National Register of Historic Places


Atlantic City Mercantile

Atlantic City

Date Added to Register

Thursday, April 25, 1985

Smithsonian Number

48FR2274

Read all about it

The Atlantic City Mercantile, constructed in 1893, is one of the oldest buildings in the Atlantic City area and is a well-known landmark in the South Pass region. Atlantic City was a gold mining town. Even though the first indications that gold existed in the South Pass region occurred in the 1840s, no one filed a claim in the area until 1867. When this mine immediately began to produce significant amounts of gold, the rush to South Pass began. South Pass City was founded that year, and Atlantic City and Miners Delight were built in 1868. Approximately 3000 people lived in the area by 1869. By 1872, the gold mining boom had ended and Atlantic City was nearly deserted. Over the next one hundred years, the town experienced several mining booms, although none approached the 1867-68 rush. Throughout these years of fluctuating populations, the town merchants were a force of economic and social stability. They provided all the basic necessities to a small isolated town, and their establishments represented a social center for the local citizens. Lawrence Giessler's Atlantic City Mercantile reflected these traits more than other store or business from the 1890s to 1929. The Mercantile was the economic and social center of the town until 1929 when the store closed. The Giessler family utilized the Mercantile to provide many necessary community services. In addition to selling basic goods, the family operated the post office during the 1910s and 1920s. Giessler also helped finance and managed the town's first telephone company in the early years of the twentieth century. After Giessler's death the store remained closed until 1964 when a local steelworker bought the building from Giessler's descendants and reopened it as a beer tavern and a spring water concession. The Mercantile has endured as the economic and social center of Atlantic City under a series of owners since then.

Department of State Parks & Cultural Resources