In the 1950s, a new town known as Ocean Beach was being promoted on the northern end of Assateague Island about five miles south of Ocean City.
The development faced several problems, however, including access — there was no bridge to Assateague in those days and the small ferry could only carry three cars. Another problem was the situation with mosquitoes and greenhead flies on a west wind that could make life unbearable.
At its peak, Ocean Beach boasted several miles of paved roads with street signs and power lines in place. By 1961, several hundred lots had been sold and at least 40 homes had been built. This all ended abruptly when a powerful storm in March 1962 left most of the lots under water and destroyed much of the infrastructure. The development of Assateague ended forever when President Lyndon Johnson signed a bill on Sept. 21, 1965 making Assateague a “national seashore.”
Today wild ponies graze on the remnants of Ocean Beach.
To purchase one of Bunk Mann’s books, click over to www.vanishingoc.com.
National Park Service photo courtesy Allen Sklar