Here’s the latest update from Margate Boardwalk guy, Glenn Klotz:
A short history of the old Margate Boardwalk. I’ve acquired some of the research data from librarian, Gwen Meade.
THE FIRST MARGATE BW – SOUTH ATLANTIC CITY 1906
Margate’s first section of BW ( 2,500 ft. long) was planned and built in 1906-7 even before Margate was incorporated in 1909. Margate already had a minimal boardwalk, almost three years before the town was incorporated.
Did you know? Margate was once known as South Atlantic City. Named after Margate, England. Once a naval port that helped protect London, 80 miles upstream. Today, Margate England a slightly run-down coastal resort.
In 1906, South AC decided to build it’s own extension to their existing BW in AC and Ventnor (we think). We don’t know exactly when the 1st boardwalk was built in Ventnor, but they might have been built at the same time.
What we know about the old Margate boardwalk: it was put out to bid for private companies. We also know (astonishingly) that it was built for approx. $22,500. Which in today’s $$, adjusted for 112 yrs. of inflation, is approx. $588,000.
In 1906, Margate had 10% or less, of the homes it has today. Along the beach during that time, almost no homes were built. Atlantic Ave. was a dirt road on top of an old dune line that had been flattened.
Not many power tools existed in 1906, so we believe most of the BW was built using hand tools by teams of carpenters, with a steam pile driver.
We think the first BW was only 2,500 feet long.
By 1925, the BW stretched all the way to the point in Longport. We believe it was accessed mostly by stairs. No handicapped laws existed, so ramps were not mandated by law, like they are today.
So, as of today we still don’t know what the old BW cost to build once it reached it’s 1944 version? We know that in 1925 none of the pavilions existed yet and by 1944 there were three of them. One supposedly survived intact the 44’ storm and was placed on the beach at Washington ave. where people say it resided till the 62’ Nor’easter.
We have some old repair bills that show big storms savaged it, almost immediatley. It had to be rebuilt or repaired numerous times from 1906 thru 1930. We’re not surprised, considering it was constructed directly along the ocean. The town beaches were very narrow back then.
By 1962, only a few remnants of the BW remained. I used to play on a block long section still standing near Margate Pier. That section washed away in the Ash Wed. Nor’easter of 1962. So ended Margate’s 1st BW.
Considering where they built it… right by the ocean… it was a minor miracle any of it survived as long as it did.
From 1962 to today, Margate has been without a BW. But now, there’s an increasingly good chance we might actually see Margate’s 2nd BW appear.
There’s much to admire about the first Margate BW. But it had a fatal flaw. It’s location was too close to the ocean. The BW we’re proposing today, will be placed safely above and behind the dune.