Ocean City looked much different in this aerial photo taken in 1946 between 14th and 15th streets.
The large building in the center was the original Commander Hotel before its second wing was added and the vacant space to its left is today the site of the Beach Plaza Hotel and its adjoining parking lot. The building to the left of and behind the Commander was the old “Catholic Home” — originally the St. Rose’s Summer Home for Orphans built in 1898. The Boardwalk ended at 15th Street where Harrison Hall would be built in 1951. The long black structures leading into the ocean were wooden jetties intended to stabilize the beach from erosion.
The most noticeable change is the look of the bayside, which was almost completely empty of development in 1946.
Photo courtesy the Ocean City Lifesaving Station Museum form the George and Sue Hurley collection
Fashions in the 1890’s and early 1900’s were far more formal than what can be seen in Ocean City today. In that era, people dressed up to stroll on the Boardwalk. Men wore hats and suits — or at least a coat and tie — and women wore long skirts, fancy hats and long sleeved blouses. Many of the ladies … Continue reading
The Seaview was constructed in the World War I era on the Boardwalk between 3rd and 4th streets. More of a boarding house than a full service hotel, the Seaview offered both rooms and apartments to summer guests. The frame three-story building was built on pilings and survived many storms including the famous March Storm of 1962. The Seaview was … Continue reading
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 … Continue reading
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