1962 was a historic year for Ocean City. It marked the beginning of the luxury hotel/motel era, signaled the swan song of the old wooden Boardwalk hotels, and saw the greatest storm to ever hit the town.
The city limits ended at 41st Street in 1962 and much of the land north of there was sparsely developed with mostly small cottages. In the area of 118th Street, a Washington, DC insider named Bobby Baker was building a luxury motel named the Carousel. Scheduled to open Memorial Day weekend, the Carousel was ravaged by a storm which began on March 6th and devastated the beach; it delayed the motel’s opening until July.
This storm was a turning point in the town’s growth for despite the unprecedented damage, its effects would be far-reaching. In less than three years the cheap land values brought about by the Nor’easter had led to the annexation of city limits to the Delaware line.
A huge fire at the old Plimhimmon Hotel on Nov. 21 foreshadowed the end of the dominance of the old frame Boardwalk hotels. Within 10 years, motels would cover much of the oceanfront north of 15th Street and high-rise condominiums would line the beach in north Ocean City. Modern Ocean City had its beginnings in the events of 1962.
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Photo courtesy Wayne Cannon