You Could Strike it Rich in Atlantic City

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Have you heard the famous song "Under the Boardwalk"? Well Atlantic City has the world's longest boardwalk.
It's almost six miles long, lined with magnificent hotels on one side and spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean on the other.
Atlantic City was incorporated on May 1, 1854 and that same year regular train service between it and Philadelphia began.
Up until that time the city was a rather remote resort on Absecon Island surrounded by marshlands.
The railway really put the city on the map.
Tourists would escape the summer heat of the city and spend two or three weeks at a time on the island.
The first boardwalk was built between Atlantic City and Longport, a distance of about 7 miles.
It started out as a way to keep sand out of the lobbies of the hotels.
Then, little by little, it grew as more hotels sprang up.
In 1944, a hurricane hit and destroyed portions of the walk.
Rebuilt, using concrete and steel, it is now 60 feet wide and about 5.
75 miles in length.
Today it ends at the Ventor/Margate border.
The city is famous for Ocean Pier, built in 1882 as an amusement facility.
Tourists from all over the world are attracted to the Steel Pier which opened in 1898 and the Million Dollar Pier which is now The Pier Shops at Caesars.
In the early days,places to stay were simply boarding houses, but in the early 20th century they began being replaced by hotels.
Two of the most well known were the Marlborough, a beautiful Queen Anne style hotel, and the Spanish-Moorish designed Blenheim Hotel.
Eventually these two were merged into the Marlborough-Blenheim Hotel.
The Traymore Hotel began as a small boarding house and kept growing with additions simply tacked on.
In 1914 it was transformed into a sixteen storey, tan brick, gold-capped masterpiece, which became an area landmark.
In 1930, the 24 floor, 400 room Claridge Hotel was built.
It became known as the "Skyscraper By The Sea" and was the last large hotel constructed before the dawn of the casinos.
Before the new age of casinos, Atlantic City began to decline.
Poverty and crime were on the rise.
The many reasons that this happened are fascinating.
With the dawn of the automobile, Americans could come and go as they wished.
They'd spend only a few days in Atlantic City instead of the weeks that visitors coming by train had done.
Families began moving to suburbia where homes had air conditioning and swimming pools, so the beaches no longer held the charm they once had.
Folks didn't need to flock to the water like lemmings.
They could chill out at home.
Then along came inexpensive and speedy air service to other top-notch resorts such as Miami Beach, Nassau, and the Bahamas.
Atlantic City simply lost its ranking as the top holiday destination.
The typical tourists were now old and poor.
Hotels closed, became cheap apartments, or even nursing homes.
Something had to be done to breathe new life into the city.
In 1976 casino gambling was approved for Atlantic City.
The Resorts International became the first legal casino in the eastern United States, opening on May 26, 1978.
Initially the introduction of casinos did not eliminate the problems of poverty and crime, in fact it helped show the great divide between poor neighborhoods and the areas that only tourists visited.
But over the last twenty years things have stabilized.
Much money has been invested in sparkling new resorts, including Donald Trump's empire, which has built or refurbished at least six huge properties.
Atlantic City has had a 25.
9 percent increase in average home value from 2005 to 2006.
That's highest in the United States.
That's quite the reversal from the days when hotels were closing down and being turned into nursing homes.
With it's humid subtropical climate, the city has a pleasant year round climate.
Not too cold in winter with less snowfall than in the north of the state, and moderately hot in the summer with pleasant sea breezes off the ocean.
For the tourist, it is an exciting city with magnificent places to stay.
The casinos are a huge draw, but folks can also take leisurely strolls along the famous boardwalk right beside the mighty Atlantic Ocean.
Other attractions abound, such as the oldest remaining Ripley's Believe It or Not! Odditorium in the world.
It's a great area for a game of golf, followed up by a delicious meal.
The variety of cuisine is truly astonishing.
The next time you get the urge to travel, try exploring exciting Atlantic City.
You will be pampered, and dazzled, and then, if you're lucky, you could strike it rich.
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