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Vintage Photos: Atlantic City Beach-Goers Beating the Heat in the 1890s

Historical photos reveal that not much as changed when it comes to cooling off

A black and white photo of a woman riding a donkey on the beach with a man lying on the beach in Atlantic City.
Hundreds of people began flocking to Atlantic City in the late 1800s and early 1900s to beat the heat—and apparently ride donkeys.
Courtesy of the Library of Congress

Summers in Philadelphia have always been relentlessly humid, sticky, and downright hot, and this year it’s no different. Another thing hasn’t changed much in the last century: Folks escaping the heat by traveling down to the Jersey shore, namely to Atlantic City.

Yes, while the struggling shore town has seen much, much better days, it used to be a thriving getaway lined with enormous, grandiose hotels dotting the boardwalk. To help get you through this heat wave, take a trip down memory lane with more than a dozen historical photos dating back to 1890 of beach-goers beating the heat in the Atlantic City. Watch as the shore town changes over the years, just before it hits its "Boardwalk Empire" 1920s era.