NJM Blog

The First Boardwalk in the United States

The First Boardwalk in the United States

There's a lot of history here in the Garden State. If you visit Atlantic City, you have the opportunity to take a stroll down the first of what has become a Jersey Shore institution. Did you know the Atlantic City Boardwalk was the first boardwalk built in the United States?

In 1870, Atlantic City was a busy place full of hotels and restaurants. There was only one problem — with no barrier between the beach and businesses, sand got everywhere, from hotel lobbies to train cars.

To solve this problem, Alexander Boardman, a conductor on the Atlantic City-Camden Railroad, and hotel owner Jacob Keim came up with the idea to build a boardwalk next to businesses to keep sand out. After the city council approved the idea, half of the city's tax revenue from that year was used to build the 8-foot-wide boardwalk. Ten years later, the boardwalk was replaced by a larger version.

The popularity of Atlantic City and the boardwalk grew, but the boardwalk didn't just serve as a place of entertainment. During World War II, Convention Hall on the boardwalk was converted into a U.S. Army training facility. In fact, soldiers would march up and down the boardwalk.

Today, you'll still find hotels and restaurants on the boardwalk, but it’s also a place for family and friends to relax and have fun. Almost 150 years later, it continues to be a travel destination in New Jersey. Why not come and enjoy a walk on the country's first ever boardwalk?