From what little research I’ve done today, I’ve learned that the game “Monopoly” was first marketed by Parker Brothers on November 5, 1935 (wiki) about 70 years ago.
What I’d like to know is if there has been any revisions to the names of the streets used in the UK & US versions since then or revisions concerning the value of properties.
For example are Park Lane and Park Place still expensive areas to buy property?
Have Mediterranian Avenue and Old Kent Road become better places to live?
For those interested, I found a site here linking to a paper that suggests an update to the French (Paris) version which some fancy Flash gfx showing the streets that the author be added/removed.
As far as I know, the prices and rents are unchanged since the game came out. Boardwalk has always cost $400 and Illinois rents have always been $20. Inflation has eroded the correlation with real life costs but on the plus side, when us oldsters play the game we don’t have to even ask how much the rents are.
I don’t recall specifics, but there are places along some of those streets in Atlantic City, especially if they are not near the boardwalk, that from the looks of things would definitely NOT be expensive real estate. I can’t remember how the streets are exactly; I just seem to remember that a few of the more expensive ones in the game run through some pretty crummy areas, even if they also are in better areas.
Several years ago, when my kids were much younger, we went to Atlantic City with some friends. Obviously, the Boardwalk was the most expensive area of town where all the casinos and fancy hotels were located.
We drove around looking for someplace cheap (or free) to park and wound up on Baltic Avenue. Imagine, if you will, two couples, each pushing a double stroller with two small girls in it. We were going along the sidewalk when about three police cars pull up and the cops get out with guns drawn pointing towards the block of apartments. In the apartments a group of individuals pulled out their guns and aimed back at the cops. We were right in the middle.
To say that we quickened our pace would be a great understatement. After running for about 50 yards we finally slowed down, and my daughter said, “Do that again, Daddy.”
To answer the OP, Baltic Avenue is still the low-rent district.
There was an article about exactly this in last Monday’s Newark Star-Ledger, complete with a color map of Atlantic City showing the streets. As N.J. residents have long known, the names of the streets came from Atlantic City. I was unaware that some of these streets no longer exist, having been swallowed up by recent casino-building. The fortunes of streets have changed. Although I suspect that Boardwalk and Park Place are still the high-rent district, I suspect that a lot of the intermediate areas have come down in the world (only a block from the beach,. AC becomes a rundown and scary place). Baltic and Mediterranean were apparently the places where a lot of the colored help lived, which explains their low-rent status on the old Board. I’ll bet that hasn’t changed (it’s been a while since I’ve visited AC).
To my surprise, the name “Marvin Gardens” has always been misspelled. It’s “Marven” gardens, a made-up name from “Margate” and “Ventnor” (Still the name of another of the Monopoly properties). They wrote it wrong on the first edition, and it was never fixed.
Two of the railroads did run to AC. The B&O didn’t, and the “Short Line” doesn’t exist.
Here’s an abbreviated on-line version of the article, sadly without the color map:
The entire city of Atlantic City is basically a slum now, save for the casinos which primarily hug the Boardwalk.
When the game was invented (it was actually a minor variation on an old Friends [Quakers] game, PB did not invent it), AC was a family resort which drew national entertainers with an actual middle class. Sadly, no more.
The train station buildings for the two lines running to AC that did exist are still here: the Pennsylvania Railroad building is at 16th St. & JFK Blvd, and there are still train platforms in the basement, these days for regional commuter rail lines.
Reading Terminal at 12th & Market Sts. is now part of the Pennsylvania Conventional Center as well as serving as another regional rail stop and housing, since 1892, the Reading Terminal Market.
When I was a tour guide here I told people that they could pretend they were buying those buidlings the next time they played Monopoly.
There is actually a book out about Monopoly and its links to Atlantic City. It’s called Monopoly: The Story Behind the World’s Best-Selling Game by Rod Kennedy Jr., Jim Waltzer, and the Atlantic City Historical Museum. It points out that Monopoly’s gameplay and Atlantic City’s history are unintentionally similar. (Atlantic City, originally founded as a healthful getaway from Philadelphia, was the site of a lot of monopolizing by railroads and hotels.) However, the book does not tell about the modern-day incarnations of the streets; it tells what they were like in the Golden Age when Monopoly was invented (and illustrated with vintage postcards). However, it does mention the following:
-The B&O railroad never stopped in Atlantic City, and the Short Line didn’t exist (it is my understanding that it’s actually a bus line)
-States and St. Charles Avenues, two of the light purple properties, have been swallowed up by casino space
-The red properties (Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky) are the most landed on in the game, and in real life were home to hot jazz and gangster business (illegal gambling, bootleg hootch, etc.)
-The prestige of the streets in the old days was pretty much in the order as the Monopoly board puts it
-Like I said, gangsters often called Atlantic City home in the roaring twenties (I know there’s no gangsters in Monopoly, but it’s still pretty interesting)
-Towards the end of his life, John Philip Sousa often played concerts in Atlantic City (he’s not in Monopoly either, but he’s still interesting too)
-Charles Darrow’s original Monopoly board was round, not square
Anyone who thinks “there’s no gangsters in Monopoly” never played it against my sisters, the crime cartel of the Boardwalk. They could start a game of Monopoly in our living room and end up winning the next-door neighbors’ game of Risk just through their ravenous acquisitive instincts.
The irish version (dublin street names) is definitely out of whack. While the purples and greens are still very upmarket (shrewsbury road, grafton st, wiclow st etc), some of the yellows, reds and oranges (talbot st, store st, I don’t even know where washington st is!) are a bit ropey.
Also, the pinks (nassau st, merrion st, dawson st) are very upmarket… even the blues (rathgar road, rathmines road and part of the south circular road) are pretty flash. Even the lowest rent properties (kimmage and crumlin, areas rather than streets) are now fairly respectable.
As with london, most of these streets are not residential.