Ocean City’s first hotels were located in what today is the area from S. Division Street to 3rd Street. The original Atlantic (1875), Seaside (1877), Congress Hall (1878) and the Plimhimmon (1895) were famous in their time but all are gone now, lost to fires over the years.
Lumber for the old hotels was milled in Salisbury and transferred by barges across the Sinpuxent Bay where it was carried to the building sites by horse-drawn wagons. Most of those early structures were covered by cedar shake siding and much of downtown Ocean City contained cedar shake well into the 1970s.
Rooms in the early hotels were small and had few of the comforts that we enjoy today. Each contained a bed, a pitcher and wash bowl and a chamber pot for nature’s needs. Some featured a common bathroom on each floor, but private baths were still in the future.
An amenity most welcomed in hotels of that age was a big front porch with rocking chairs. In the years before air conditioning, catching the ocean breeze was a necessity as well as a pleasure and a shady porch was the best place to be.
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Photo from a 1906 postcard