Coastal Heritage

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Greater Atlantic City Region

New Jersey’s Greater Atlantic City Region covers the southern county of Atlantic, which is along the Atlantic Coast. Highlights of this region include seaside communities and historic buildings, boardwalk history, lighthouses, fishing heritage and military history.


Roundhouse MuseumRoundhouse Museum
533 London Avenue
Egg Harbor City, NJ
(609) 965-9073

The Roundhouse Museum is operated by the Egg Harbor City Historical Society and contains a collection of exhibits on the history and culture of the city and its local industries. These include Liberty Glass, C.P. Leek & Sons Boats and the wine industry. The museum is located in a historical building which was once part of Dr. Smith’s Neutral Waters Health Resort. Patients ailing from many different types of diseases came to the sanitarium looking for cures through elixirs and cleansing baths.

Chestnut Neck Battle Monument
Route 9 & Old New York Road
Port Republic, NJ
Chestnut Neck Battle Monument(609) 652-1352

The Chestnut Neck Battle Monument was erected to mark the location of one of the battles of the Revolutionary War. The monument is a large statue of a Minute Man guarding the Little Egg Harbor. During the Revolutionary War, the Continental Congress used privateers to capture British ships going to and from New York and Philadelphia. The remote area of Chestnut Neck was a perfect refuge for these privateers to unload their cargo and send it for auction. The U.S. privateers were very effective against the British, causing the British to retaliate at the Battle of Chestnut Neck.

Brigantine Historical Museum
Brigantine Historical Museum3607 Brigantine Boulevard
Brigantine, NJ
(609) 266-9339

The Brigantine Historical Museum preserves the history of the island through its large collection of photographs and artifacts from the 19th and early 20th centuries. Some of the collections include the United States Coast Guard, shipwrecks, lighthouses and lightships, American Indians and local community history.

Brigantine has a rich and varied history. The Lenape Indians called Brigantine “Watamoonica,” meaning summer playground. The island was later named Brigantine after a 1600s ship. Whalers, shipbuilders, privateers and pirates were all part of Brigantine’s past. During the 19th century, railroads brought people from Philadelphia to this beach town and steamboats brought people to neighboring Atlantic City.

Risley Homestead
Risley Homestead8 Virginia Avenue
Northfield, NJ
(609) 927-5218

The Risley Homestead is a 1790 cottage that was home to many generations of oystermen and their families. The two-room farmhouse had a sleeping loft where ten children were raised. In the 1930s, additions were made to the home that included a kitchen, dining room and bathroom to modernize the cottage. Visitors can tour the combination eighteenth/twentieth century farmhouse and discover what life was like for the Risley family.

Atlantic City Historical Museum
Atlantic City Historical MuseumBoardwalk and New Jersey Avenues
Atlantic City, NJ
(609) 347-5839

The Atlantic City Historical Museum displays the culture and history of Atlantic City’s world famous Boardwalk, hotels and casinos, Miss America Pageants and show business ventures. Exhibits include the award-winning video “Boardwalk Ballyhoo,” posters, photographs, costumes, postcards, artifacts and memorabilia.

The Atlantic City Boardwalk was the first boardwalk. It was built in 1870 in order to keep guests from tracking sand into the hotels after visiting the beach. The Boardwalk was originally a seasonal structure and was taken down in the winter. A permanent Boardwalk was built in 1890 and concession stands, amusement rides and other businesses sprouted up so that visitors would not have to go into town while enjoying a day at the beach.

Absecon LighthouseAbsecon Lighthouse
Pacific and Rhode Island Avenues
Atlantic City, NJ
(609) 449-1360

Absecon Lighthouse in Atlantic City is the tallest lighthouse in New Jersey and the third tallest lighthouse in the country. It is the only New Jersey lighthouse with its original 1st order Fresnel lens still in place at the top, which was first lit in 1857. Visitors can climb the lighthouse’s 228 steps for an amazing view of the Atlantic City skyline. The Absecon Lighthouse also has a history museum located within the replica Lightkeeper’s dwelling. Exhibits include information and photos on the history of the lighthouse.

Historic Gardner’s Basin
Historic Gardner's Basin 800 North New Hampshire Avenue
Atlantic City, NJ
(609) 348-2880

Historic Gardner’s Basin is a waterfront area along the back bay in Atlantic City. Visitors can enjoy the Atlantic City Aquarium, browse the crafter’s village and shops, enjoy a seafood dinner or take a chartered fishing or sightseeing boat ride. There are several items on display throughout the basin, including early underwater vehicles and the “Diving Bell”, an attraction on the Steel Pier that lowered guests into the ocean to see the underwater life.

Chicken Bone BeachChicken Bone Beach
Mississippi and Georgia Avenues on the Boardwalk
Atlantic City, NJ
(609) 441-9064

The Chicken Bone Beach Historical Foundation holds a weekly summer Jazz on the Beach concert series at Kennedy Plaza on the Boardwalk. These concerts are held to create pride in black heritage through the celebration of African-American history at Chicken Bone Beach.

Until the 1950s, Chicken Bone Beach was the only area of the Atlantic City beach that African – American families could enjoy. The name “Chicken Bone Beach” came from the picnic baskets filled with chicken that families would bring for lunch. African – American entertainers also frequented this beach, including Sammy Davis Jr. and other famous musicians.

Fisherman's ParkFisherman's Park
Melrose and Rhode Island Avenues
Atlantic City, NJ
(609) 347-5528

At Fisherman’s Park, visitors can stroll through manicured grounds on a paved walkway that overlooks the docked fishing boats. There is a memorial plaque at the park that is dedicated to all the fishermen who have been lost at sea.

Lucy the Margate Elephant
Lucy the Margate Elephant 9200 Atlantic Avenue
Margate, NJ
(609) 823-6473

Lucy the Margate Elephant is an elephant-shaped six story building overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Lucy was built in 1881 and is a National Historic Landmark as an example of zoomorphic architecture. Visitors can take a guided tour and climb the world’s largest elephant for a spectacular view from her howdah. Inside Lucy is a mini-museum with pictures and artifacts from Lucy’s history and the development of South Atlantic City, which is now Margate.

Lucy the Margate Elephant was built by James Lafferty, Jr., a real estate speculator, who thought that the giant elephant would attract visitors and prospective buyers to the South Atlantic City area. The lots that he was selling could only be reached during low tide due to a deep tidal creek that separated the area. In order to enable buyers to view the properties without traveling by horse and carriage to the land plot, buyers could view the properties from Lucy’s howdah.

Longport Historical Society Museum
Longport Historical Society Museum 2301 Atlantic Avenue
Longport, NJ
(609) 823-1115

The Longport Historical Society Museum is located in a 1939 Coast Guard Station. This museum focuses on the history of the community with pictures and memorabilia of this seashore resort.

Longport was named by M. Simpson McCullough, who developed the area. He named it after the long port on the bay side and after his friend, James Long, who originally owned the land.

Atlantic Heritage Center
Atlantic Heritage Center 907 Shore Road
Somers Point, NJ
(609) 927-5218

The Atlantic Heritage Center preserves the history of Atlantic County through its museum collections and genealogical library. Visitors can take a guided tour through the museum to learn about the area’s past. Displays in the museum include many Victorian items including clothing and dolls, as well as household items, arts, maritime artifacts and weaponry. Shipbuilding tools, navigational items and ship models are on display from Atlantic County’s maritime industries. The library contains a large collection of documents, newspapers, photos, maps and other historical items that visitors can use for genealogical research.

Somers Mansion
1000 Shore Road
Somers Point, NJ
(609) 927-2212
Somers Mansion
Somers Mansion, the former home of Richard Somers, is the oldest house in Atlantic County and was built in 1725. Visitors can take a guided tour through the home which contains original eighteenth-century furnishings and local textiles. Somers Mansion is constructed of brick in the Flemish Bond pattern and has a roof that resembles the upturned hull of a ship.

Richard’s father, John Somers, was given monopoly rights to a ferry operation between Job’s Point and Beesley’s Point. Richard operated the first ferry across Great Egg Harbor Bay. Richard's son was a colonel in the Gloucester County Militia and commanded a sea coast guard that protected the Little and Great Egg Harbors.