Let’s Open This Together, An Atlantic City Time Capsule From 1956
Join us, as together we open up a time capsule from 66 years ago. The Atlantic City Press from April 5, 1956, to be exact.
This was an era when people got most of their news and information from the daily newspaper.
The story begins with a very good friend of mine, Michael Heath. Mike is a retired, career Atlantic City Police Officer, who also possesses great talent as a builder, finish carpenter, and more.
Mike was working on a home in Cape May County, New Jersey. Upon doing demolition, he found an Atlantic City press newspaper from April 5, 1956.
He called me soon after his find and I couldn’t wait to get together to collaborate on this story. We’ll hear directly from Mike at the end of this story.
First, I was struck by this banner, top-of-the-fold headline story, titled:
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
In early April of 1956, they were experiencing delays of a potentially life-saving vaccine for Polio. We also experienced vaccine shortages during our two-year COVID-19 pandemic.
There were also dramatic differences between 1956 and 2022. In 1956, Americans trusted their government and enthusiastically wanted the new Polio vaccine. Dr. Jonas Salk announced on a radio show back on March 26, 1953, that he had developed a cure for Polio.
Dr. Salk was a national hero, who was celebrated everywhere he went.
By comparison, our government of today and the face of our pandemic, Dr. Anthony Faucci are generally not trusted by many of the American people, which is a very sad commentary.
On April 4, 1956, a decision was announced that Philadelphia’s very own Princess could remain an American citizen.
The article details all kinds of technical issues about how could she hold dual citizenship as an American and be a princess and citizen of Monaco.
Next, is an advertisement for The Knife and Fork that caught my eye.
Yes, Boneless Shad must have been all the rage back in 1956, because they spent their hard-earned money and ad space on their “Boneless Shad” menu item at $1.20, with sides and coffee, too.
I simply love the simplicity of this advertisement.
Just look at these iconic establishments that are beloved and still talked about 66 years later.
THE CLUB HARLEM - ATLANTIC CITY.
THE 500 CLUB - ATLANTIC CITY.
TONY MART’S BAR & CAFE - SOMERS POINT.
I love this trio of ads placed together back in 1956.
Out of all of these incredible restaurants of yesterday, a few are still in operation today.
THE KNIFE AND FORK INN
DOCK’S OYSTER HOUSE
THE SMITHVILLE INN
The Knife and Fork Inn and Dock’s Oyster House are owned and operated by The Dougherty Family.
The Smithville Inn is owned and operated by The Coppola Family.
This next ad is fabulous for Hertz Rent-A-Car.
Note the phone number 4-7112. Yes, in 1956, locally you had to dial just 5 numbers to make a phone call.
Fast forward 66 years and now locally, we dial 10 numbers to make a local phone call.
Priceless evolution here.
Here’s a great headline in 1956. It read: "Man Held In $1500 Bail For Carrying Gun."
By comparison, today, look how many jurisdictions around the country with prosecutors, are letting people who do this, and even worse, no-bail release.
Things have changed a lot in our criminal prosecution system in America over the past 66 years.
Here’s the front-page article:
This is one of my absolute favorite ads of this April 5, 1956 edition of the daily newspaper.
The Legendary Jack Guischard wrote an open letter to then-Mayor Joseph Altman. Altman at least six, 4-year terms as Mayor of Atlantic City.
Read this positive letter from Guischard. It’s fantastic.
Finally, check out this Atlantic City Press “Want Ad,” where they are in search of their own advertising representative.
You can readily see that it was a much more blunt society back in 1956.
Here’s the actual “Want Ad.”
We asked Mike Heath to share his thoughts about finding such a neat piece of history.
I appreciate the opportunity to share my thoughts about where I found the newspaper, and how I felt paging through it. While doing demolition on an 80-year-old house in North Wildwood, I came across that newspaper which was stuffed inside the wall. As you know it was in very fragile condition. As I carefully removed it from the wall I saw the date April 1956...I love this type of history. My parents were teenagers at that time. Looking through the pages, I was taken back to a time before we were born, a time of innocence of sorts, where the moral degradation of today would not have been accepted or tolerated.
Heath continued, “I laughed at the Real estate ads with homes from Ventnor, Margate, and Longport which we're selling [for] under 20 thousand dollars."
“Also, the cost to purchase a vehicle was in the hundreds of dollars. I thought of you right off the bat, knowing what the history of our area means to you and a lot of your listeners,” said Heath.
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