Ocean City’s first hotel was built by the Atlantic Hotel Company on the beach between Wicomico and Somerset streets. There was no bridge from the mainland at that time so all construction materials were floated across the Sinepuxent Bay on flat bottom scows and small boats. The grand opening of the Atlantic Hotel on July 4, 1875 is considered to be the founding date of Ocean City.
The hotel was built on pilings above the sand and contained 112 bedrooms. Guests slept in rooms that would be considered small by today’s standards and there was no electricity or indoor plumbing. In spite of this the Atlantic Hotel was an imposing structure for its time. The original Atlantic Hotel burned to the ground on Dec. 29, 1925 but was rebuilt and continues to rent rooms to summer visitors today.
Postcard image from 1906 courtesy of Bunk Mann’s collection
The Rideau was a popular Ocean City hotel for over 70 years and was famous for having the longest porch on the Boardwalk. Originally an early 1900s combination of three adjoining Victorian era boarding houses known as the Virginia, the Rideau and the Linmar, the hotel underwent a series of sectional rebuildings and renovations following World War II. The Rideau … Continue reading
The Ship Café was an Ocean City landmark for nearly 40 years. Constructed in the late 1930s as the Ocean City Yacht Club and designed to resemble a ship, its marina was used by the Coast Guard during World War II. Located on the bay at 14th Street, the Ship Café became one of the town’s most popular restaurants following … Continue reading
The cost of goods and services in the post-World War I era was far different than today. W.P. Laws opened his grocery store on Baltimore Avenue in 1919 and sold sirloin steak for 15 cents a pound, ham for 16 cents and scrapple for 10 cents a pound. A fresh loaf of bread could be purchased for a nickel. There … Continue reading
The Purnell was a small hotel located on the Boardwalk between 2nd and 3rd streets. Originally known as “Wetipquin Hall.” it had been built by Sarah Harriet Dashiell in 1909 with the name of her late husband’s hometown of Wetipquin, Md. The hotel was renamed “The Purnell” in 1942 after being purchased by Essie C. Purnell and continued with that … Continue reading
The Ship Shape Apartments were located on the bayside of Coastal Highway at 61st Street. Owned by Mr. and Mrs. Gerald Truitt, they were seasonal — Memorial Day to Labor Day — as were most vacation rentals in the 1950’s and early 60’s. Designed to resemble a boat, the Ship Shape Apartments were considered far “up the beach” in the … Continue reading
The Ocean City Bandstand was built on the Boardwalk at Somerset Street in the early 1950’s. At the time, Ocean City had its own band comprised of local musicians and concerts were very popular in the summer evenings. The Bandstand was also the site of the annual Easter Parade where prizes were awarded to the best dressed families and civic … Continue reading
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 … Continue reading
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