By the early 1980’s, the beach in Ocean City was in bad shape. The dunes had been leveled for oceanfront development and storms had washed away the beach until it was practically non-existent. By the summer of 1985, a disaster was just waiting to happen.
The disaster would be known to history as Hurricane Gloria and on Sept. 27 she struck Ocean City. The town was fortunate that the storm arrived on low tide but the damage was still widespread. Waves of over 15 feet destroyed the Boardwalk and tore stairs from condos and hotels on the oceanfront. Piers on the bayside were lost and the storm surge pushed sand and debris as far as Philadelphia Avenue.
Fortunately, there were no deaths or serious injuries (Mayor Fish Powell had ordered the town evacuated in advance) but Gloria left a positive legacy. The storm became the catalyst for the Beach Replenishment Project, which created the wide beaches we have today.
The photo features a vehicle washed into a lagoon on Sinepuxent Avenue between 135th and 136th streets next to the Sundowner Trailer Park as a result of Gloria.
File photo from The Dispatch
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 … Continue reading
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