Baltimore Avenue was Ocean City’s “Main Street” when this postcard was printed circa 1920. This view looks north from Wicomico Street and includes some of the town’s most historic structures.
The building in the left foreground is the Seaside Hotel (built in 1876) and beyond it with the tall brick smokestack is the electric power plant. In the right foreground is the original Atlantic Hotel. This was the first hotel built in Ocean City and its opening on July 4, 1875, is considered by many as the resort’s official birthday.
All of these buildings along with two blocks of the Boardwalk were destroyed in a huge fire that began in the early morning of Dec. 29, 1925.
Postcard from Bunk Mann’s Collection
Ocean City has suffered many devastating fires in its history, but none worse than “The Great Fire of 1925.” The fire began in the Power Plant on Baltimore Avenue around 7:30 a.m. and spread through several blocks of the downtown area on De. 29. The severe cold made firefighting difficult and water was drafted from holes cut in the ice … Continue reading
The Shoreham Hotel on the corner of 4th Street and the Boardwalk was built in 1922. At the time of its construction, it was the tallest building in Ocean City and remained so until surpassed by the George Washington Hotel on 10th Street in 1931. The Shoreham was similar to the other Boardwalk hotels of that era with a big … Continue reading
The March Storm of ’62 was the worst natural disaster in Ocean City’s history. Not a hurricane but a “Nor’easter,” it cost two local men their lives. The property damage – particularly in the northern section of the beach – was enormous and the Boardwalk was destroyed. So much sand was washed into the streets that it took over a … Continue reading
Much like the rise of the motel in the 1950s, the growth of condominiums in the 1970s changed the look and lifestyle of Ocean City. The first high-rise condo — the High Point South — was built by John Whaley in 1970 and within three years a stretch of beach in North Ocean City had become known as the “Gold … Continue reading
The Ocean City Beach Patrol posed at Caroline Street in 1947 with their new torpedo-style life buoys. The Beach Patrol had returned to full force in 1946 following World War II and Bob Craig, center front, was appointed captain. He would continue in that position until 1987, a record of service unlikely to ever be broken. The buildings in the … Continue reading
Ocean City in 1915 was a small village with about 600 residents. Most of the men worked as commercial fishermen or on the railroad while the women managed the hotels and boarding houses. The tourist season ran from mid-June to Labor Day and there was no off-season. The hotels closed after Labor Day and the tourists went home — most … Continue reading
Many young Ocean City boys got their start in business selling newspapers in the years before CNN, Fox News and the Internet brought instant reporting to anyone with a television or smart phone. The cry of newsboys hawking their paper is a favorite memory of that long-age era. Baltimore papers, such as The Sun and the News-American, and Washington papers, … Continue reading
The Commander Hotel was built by the Lynch family in 1930. Located at 14th Street, it was the northernmost hotel on the Boardwalk until Harrison Hall was built in 1951. In the years before the Convention Hall, the Commander hosted many small conventions. The Commander was considered one of Ocean City’s most elite hotels and was famous for its dining … Continue reading
Phillips Crab House began as a small seafood carryout on the corner of Philadelphia Avenue and 21st Street in 1956 and quickly expanded to become one of Ocean City’s most popular restaurants. There was no more prestigious summer job for a girl in the 1960s and early 1970s than to be a waitress at Phillips. The prospective servers were handpicked … Continue reading