John Dale Showell, Jr. built Ocean City’s first swimming pool in 1917. Located on the Boardwalk between N. Division and Caroline streets, it was a salt water pool with water pumped in from the ocean.
Showell charged 25 cents to swim in the pool and cleaned it once a week, refilling it at night. The beach was very narrow in those days and at high tides the ocean came within 20 yards of the Boardwalk. It did not take a long pipeline to connect the pool with its water supply.
The Hurricane of 1933 heavily damaged Showell’s pool and the following year Edwards 5 and 10 was constructed on the site. The remains of the famous salt water swimming pool were boarded over and it faded into Ocean City’s unique history.
Postcard photo from Bunk Mann’s collection
The Breakers Hotel was built circa 1904 on the southwest corner of 3rd Street and the Boardwalk and at the time was one of the northernmost hotels in Ocean City. The Breakers, like most of the hotels of the era, operated on the American Plan (meals included with room) and did so up into the early 1950s. At its peak, … Continue reading
The Saute Cafe was a popular restaurant in rapidly growing north Ocean City in the early 1980′s. Located at 123rd Street and Coastal Highway, the Saute Cafe had developed a loyal following among both locals and numerous condominium owners in that section of town. Tragedy struck on July 16, 1983 when a fire broke out shortly after 6 a.m. In … Continue reading
Eighty years ago, Ocean City’s Boardwalk extended from the Inlet to 15th Street, a total of 25 blocks. Beyond the Boardwalk was a nearly unbroken vista of sand dunes stretching north to the Delaware line. Today only one block on the entire Boardwalk retains the same buildings from that long ago pre-World War II era — the section between 10th … Continue reading
Fager’s Island was the first bar and restaurant on the bayside in what was then the growing midtown area of Ocean City in 1975. John Fager changed the look of the typical local bar scene by adding large glass windows and a magnificent view of the Assawoman Bay at sunset. He combined good music and fine food with a relaxed … Continue reading
The hurricane of Aug. 23, 1933, was the single most important event in the history of Ocean City. It created the Inlet, separated Assateague from Ocean City and ended the pound fishing and railroad eras forever. The creation of the Inlet made possible the commercial harbor and brought about the emergence of the sports fishing industry. Without the Inlet, today’s … Continue reading
The Jolly Roger Amusement Park began in 1963 as an Arnold Palmer Miniature Golf Course and Driving Range. At that time, the city limits ended at 41st Street and the area along the bayside at 30th Street was considered “way up the beach.” Owner Charles “Buddy” Jenkins added kiddie rides the next summer (including a train and a small roller … Continue reading
In the 1950s, a new town known as Ocean Beach was being promoted on the northern end of Assateague Island about five miles south of Ocean City. The development faced several problems, however, including access — there was no bridge to Assateague in those days and the small ferry could only carry three cars. Another problem was the situation with … Continue reading
Jackson’s Casino and the George Washington Hotel were popular locations during World War II. Jackson’s with its live entertainment and slot machines was Ocean City’s favorite nightclub, while the George Washington was the town’s tallest building and featured a ballroom on its top floor. Located on the Boardwalk between 9th and 10th streets, both were Ocean City landmarks. Jackson’s became … Continue reading
Ocean City has had its share of colorful characters over the years. The blind musicians Tex, with his 10-gallon hat, and Shorty, with his banjo and dog Mandy; “Pop” Wendling with over 200 Popeye tattoos and his novelty joke shop; and Boardwalk Elvis (now an icon in Ocean Pines) were just a few of the folks who made memories for … Continue reading