The Beach Plaza Hotel was built by Ethel Griffin Kelley and her son Harry, a future mayor of Ocean City, in 1953. Located on the Boardwalk at 13th Street, the modern looking hotel boasted 132 rooms and a large porch with rocking chairs that overlooked the beach.
Following Ethel’s death in 1955, Harry Kelley took over and later added the upscale Bo-Con Apartments (named for his daughters) to the property. He sold the Beach Plaza to Mr. and Mrs. Elwood Flemming in 1964 and they ran it successfully for another three years. In 1967 the hotel was purchased by Brice and Shirley Phillips of Phillips Crab House fame and under their ownership it reached its glory days. They opened Phillips by the Sea in 1973 and it quickly became one of Ocean City’s most popular restaurants, famous for both its food and décor. Both the hotel and its restaurant had a large clientele for many years.
The Beach Plaza closed and was put up for sale in 2021 and today sits empty. It is unknown what the future will bring.
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Photo by Bunk Mann