Atlantic City, city (1990 pop. 37,986), Atlantic co., SE N.J., an Atlantic resort and convention center; settled c.1790, inc. 1854. Situated on Absecon Island, a barrier island 10 mi (16.1 km) long, Atlantic City was a fishing village until the construction in 1854 of a railroad that made it a fashionable resort for Philadelphians and New Yorkers. The first boardwalk was built in 1870. Atlantic City's chief industry is tourism, with more than 30 million visitors annually. The casino industry, which was legalized in 1976 and began in 1978, rivals that in Las Vegas, Nevada. The boardwalk, lined with casinos, hotels, shops, and amusements, is 6 mi (9.7 km) long. Urban blight, however, has continued to contrast sharply with oceanfront prosperity. Atlantic City has a large convention center. The Democratic national convention took place in the city in 1964, and the Miss America Pageant was held there annually from 1921 to 2005. Absecon Lighthouse, in operation 1854–1932, attracts tourists. The first Ferris wheel was built in Atlantic City in 1869. The board game Monopoly, which makes use of area street names, was invented here in 1930. In 2012 the city suffered significant flooding from Hurricane Sandy.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.