(Look Back is an occasional series with content and images from the Atlantic County Historical Society.)
A major concern today in Atlantic City is attracting families for their vacations. When the casinos were approved, it was decided that Atlantic City would not be a "family" resort. Amusement piers were demolished, although no casinos were built on their sites. Looking back to the 1930s, families were encouraged to come by having a Children's Week during the summer, when boys and girls under the age of twelve, accompanied by an adult member of their family and registered at a co-operating hotel, were invited to be guests of Atlantic City.
Hotels, restaurants, entertainment, amusement piers, sail boats, rolling chairs, swimming pools and many other delightful opportunities for comfort, pleasure and enjoyment became part of the hospitality that was extended to the little guests.
Some of the notable persons to "meet and greet" were authors of famous children's books, illustrators, juvenile movie stars, creators of animated cartoons and favorite radio personalities. There were beach games, supervised ocean bathing, special musical performances, parades, fireworks, sailing trips and many other events provided to make this week a party for kids.
To make the event a success, there were many cooperating organizations that participated, such as hotels, amusements piers, restaurants and local businesses.
What would be the results if this marketing plan was tried today? It has been successful in nearby towns. Maybe it can be brought back to Atlantic City as the city is trying to redefine itself in attempts to attract the families again.
"Early South Jersey Photography," a newly mounted exhibit, will be on permanent display at the Atlantic County Historical Society beginning Feb. 19.
Founded in 1913, the Atlantic County Historical Society has been preserving historical materials in its library and museum since. Every week, Wednesday to Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., it opens its doors to share these collections with anyone who is interested. The society building is at 907 Shore Road in Somers Point. More information is available at www.atlanticcountyhistoricalsocietynj.org and on Facebook, or by calling 609-927-5218.