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 World War I, most visitors arrived in Ocean City by train. The automobile bridge was not completed until 1919 and horse drawn wagons and the few early motorized vehicles paid a toll to cross the railroad bridge on planks laid between the rails.
The railroad era came to a sudden halt on Aug. 23, 1933 when a hurricane destroyed the railroad bridge and carved the Inlet. The bridge was never repaired and train service to Ocean City faded into history.
Photo courtesy of the Ocean City Life Saving Station Museum
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
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