Atlantic City and Monopoly, Perfect Together.
There have been many accounts of who actually invented the game of Monopoly. The bottom line is that Charles Darrow is best known for creating an Atlantic City variation of “Monopoly“, the original game was called “The Landlords Game”. Darrow was a salesman of heating and engineering equipment but lost his job during the great depression, triggered by the stock market crash of 1929. He decided to create a handmade versions of the game and sell copies to his close friends. He launched Monopoly in 1933 and it quickly became a huge success, so he decided to patent his invention. What’s truly amazing, is that today, the value of the properties on the Monopoly game board reflect the actual condition of the real streets in Atlantic City, NJ with Boardwalk and Park Place being the nicest and Mediterranean and Baltic being the slums.
Atlantic City became the inspiration for game inventor Charles Darrow’s “Monopoly” game because of his fondness for childhood vacations spent in the beach-side city. He often played a game called “The Landlords Game” with his friends, came up with the idea to apply Atlantic City to the existing game. Darrow was an unemployed Philadelphian at the time of the game’s invention, and most of the “real estate” for sale in the game is based on actual streets in Atlantic City, New Jersey, with one in-famous exception.
“Marvin Gardens” in the Monopoly Board Game is a misspelling of “Marven Gardens”, a suburb of Atlantic City. “Marven” gets its name as a hybrid of “MARgate City” and “VENtnor City”, and is not just an odd spelling of the popular male name “Marvin”. Hasbro, the game’s current owner, made an official apology to residents of Marven Gardens, perhaps as a publicity move, in the late 1990s. While Charles Darrow cannot be given full credit for inventing the game alone, he is a kind of a folk hero to many, especially inventors trying to create the next great phase! Biggest lesson to learn, the first one to Patent and Trademark wins.
Atlantic City’s connection in the Monopoly game allowed for the nickname, “Monopoly City” and brought extra attention to the Jersey Shore, a popular vacation destination on the Atlantic Ocean. Monopoly landmarks, photos, and plaques are located around Atlantic City and are dedicated to the game and its “inventor” Charles Darrow. The city gladly embraces its Monopoly heritage, and perhaps some tourists include Atlantic City on their vacations simply because of the Monopoly Game connection. Unfortunately for Atlantic City, newer versions of the game have completely abandoned the once prestigious, New Jersey Shore Town.
The royalties from the sales of Monopoly made Darrow a multi millionaire. He retired at age 46 and lived the rest of his life in Bucks County, Pennsylvania about one hour from Atlantic City, enjoying a world travel and became a collector of exotic orchids. Many families may not be aware of the interesting history of the game Monopoly, but the game continues to be enjoyed from one generation to the next.
Monopoly Game Facts:
- The Monopoly Game Board consists of forty spaces; 28 properties (22 colored streets, 4 railroads and 2 utilities), 3 Chance spaces, 3 Community Chest spaces, a Luxury Tax space, an Income Tax space, and the 4 corner squares: GO, In Jail / Just Visiting, Free Parking, and go to Jail.
- Monopoly Railroad facts; Short Line is believed to refer to the Shore Fast Line, a streetcar line that served Atlantic City and Philadelphia. A booklet included in the 1935 edition states that the four railroads that served Atlantic City in the mid 1930s were the Jersey Central, the Seashore Lines, the Reading Railroad, and the Pennsylvania Railroad.
- The longest MONOPOLY® game ever played was 1,680 hours long, that is 70 straight days!
- Over 250 million sets of the MONOPOLY® game have been sold worldwide.
- The character locked behind the bars is called Jake the Jailbird. Officer Edgar Mallory sent him to jail.
- The total amount of money in a standard MONOPOLY® game is $15,140.
- In Cuba, the game had a strong following until Fidel Castro took power and ordered all known sets destroyed.
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Atlantic City Guy
+JJ Jackson I have lived and worked in Atlantic City my entire life. Currently a business owner in the heart of the tourism district, I enjoy writing about all kinds of events, history and things to do in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
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