Ocean City’s motel industry developed in the mid-1950s following the opening of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and the desire of young families for lodging that was casual, inexpensive and that offered easy on-site parking. Within a decade, the vacant land between 15th and 33rd streets became known as “Motel Row.”
Motel Row grew from a few initial motels — the Sea Scape (1954), the Surf and Sands (1955), the Santa Maria (1956) and the Stowaway (1956) — to over two dozen by 1965. In the 1960s, everyone wanted to stay on “the row.”
The growth of the population in that area also enhanced the customer base of the restaurant industry and such storied restaurants as Mario’s, Phillips Crab House, the Captain’s Table and The Embers became household names during that era. Ocean City had entered a new and excited period in its history.
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Photo from 1955 courtesy Mike Quillin