Monday, October 18, 2010

Rolling Chair Parade

Rolling Chair Parade Atlantic City
Postmarked 20 February 1909
Atlantic City

Feb 20th 1909 / Dearest Hazel / I am having a very nice time here in Atlantic City the ocean is very nice today but was very stormy last night wish you were here to see it / Lovingly, Aunt Ellie
Beautiful beaches and refreshing sea air made Atlantic City a popular vacation destination. Alexander Boardman, a railroad conductor, and Jacob Keim, a hotelier, developed the boardwalk so that people wouldn't track sand into the hotels and railroad cars. The rolling chairs featured in this postcard were introduced in 1884 and were the only vehicle allowed on the boardwalk. Once source claims the boards on the boardwalk were diagonal to make it easier to maneuver them. According to PBS's "American Experience":
In 1920 the Businessmen's League of Atlantic City came up with a plan to keep fun and profits continuing past Labor Day. For September 25th, they organized a Fall Frolic. Three hundred and fifty gaily decorated rolling wicker chairs were pushed along the parade route. Three hundred and fifty men pushed the chairs. However, the main attractions were the young 'maidens' who sat in the rolling chairs, headed by a Miss Ernestine Cremona, who was dressed in a flowing white robe and represented 'Peace.'
Rolling chair parades were also a part of the Miss America pageant. Rolling chairs are still in use today, though retired chairs are coveted as furniture (story here)!

Here's a picture of the rolling chairs in which you can see the operator pushing his cargo:

Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, 
Detroit Publishing Company Collection

1 comment:

Christine H. said...

Ernestine Cremona...what a great name. I like these rolling chairs. An electric one wouldn't be bad either.

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