6 Unusual Historic Sites by the NJ Shore
You expect to find sun, fun and amazing attractions at the Jersey Shore, but it’s also packed with unexpected surprises, uncommon discoveries – and a fair share of unusual historical sites too. Enjoy this glimpse into some can’t-miss locations that are a part of New Jersey’s vibrant history.
- Loud & Proud – Atlantic City is home to the first Miss America Pageant, the oldest boardwalk and the world’s largest and loudest musical instrument in the world – a 33,112-pipe organ. Built between 1929 and 1932, this musical masterpiece at Boardwalk Hall holds four Guinness World Records and is described in The Guinness Book of World Records as “a pure trumpet note of ear-splitting volume, six times louder than the loudest train whistle.”
- Ghostly Fun – Built in 1923, The Flanders Hotel is on the National Register of Historic Places and is one of Ocean City’s most timeless and elegant hotels. It is also said to have its own resident cheerful apparition, referred to as Emily or The Lady in White, that wanders the halls barefoot, playing with locks, swinging doors and the like. A portrait rendering of Emily and her story is on view at The Flanders, and the hotel’s restaurant, Emily’s Ocean Room, is named after her.
- Mammoth Proportions – To tour Lucy the Elephant is to love her. And if you’re in Margate City, you should do exactly that. It isn’t every day you get the chance to explore a newly renovated 65-foot-high elephant, complete with painted toenails. And Lucy’s history is just as interesting as she is. This National Historic Landmark was built in 1881 by real estate developer James Lafferty to attract potential buyers to his holdings along the coast and has previously served as a tavern and a summer residence.
- Future Looks Bright – In Asbury Park, there’s a very small, very iconic booth named Madam Marie’s Temple of Knowledge. The late Marie told fortunes to many, including a young Bruce Springsteen, who went on to immortalize the fortune teller in his lyrics. Judy Garland, Ray Charles and Frank Sinatra also reportedly visited the booth. Today it is run by Marie’s granddaughter but still bears her name.
- A Once-Secret Site – A former highly-classified Nike Missile Launch Site which served as air defense during the Cold War era is located in the Sandy Hook Unit of Gateway National Recreation Area. If driving north towards Fort Hancock, you will pass the launch site and two Nike Missiles can be seen further along the road. Tours are conducted on select weekends.
- Get to the Point – Cape May Point that is. That’s where you’ll find a World War II bunker, Battery 223, a massive concrete bunker still sitting out on the beach. The bunker was built by the US Army Corps of Engineers and completed in 1943 with concrete walls seven feet thick and a blast-proof roof to serve as protection against a potential enemy invasion. A true marvel for any history buff.
Discover more historic destinations and other fascinating things to do and places to see in New Jersey at VisitNJ.org - access your free official travel guide too. As always, be sure to check the social pages or websites of your chosen location before you go.