.
  • Receive one-on-one assistance
    at weekly Walk-in Job Skills Lab

    job skillsThe Atlantic City Free Public Library offers a free Walk-in Job Skills Labs to library members who need help with job-related tasks. We’ll provide refresher tips for your job search. The lab is held Wednesdays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the first-floor Learning Center (next to the Help Desk). 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.

City of Atlantic City

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