Ocean City originally consisted of 50 acres between the Sinepuxent Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. The name Ocean City was chosen for the new town in August 1874 by the stockholders of the Atlantic Hotel Company and in 1875 the site was surveyed by Daniel G. Hudson while standing on the mainland.
The property was divided into 204 building lots with the east-west streets named after Eastern Shore counties beginning with Worcester Street and going to Caroline Street. The north-south avenues were named after cities — Baltimore, Philadelphia, and St. Louis — while what we know today as the Boardwalk was (and still is) officially designated as Atlantic Avenue.
The first hotel — the original Atlantic Hotel — opened on July 4th 1875 and a railroad bridge was completed across the Sinepuxent Bay in 1876. Both can be seen in this circa 1879 print.
Photo courtesy of Bob Stevens
By the early 1980’s, the beach in Ocean City was in bad shape. The dunes had been leveled for oceanfront development and storms had washed away the beach until it was practically non-existent. By the summer of 1985, a disaster was just waiting to happen. The disaster would be known to history as Hurricane Gloria and on Sept. 27 she … Continue reading
Between 1876 and 1933, trains brought passengers to Ocean City over a wooden trestle bridge across the Sinepuxent Bay. The original railroad station, pictured above, was located on Baltimore Avenue and South Division Street and served the town until a larger station was built on Philadelphia Avenue and Wicomico Street in 1903. In the years prior to the end of … Continue reading
Robert S. “Bob” Craig (1918-2009) began his career as a lifeguard with the Ocean City Beach Patrol in 1935 and served as captain from 1946 until his retirement in 1986. Captain Craig is credited by many with molding the Ocean City Beach Patrol into the professional organization it is today. He introduced semaphore to the patrol, hired the first female … Continue reading
The Coast Guard DUKW (pronounced “duck”) rescued many stranded Ocean City residents during the March Storm of 1962. The odd-looking vehicle played a major role in that storm due to a temporary inlet that had been carved north of 71st Street making Coastal Highway impassable in that area. Developed for use in World War II, the DUKW was an amphibious … Continue reading
Georgia native Jodie “Joe” Thrasher, Sr. came to Ocean City in 1930 to run a baseball pitching machine game in the Pier building. He didn’t begin his French fry stand until 1939 when he began cooking his fries in frying pans using cottonseed oil. When cottonseed oil became unavailable during World War II, Thrasher switched to peanut oil and when … Continue reading
The hurricane of Aug. 23, 1933 (hurricanes were not given names in that era) left a lasting reminder in Ocean City for that storm created the Inlet and brought about the sportfishing industry and opened the bayside to development. Without the Inlet, today’s charter fishing fleet, commercial harbor and bayside marinas would not exist. The hurricane of ’33 also ended … Continue reading
This candy dish from the old Plimhimmon Hotel is from the pre-World War I era. The large Boardwalk hotels, such as the Atlantic, the Hamilton and the Plimhimmon, prided themselves on their dining rooms and many ordered their china from manufacturers in Germany prior to the beginning of the war. Meals in that era were quite elaborate and guests dressed … Continue reading
Mario’s was one of Ocean City’s legendary restaurants. Opened in 1954 by Vera and Jack Maiorana on 22nd Street and Philadelphia Avenue, it served an extensive Italian menu as well as some of the best steaks in Ocean City. The carryout shop was home to delicious subs that people still talk about today. Mario’s was a favorite of Ocean City … Continue reading
The Alaska Stand was founded by Benjamin Givarz in 1933 on the Boardwalk at Wicomico Street. Not only did Mr. Givarz overcome economic problems associated with the Great Depression but also lost a prime week of the tourist season that year to the hurricane that created Ocean City’s Inlet. The Alaska Stand survived both to become a local icon. The … Continue reading