About Ocean City, Maryland

History

Prior to 1870 Ocean City, Maryland was named The Ladies’ Resort to the Ocean, and sits on land that was obtained from the Native Americans by Thomas Fenwich, an Englishman. The first beach-front cottage to cater to paying guests was built in 1869 by businessman, Isaac Coffin, and guests would arrive by either stagecoach or ferry. The cottage attracted visitors wanting to fish or relax and enjoy the Atlantic Ocean.

It was not long before other boarding houses were built along the seafront. Businessmen were attracted by the activity and soon the spit was surveyed and cut into 250 lots. The first major hotel, the Atlantic Hotel, was erected in 1875 and boasted over 400 rooms, a billiard room and dancing room, making it the main attraction of the city. The hotel was purchased in 1923 by Charles Purnell, and the Purnell family still own and operate it to this day.

In 1933 the Ocean City inlet formed as a result of a hurricane and it was decided to make it permanent. It was not long before the inlet made Ocean City an important Mid-Atlantic fishing port that offered easy access to the Atlantic Ocean. Ocean City experienced rapid growth after the war, making it one of Maryland’s most well-known cities. Accessibility was greatly improved after the Chesapeake Bay Bridge was finished in 1952 and the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel in 1964 and what had once been a quiet little spot to relax in turned into a major vacation destination.

In the 1970’s condominiums sprang up everywhere, each promising at least the ability to catch a glimpse of the ocean, but during the 1980’s and 1990’s the beach front started to erode, which prompted the first of several replenishments projects. The most recent beach restoration project was undertaken in 2002, at a cost of several billion dollars, dumping tons of sand onto the beach. In 2006 further sand was deposited in an effort to stop the loss of the shoreline.

For most of the year the population of Ocean City hovers around the 8000 mark, but caters to around 8 million visitors annually. Employment for the City’s resident population is the City itself, but when tourist season rolls around the City is inundated with both visitors and those seeking seasonal employment. Vacationers are treated to many fun events put on by the City, and that, along with the spectacular beach and resort-style accommodations make it a very popular destination.