By the mid-1980s, most of the beach in Ocean City had become narrow and in some places nearly non-existent on high tide. It was said you could fish from the Boardwalk on 15th Street during a storm and there was barely enough room to set up an umbrella between 21st and 25th streets. Most of the northern beach was in bad shape as well.
Early attempts at beach preservation with wooden jetties and stone groins had failed to halt erosion; every major storm was a threat to flood the town. The beach — Ocean City’s most important asset – was in big trouble.
A grand attempt to save it began in 1986. Known as the Beach Replenishment and Hurricane Protection Project, sand was dredged from the ocean and pumped ashore and the beach was widened to 200 feet. A seawall was built to protect the Boardwalk and the dunes rebuilt from 27th Street to the Delaware line. By October 1991, the project was successfully completed, and the beach had been saved.
To purchase one of Bunk Mann’s books, click over to www.vanishingoc.com.
Photo courtesy Ocean City Life Saving Station Museum