For many years, the only way to cross the Chesapeake Bay was by ferry. The ferries ran from Sandy Point near Annapolis to the Matapeake State Park on Kent Island (and before that from Annapolis to Claiborne in Talbot County). Cars were loaded bumper to bumper and it took slightly less than an hour to make the crossing. Including the waiting time to board and lack of dual highways on much of the Eastern Shore, it could take five or six hours to get to Ocean City from Baltimore or Washington, D.C.
The opening of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge on July 30, 1952 put an end to the ferries and became one of the most important events in Ocean City’s history. Quick and easy access to the beach via the new bridge did more than any single thing to increase tourism in Ocean City.
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Photo courtesy John Hurlock from spring of 1952