Local kids used to earn spending money for the pinball arcades and Boardwalk rides by selling seashells on the Boardwalk. Conch shells were the best sellers and were found on Assateague before the Verrazano Bridge made public access to the island easy in 1962. Comic books, handmade jewelry and “shark strings,” which were woven string ankle bracelets that claimed to ward off shark attacks, were other items sold by kids at the shell stands.
The seashell stands were fun and many a child — including the writer of this article — had their first business experience hawking shells to tourists in the early evenings. Sadly, the cry of “shells for sale” is no longer heard on the Boardwalk. In the mid-1990s, a handful of merchants protested that the kids were infringing on their business and seashell sales were banned by city ordinance.
Photo courtesy of Ginny Hanna Brassel
In 1878, the U.S. Life Saving Service opened a small station on Caroline Street in the tiny village of Ocean City. There was no Boardwalk or Inlet in those days and fewer than 50 year-round residents in the whole town. In 1891, the station was replaced with a larger 2 ½-story building that is now located at the Inlet where … Continue reading
Dr. Francis J. Townsend, Sr. was Ocean City’s first physician, serving the town’s medical needs from 1900 until his death in 1945. In an era when babies were born at home and the nearest hospital was 30 miles away, Dr. Townsend would ride his bicycle up and down the Boardwalk to call on his patients. It is reported that he … Continue reading
This week marks the 85th Anniversary of the 1930 opening of Ocean City’s famous Commander Hotel. Built by Minnie Brittingham Lynch, her son John and his wife Ruth, the Commander was the northernmost Boardwalk hotel for over two decades. The original building (pictured in 1934) contained 62 rooms and boasted the first elevator in Ocean City. A second wing was … Continue reading
A popular form of fishing that is affordable for the average fisherman is on a party boat or “head boat” (so-called because there is a flat charge per angler or “per head.”) These boats provide rods, reels and bait and a mate to untangle lines and help bring fish aboard. One of the most famous was the “Question Mark,” which … Continue reading
The George Washington Hotel opened in June 1931 on the corner of 10th Street and the Boardwalk in what was then the northern section of Ocean City. At the time of construction, it was the tallest building in town and would remain so until 1970 when the High Point South condominium was built far up the beach on the Gold … Continue reading
Ocean City’s original Pier building was completed in 1907 on the Boardwalk at Wicomico Street. In addition to shops and a dancing pavilion, it also featured a theatre and several refreshment stands. It was also the entrance to the Ocean City Fishing Pier. The building was raised 10 feet above the beach and built on wooden pilings. Part of it … Continue reading
The Plimhimmon was built in 1894 by Rosalie Tilghman Shreve. Located on the Boardwalk between 1st and 2nd streets, it was considered one of Ocean City’s finest hotels of that era. Noted for an excellent dining room, the Plimhimmon catered to an upscale clientele and in the years prior to World War I was famous for its dancing pavilion where … Continue reading
The Dinner Bell was a popular Ocean City restaurant in the years following World War II. Located on the southeast corner of 3rd Street and Baltimore Avenue in the Monticello Hotel, it served homestyle cooking with an Eastern Shore flavor. Many still remember their delicious fresh baked rolls and fried chicken. The waitresses lived in a dormitory style room at … Continue reading
This historic picture depicts the birth of the current Inlet in August of 1933. The railroad tracks are visible as are the fish camps where the pound fishermen lived and worked prior to the Aug. 23 hurricane, which occurred prior to storms being named. Although the town suffered some serious property damage, there were no fatalities and the storm turned … Continue reading