A railroad once played an important role in the development of Ocean City. The railroad era began in 1876 and lasted for 57 years. It was the primary form of transportation as well as the major supply line for the resort before the automobile bridge opened in 1919.
During that period everything of substance was shipped into Ocean City by train including the lumber to build the Boardwalk and the hotels and much of the food sold on the Boardwalk. Both passenger and freight trains, pictured circa 1916, served Ocean City and most of the summer visitors who came to town arrived by train prior to the mid-1920s.
The “Railroad Era” ended abruptly on Aug. 23, 1933 when a hurricane destroyed the railroad bridge and much of the tracks. Neither the bridge or the trackers were ever rebuilt.
Photo courtesy Edward H. Nabb Research Center
The Kaye Hotel was built by Marie Kaye Kinnamon on the corner of 6th Street and the Boardwalk in 1927. Following her death and the subsequent sale of the property, the name was changed to The Hotel Normandy prior to the 1945 season — most likely to honor the D-Day landings in Normandy the previous summer. The Normandy catered to … Continue reading
James B. Caine (1922-2006) was one of Ocean City’s legendary figures and the man most responsible for the development of the northern part of town. He dredged and filled the marshlands along the bayside in the late 1960s and built lagoons and bulkheads which today give the uptown area much of its character. In the words of former Mayor Roland … Continue reading
The first bridge to carry automobile traffic into Ocean City was approved by the Maryland General Assembly in 1916 but did not officially open until July 4, 1919. Known to locals as the “State Roads Bridge,” it had a single lane in each direction. It crossed the Sinepuxent Bay at its most narrow point and entered Ocean City at Worcester … Continue reading
In the winter of 1893, Daniel B. Trimper arrived with his family from Baltimore and brought the first mechanical rides to Ocean City. His amusement complex would eventually include two hotels, game and food stands and numerous rides including a Ferris wheel. His first ride was a small hand-cranked carousel but within a few years he changed the Boardwalk forever … Continue reading
Postcards were a popular form of staying in touch with the folks back home in the days before cell phones and email made communication so easy. Many of the pictures that survive today of Ocean City in the early 20th Century were originally published as postcards. The comic postcard became popular during World War II and every gift shop along … Continue reading
Ocean City’s motel industry developed in the mid-1950s following the opening 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
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 … Continue reading
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