Former Adolfo’s Building Downtown Razed

OCEAN CITY — A historic Ocean City landmark near the Inlet was unceremoniously torn down this week after an investigation revealed it was not as old as first believed.

The old house, most recently home to Adolfo’s Restaurant, on a site adjacent to the Oceanic Motel near the Inlet, was torn down this week after outliving its useful purpose. The old house turned Italian restaurant was first believed to be one of the oldest buildings in Ocean City and the site of the town’s first Episcopal church back in the 1880s during the first few years of the resort. However, it was later determined the building, while still old and likely dating back to the 1920s, was not the original church.

Adolfo’s Restaurant occupied the building for 25 years before moving into a new location at the Beach Plaza Hotel on the Boardwalk between 12th and 13th streets, leaving the future of the charming old house it once occupied near the Inlet in doubt.

“At one point, it was widely believed the old Adolfo’s location was one of the oldest buildings in Ocean City and the site of the town’s first Episcopal church way back in 1881,” said Ocean City Development Corporation (OCDC) Executive Director Glenn Irwin this week. “As it turned out, the St. Paul’s Episcopal Church had moved up to its 3rd Street location around the turn of the century and the house that occupied that space until it was torn down this week was likely built in the 1920s. The building was still historic, but it was in pretty poor shape and had to come down.”

Irwin said the Harrison Group purchased the property as part of a large acquisition a few months ago and decided the old building had outlived its usefulness. The new owners plan to clear the demolished property and use it as parking in the short term. The Harrison Group confirmed that plan this week and said there was no long-term plan in place for the site.

The St. Paul’s-by-the-Sea Episcopal Church originally occupied the site with a small mission church built in 1881 near the old Congress Hall Hotel, which was on the site of the current Inlet. In fact, the first Episcopal church services were held in the Congress Hall Hotel in 1978 before the church was built on the Adolfo’s site in 1881. In 1898, two lots further up the beach at 3rd Street were donated to the fledgling congregation and became the site of the current St. Paul’s-by-the-Sea church. The cornerstone for the new church was set in place in June 1900.