The A.C. Library launches a new Web site that supports the library’s program of exhibits and educational programs designed to promote the city’s past and catch the wave of interest "Boardwalk Empire" has brought.
Thanks to the success of HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, Nucky Johnson (though called Nucky Thompson on the show) has become a star decades after his death. Johnson now lands in the mob Hall of Fame (perhaps the first Atlantic City figure to do so) with the likes of Al Capone and Lucky Luciano.
But in the ‘20s, not everyone in Atlantic City was a bootlegger.
Take the case of Sarah Spencer Washington, an African-American woman who made her fortune as one of the first business people to develop beauty products for black women. She started a hairdressing business in A.C. in 1913, expanded into a line of beauty schools around the country and was an important civic leader in Atlantic City, even organizing an Easter Parade for African Americans denied entrance to the city’s Boardwalk Easter Parade.
And as far as we know, she never made a single batch of bathtub gin.
For the Atlantic City Free Public Library, both Johnson’s and Washington’s stories are worth telling and are featured on a new Web site — The Atlantic City Experience.
The Web site supports the library’s program of exhibits and educational programs of the same name launched in October. The Atlantic City Experience is designed to promote the city’s past and catch the wave of interest Boardwalk Empire has brought.
The Web site – atlanticcityexperience.org – provides some of the extensive resources contained in the library’s Alfred M. Heston Collection. The collection contains books, photographs, postcards, audio, video, digital files and memorabilia pertaining to the city’s history.
The Web site also features the online exhibit "Flying Fearless," covering the first U.S. air shows in 1910 — in Atlantic City and Asbury Park — and the history of flight in the country.
The library also unveiled its first special exhibit – “The Atlantic City Experience: 1920s” – in October as a tribute to Boardwalk Empire. The exhibit, which will be on display at the Main Library until spring 2011, consists of three displays:
• Nucky's Empire: Pictures and information about former Atlantic City boss Enoch “Nucky” Johnson.
• The Atlantic City Experience: Shots of Atlantic City in the 1920s and information about the city.
• Life in the Roaring 20s: Photographs and information about 1920s culture in general.
Also, the library is showcasing 1920s-era clothing, including an authentic flapper dress and tuxedo.
For all Nucky managed to acomplish, there’s a lot more stories in Atlantic City then even he could imagine.
The Atlantic City Experience could cost anywhere from $14 million to $51 million. Profits, however, could easily reach $300-400K per year by the third year with the city aiming for more non-gaming attractions in the future.
The Atlantic City Free Public Library will now be operating the Atlantic City Historical Museum located across from Revel on the Garden Pier.
From Pop Lloyd to Pattie Harris to Nucky Johnson and the Northside, not to mention Nina Simone and Sam Cooke and other entertainers' connections to Atlantic City and region.
In a “news” box on the upper right side of the Archeophone Records home page, there’s a list of the songs played thus far in the first two episodes of HBO’s 'Boardwalk Empire,' set in 1920s Atlantic City.
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