The game of Monopoly has represented part of Americana and been a family favorite for decades – since 1935. Almost everyone has spent a Sunday afternoon trying to become a millionaire. It was always exciting when the money was passed out by the banker to start the game – for a few hours, we would gamble on hitting it rich. The street squares on the game were named after the streets and the famous Boardwalk of Atlantic City, New Jersey. In those days, Atlantic City had no casinos, just the big Boardwalk. Not all of the squares were streets – some were railroads. With time and patience, you were a sure bet to become a tycoon with steady income from the rights to Reading, Pennsylvania, B&O and Short Line Railroads. Did you known that these were working railroads at one time? The square for the Community Chest was an actual charitable organization – in the 1950s they would have Community Chest Charity drives in the schools and everyone would give their pennies, nickels and dimes, and in return they would receive a red feather to pin on their clothes. Do you know the original name of the little millionaire on the Monopoly game? In 1937, Parker Bros. named him Rich Uncle Pennybags. Back then, bags of pennies were worth much more than today. As the name became antiquated, he was given a new one – Mr. Monopoly. The tokens have changed throughout the decades, too. When Parker Bros. first came out with Monopoly there were six tokens: cannon, iron, ship, shoe, thimble and top hat. Later, deluxe editions added the car, lantern, purse and rocking horse. When metal became too costly, the tokens were made of wood. After WWII, the tokens were again made of metal and new tokens were added, including the dog, the horse and rider, wheelbarrow and an airplane. Recently, it was announced that a new token, a cat, would replace the flat iron. Why remove the flat iron? Because most children of the 21st century would not even know what one is. But, no matter how much the tokens change, the fun and competitiveness of the game never does. If you have not played Monopoly in a while, might I suggest that you get it out and have some fun with your family – and, for a few hours, relive the past!
SharLeigh has an inquisitive nature – she is interested in current events, history, science and many more subjects, including things that go bump in the night! Since 1997, SharLeigh has scoured the internet, looking for interesting, fun and timely topics covering all sorts of human-interest subjects for her articles from her home in Fontana, CA.