Historic Gardner's Basin


Marker is located in Gardner's Basin by the Back Bay Ale House

Marker text:
Historic Gardner's Basin

Established July 9, 1976

The original membership who charted the course and had the vision and confidence to preserve the tradition of the sea in the restoration of Historic Gardner's Basin in Atlantic City, New Jersey:

[list of names follows]

Additional information:
In addition to its history as a center for entertainment, Atlantic City also possesses a rich maritime culture. The area of the city known as Gardner's Basin was for years the site of a shipbuilding industry on the island. A unique type of craft known as the "Jersey whaleboat" was constructed there. The location of Atlantic City's Coast Guard base, Gardner's Basin was also the site of many exciting rum-running chases during the Prohibition years. Further back, some tales even existed of pirates using the area as a hideout in the 1700s, long before residents came to live on Absecon Island. Gardner's Basin got its name when it first appeared on Atlantic City maps in 1895, after the marshy area surrounding it was filled in to create more potential real estate. It was named for John H. Gardner, a former mayor of the city. Following this, Gardner's Basin became the setting off point for many fishing excursions for tourists.

In the 1970s, seeing the changing state of the city around them, a group formed with the intent to preserve Atlantic City's lesser-known fishing village history. Out of this was born what was christened "Historic Gardner's Basin," an attraction featuring docked ships to explore, a sculpture garden, and many of the city's older houses, which were moved to the Basin and restored. Thus, Gardner's Basin today is home to some of the oldest structures in Atlantic City. Gardner's Basin also featured a small ocean life center, which evolved into the present-day Atlantic City Aquarium. Today, Gardner's Basin and the urban renewal of the Inlet section serve as a testament to the fact that Atlantic City entertainment and history extend past the Boardwalk.

The area near this plaque also features a mounted bell dedicated to those lost at sea. The memorial specifically names lost shipmates L. Edison Mathis, George Bessmer, Nicholas J. Hober, Frederick Fisher and Michael Ewing.


The plaques affixed to the Lost Shipmates Bell.

For more information, see:
McMahon, William: "Historic Gardner's Basin"

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