Summer is the perfect time to learn about Atlantic City’s history.
That’s why Stockton University is hosting The AC Walking Tour Series, each led by Atlantic City historian and Stockton adjunct professor, Dr. Levi Fox.
The tours will be held at 10 am on four consecutive Fridays beginning July 8.
The tours run about two hours long, rain or shine, and will cover between 2 to 3 miles of parks, city streets, and of course, the boardwalk.
This year’s tours are co-sponsored by the Chelsea Economic Development Corporation and the Ducktown Community Development Corporation, which has helped reduce the registration fee.
“It’s an opportunity to experience the history from past to present here in Atlantic City. We’re full of history and landmarks and famous people and events and all the great things that go on here in the city that sometimes gets overlooked,” Diana Strelczyk, assistant director of Stockton Continuing Studies at the Atlantic City campus said.
To actually walk the city streets and to experience the people and places that exist in our everyday lives is very immersive, she added.
Four tours have been planned for next month and if all goes well, she said more tours featuring different neighborhoods will be planned for the fall and spring.
The summer tour series is as follows:
Tour #1: Friday, July 8: Veterans’ Heritage Tour
Honoring the city’s veterans is the perfect way to kick off the walking tour series coming out of the 4th of July holiday. The tour will begin at the Stockton Atlantic City John F. Scarpa Academic Center on Atlantic Avenue. It will continue through the historic Chelsea Neighborhood at Stockton.
Strelczyk said the tour honors the service of our vets during the Civil War, World War I, World War II, the Korean War, and more. On the tour, walkers will learn about AC’s involvement in various military campaigns. Notable stops include the O’Donnell Memorial Park, the Korean War Memorial, Ritz-Carlton Building, and Boardwalk Hall.
Tour #2: Friday, July 15: Ducktown Revitalization
The tour begins at the Noyes Arts Garage at Stockton University on Fairmount Avenue.
The historic neighborhood of “Ducktown” was once known as AC’s “Little Italy.” It was once an Italian neighborhood and it was called “Ducktown” because there used to be a lot of duck hunting out of Atlantic City Bay, said Strelczyk. Many of those ducks were then sold to local restaurants.
But now the area is a Latino neighborhood, known for its budding art scene, great restaurants, and shopping mall. The tour will focus on local markets, churches, and revitalization efforts taking place between Missouri and Texas Avenues.
The neighborhood has really evolved over the past 40 years, she said.
Notable sites on the tour include The Noyes Arts Garage of Stockton University, Dante Hall, White House Sub Shop, Dock’s Oyster House, and the Historic 500 Club site.
Tour #3: Friday, July 22: Louisa Mack’s LGBT/Orange Loop
This tour begins at Bourre, 201 S. New York Avenue.
Now known as the “Orange Loop,” in reference to the orange properties on a Monopoly board, which include New York, Tennessee, and St. James, this neighborhood was once considered the “Gay-borhood” of AC, said Strelczyk.
Various nightclubs and bars hosted by Louisa Mack made this a popular spot for the LGBTQ community as early as the 1920s.
“The tour will talk about the impact and the history of the LGBTQ community here in Atlantic City and how it’s really evolved and how now The Orange Loop has become a new hot spot for the LGBTQ community, where in the past it was a more covert spot for the LGBTQ community and now it’s a very open and publicly celebrated and prideful place,” Strelczyk said.
Notable sites on the tour include the AC Civil Rights Garden, Bourre and former locations of the Brass Rail, Louisa Mack’s Entertainer’s Club on Snake Alley, the Lark Inn, and the Professional Arts Building.
Tour #4: Friday, July 29: Lower Chelsea
This tour will start at the Stockton Atlantic City John F. Scarpa Academic Center on Atlantic Avenue, and end at Congregation Rodef Shalom Temple, also on Atlantic Avenue.
Lower Chelsea, as a neighborhood, has historically been a neighborhood where power players lived, said Strelczyk. Fire department marshals, mayors, police chiefs, councilmen and many of the power players of Atlantic City have lived here over the years.
This tour will also feature the Jewish heritage of the neighborhood including stops at a synagogue, a tailor shop, union headquarters, and more.
The architecture is phenomenal with huge homes, as well, she added.
“I can’t think of a better way to learn, get some exercise, enjoy the summer sunshine, safely socialize and connect with your community than these tours, Strelczyk said.
Registration is required for each tour. Visit stockton.edu/cs or call Continuing Studies at 609-652-4227.
Each individual tour is $10 or $35 for a four-tour bundle. Free parking is available for everyone going on the tour. Walkers are reminded to wear comfortable shoes and bring a water bottle and sunblock.
Jen Ursillo is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach her at email@example.com
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