Ocean City was a much smaller town a century ago. People came by both train and cars to stay at the Boardwalk hotels and boarding houses — there were no motels in those days — and dressed up to eat in the hotel dining rooms. It would have created a scandal had anyone shown up for a meal in a bathing suit; they would have quickly been asked to leave.
The Boardwalk was raised several feet above the narrow beach of that time and on hot days people would seek shade under it. There was no Beach Patrol (lifeguards) until 1930 but the U.S. Coast Guard would watch swimmers from a small tower (see above) on Caroline Street, the main “bathing beach” in those days. There was no Inlet prior to 1933 and thus no charter fishing industry. The Fishing Pier on Wicomico Street was the only access to ocean fishing and many anglers fished there for a daily fee of 10 cents. The original Pier building burned down in a huge fire in 1925 that also destroyed several hotels and the town’s power plant.
To purchase one of Bunk Mann’s books, click over to www.vanishingoc.com.
Photo courtesy of Ron Thomas