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 the Boardwalk carried a large selection.
Most feature attractive young women in bathing suits pursued by an assortment of old, bald, fat and lecherous men. Postcards sold for a nickel and postage was only 2 cents. It was an inexpensive way to say “wish you were here.” The comic postcard era ended by the mid-1950s but thousands of cards were mailed from Ocean City while the fad lasted.
Postcard from Bunk Mann’s collection
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
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