Rediscovering the Magic of Atlantic City’s Original Steel Pier

Let’s take a nostalgic journey back to the original Steel Pier in Atlantic City, New Jersey, a marvel of engineering and entertainment that captured the hearts of many.

The Steel Pier was more than just an amusement park; it was an all-day adventure offering a variety of attractions for a nominal fee. Visitors could enjoy first-run movies, the water circus, top entertainment acts, and more, making it a popular destination for families.

One of the most iconic attractions was “The Diving Bell,” owned by The Beck Family. Descending into the Atlantic Ocean in the Diving Bell was a thrilling experience, even though visibility underwater was limited. The slow descent was followed by an exhilarating ascent, likened to lifting off from a spaceship.

The operator’s familiar spiel, “We just returned from a trip to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean and we didn’t even get wet,” added to the excitement of the ride.

Another beloved attraction was the High Diving Horse, a spectacle that sparked debate about animal cruelty. However, during interviews, George Hamid, Jr., affirmed that the horses willingly participated in the jumps and were treated humanely.

Steel Pier was also known for its iconic WFPG AM Radio glass booth, where the station broadcasted hourly from the pier. This unique arrangement symbolized a bygone era of broadcasting.

Rediscovering the Magic of Atlantic City's Original Steel Pier

In its heyday, Steel Pier attracted top names in show business like Frank Sinatra, who performed an impressive nine shows per day with The Harry James Orchestra.

Built in 1898 at a cost of $200,000, Steel Pier stretched 1,621 feet into the Atlantic Ocean, later extended to 2,000 feet. It was the first pier to use steel beams on iron pilings, standing as a testament to engineering innovation.

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Despite its enduring legacy, George Hamid, Jr., acknowledged that replicating Steel Pier today would be cost-prohibitive, highlighting the challenges of recreating such an iconic landmark.

For many, Steel Pier remains a cherished memory, a place where joy and excitement intersected on Atlantic City’s waterfront. As we reflect on its rich history, Steel Pier continues to hold a special place in our hearts, reminding us of the magic of days gone by.

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