BERLIN — Behind the color and music of the 50th Anniversary yearlong celebration lies a history filled with interesting twists and turns. Ocean Pines, in its infant stage, was a small coastal development with unpaved streets and pine trees that outnumbered residents. Decades later, the hidden gem has grown in national significance, gracing the pages of popular publications like “Forbes Magazine.” The community’s historic journey to become a highly sought-after destination for year-round and seasonal residents takes center stage at a scheduled panel discussion this summer.
“Ocean Pines’ olden days are both fascinating and enthralling for history-hungry folks,” said Ocean Pines Marketing and Public Relations Director Denise Sawyer. “The golden anniversary has sparked ‘Pines pride’ and a collective effort to preserve the community’s rich history.”
To understand the community’s growth, it is necessary to understand the roots of Ocean Pines itself, going back to 1968.
Construction started on the first phase of Ocean Pines on July 12, 1968, a date that is currently circled in Sawyer’s calendar. In commemoration of this day, the Ocean Pines 50th Anniversary Committee will host a panel discussion, titled “Timeless Tides: The Ocean Pines History Panel,” at 3 p.m. on Thursday, July 12, in the Assateague Room of the Ocean Pines Community Center.
The panel will feature residents who will discuss the evolution of Ocean Pines. The panel’s mission is to assist the community in preserving and honoring early developers and families of Ocean Pines. In support of that mission, the Anniversary Committee strives to provide Ocean Pines residents and nonresidents with an appreciation of the growth of the community and ensure the legacy of Ocean Pines endures for future generations.
“We hope that lots of people will come by and participate on July 12,” said Jennifer Cropper-Rines, chairperson of the Ocean Pines 50th Anniversary Committee. “July 12 marks the date in 1968 that the lot sales began. The entire sales team met for the first time and the following day Boise Cascade started bringing in potential buyers. It should be very interesting to hear about those days.”
Panelists include John Talbott, a member of the original Boise Cascade sales team and “community-proclaimed” historian; Edie Brennan, the first female sales associate for Boise Cascade in Ocean Pines and active member of the board of directors for the Ocean Pines Players Community Theater Group; Tim McMullen, who founded the Ocean Pines summer youth program in 1974 with his late wife; Ginny Reister, the founder of the Ocean Pines Hammerheads swim team in 1975; Marty Groff, a lot salesman for Boise Cascade who went on to start his own real estate and construction company in 1979 that has built more than 1,000 homes in the area; and Marlene Ott, an associate broker at Shamrock Realty with more than 35 years of experience in Ocean Pines and one of the first residents of Ocean Pines.
The panel will be moderated by Dan O’Hare, who is believed to be the first resident child born in Ocean Pines. The opening remarks will be presented by Cropper-Rines.
The Ocean Pines Association will video-record the oral histories of Ocean Pines that will be presented at the panel discussion and included in a time capsule that will buried at White Horse Park on Saturday, Aug. 12.
The Association will donate the unedited footage to the Worcester County Library – Ocean Pines Branch and make the recordings accessible on its website, www.oceanpines.org, in the coming months.
The event is free and open to the public. The Anniversary Committee encourages attendees to bring their questions for the panel.
“The 50th Anniversary of Ocean Pines has been so important and interesting,” said Cropper-Rines. “It’s my goal as the chairperson of the committee to both share information today and preserve information for future residents.”