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 combined with Idaho potatoes and deep-fat fryers, the result was legendary.
Today Thrasher’s Fries is one of Ocean City’s most famous and recognizable institutions, but few know that it started 85 years ago with a pitching machine game on the Boardwalk.
Photo courtesy of Jodie “Joe” Thrasher, Jr.
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
Ocean City’s motel industry developed in the mid-1950s following the openings of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and the desire of young families for lodging that was casual, inexpensive and that offered easy on-site parking. Within a decade, the vacant land between 15th and 33rd streets became known as “Motel Row.” Motel Row grew from a few initial motels — the … Continue reading
There have been some unique advertising devices that have called attention to Ocean City’s attractions over the years. Some of today’s most popular include Ripley’s shark in the pier building on Wicomico Street, the big pirate at Jolly Roger Amusement Park and the Batmobile parking beside Ocean Gallery on 2nd Street. One of the most famous landmarks was the giant … Continue reading
Eugenia’s Guest House was located on the Boardwalk between 5th and 6th streets and included a gift shop as well as rooms and apartments. When the building was damaged in the March Storm of 1962, owner Eugenia Palmisano took out a renovation loan using both the cottage and a 50-foot boat as collateral. She sold the building in 1966 and … Continue reading
Norman Webb, better known as Boardwalk Elvis, is an Ocean City icon. One of the town’s most popular and recognizable personalities, Webb began walking on the Boardwalk in the mid-1960s with a huge boom box on his shoulder, which he later changed to a cassette player. He began dressing like Elvis Presley in the 1970s and became so popular that … Continue reading
The Paddock was one of Ocean City’s most popular nightclubs for 60 years. Built by Gabby Mancini, Sr. on the corner of 18th Street and Philadelphia Avenue in 1953, it featured live entertainment. The Saturday afternoon jam sessions were legendary and drew crowds to what in that era was considered “way up the beach.” The original building was partially destroyed … Continue reading