Assateague reached its peak as a sportsman’s paradise in the years immediately following World War II.
During this period, the only access to the isolated barrier island was by boat with duck hunters and surf fishermen as the most frequent visitors. Local kids often accompanied their fathers to Assateague and collected shells that had washed ashore during winter storms. These shells were later sold to tourists on the Boardwalk and provided spending money for a generation of Ocean City youngsters.
Another quaint and fading vision from the past were the “beach buggys,” which sportsman would leave on the island during the surf fishing season. In the 1950s, the area near the South Point Ferry’s landing resembled a parking lot from the Great Depression with dozens of rusting but drivable antique vehicles waiting for their owners to arrive for another fishing trip. These old cars navigated the uncrowded beach until the opening of the Verrazano Bridge in 1964 made Assateague accessible to everyone and brought crowds to the previously remote island.
To purchase one of Bunk Mann’s books, click over to www.vanishingoc.com.
Photo courtesy David Cropper