Ocean City, Maryland

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Ocean City, Maryland
Town
Town of Ocean City
Ocean City in August 2013
Ocean City in August 2013
Flag of Ocean City, Maryland
Flag
Official seal of Ocean City, Maryland
Seal
Nickname(s): "The White Marlin Capital of the World"
Location in Maryland
Location in Maryland
Coordinates: 38°23′29″N 75°4′11″W / 38.39139°N 75.06972°W / 38.39139; -75.06972Coordinates: 38°23′29″N 75°4′11″W / 38.39139°N 75.06972°W / 38.39139; -75.06972
Country United States
State Maryland
County Worcester
Founded 1875
Incorporated 1880
Government
 • Type Council/Manager
 • Mayor Rick Meehan
 • City Council
 • City Manager David Recor
Area[1]
 • Total 36.37 sq mi (94.20 km2)
 • Land 4.41 sq mi (11.42 km2)
 • Water 31.96 sq mi (82.78 km2)  87.87%
Elevation 7 ft (2 m)
Population (2010)[2]
 • Total 7,102
 • Estimate (2012[3]) 7,089
 • Density 1,610.4/sq mi (621.8/km2)
  320,000-345,000 estimated summer weekend population[4]
Time zone Eastern (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) Eastern (UTC-4)
ZIP codes 21842-21843
Area code(s) 410, 443, 667
FIPS code 24-58225
GNIS feature ID 0586284
Website www.oceancitymd.gov

Ocean City (OC or OCMD), officially the Town of Ocean City, is an Atlantic resort town in Worcester County, Maryland. Ocean City is widely known in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States and is a frequent destination for vacationers in that area. The population was 7,102 at the 2010 U.S. Census, although during summer weekends the city hosts between 320,000 and 345,000 vacationers, and up to 8 million visitors annually.[4] During the summer, Ocean City becomes the second most populated town in Maryland. It is part of the Salisbury, Maryland-Delaware Metropolitan Statistical Area.

History[edit]

An Ocean City historical marker in August 2013. It tells a brief history of the town.

The land upon which the city was built, as well as much of the surrounding area, was obtained by Englishman Thomas Fenwick from the Native Americans. In 1869, businessman Isaac Coffin built the first beach-front cottage to receive paying guests. During those days, people arrived by stage coach and ferry. They came to fish off the shore, to enjoy the natural beauty of the Atlantic Ocean pounding against the long strip of sandy beach, to collect seashells, or just to sit back and watch the rolling surf.

Soon after, other simple boarding houses were built on the strip of sand, with the activity attracting prominent businessmen from the Maryland Eastern Shore, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Wilmington. They came not so much to visit as to survey the spit. A decision was made to develop it and 250 lots were cut into it, and a corporation was formed to help with the development of the land. The corporation stock of 4,000 shares sold for $25 each.

Prior to 1870, what is now Ocean City was known as "The Ladies' Resort to the Ocean."

The Atlantic Hotel, the first major hotel in the town, opened July 4, 1875. Besides the beach and ocean, it offered dancing and billiard rooms to the visitors of its more than 400 rooms, and for years it was the northern-most attraction in Ocean City. By 1878 tourists could come by railroad from Berlin to the shores of Sinepuxent Bay across from the town. By 1881, a line was completed across Sinepuxent Bay to the shore, bringing rail passengers on the Baltimore, Chesapeake and Atlantic Railroad directly into the town to a train station on Philadelphia Avenue and returning to larger city markets with locally caught fish from Ocean City.

Ocean City's inlet during the off season

The Ocean City Inlet was formed during a significant hurricane in 1933, which also destroyed the train tracks across the Sinepuxent Bay. The inlet separated what is now Ocean City from Assateague Island. The Army Corps of Engineers took advantage of nature's intervention and made the inlet at the south end of Ocean City permanent. The inlet eventually helped to establish Ocean City as an important Mid-Atlantic fishing port as it offered easy access to the fishing grounds of the Atlantic Ocean.

In the late 1930s, the Army Corps of Engineers dredged a new channel on the bayside of Ocean City to allow larger boats to have access to Sinepuxent Bay. The dredge was pumped back onto the western shore of Ocean City allowing the creation of Chicago Avenue and St. Louis Avenue, leading to new development where previously only marshland had been.[5]

Rapid expansion of Ocean City took place during the post-war boom. In 1952, with the completion of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, Ocean City became easily accessible to people in the Baltimore–Washington metropolitan area. In 1964, with the completion of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, a whole new pathway to the south was opened. Ocean City became one of the largest vacation areas of the East Coast.

By the 1970s, big business flourished and gave birth to the construction of more than 15,000 condominium units, creating a spectacular sight of high-rise condominiums that assured every investor of a glimpse of the ocean and pounding surf. However, throughout the 1980s, and into the 1990s, the width of the beach began to shrink, prompting the first of a series of beach replenishment projects.

The original pier was destroyed by a fire in 1994. There was a small water park and giant walk-through haunted house with live actors near the end of the pier and a New Orleans-style Hollywood in Wax Museum on the boardwalk side. In the late 1980s the Wax Museum was turned into a Photon laser tag arena. The building now houses the Ripley's Believe it or Not! museum.

In 2002, Ocean City undertook the most recent of many, multi-million dollar, beach restoration programs, in an attempt to slow the westward migration of its beaches. The program pumped tons of sand from offshore and deposited it onto the beach. A dune line was also re-established in front of Ocean City's building line. Another similar project began after the 2006 tourist season closed.

The Sandy Point Site and St. Paul's by-the-sea Protestant Episcopal Church are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[6]

Recent history[edit]

A view of the Ocean City boardwalk looking south.
A view of the Ocean City boardwalk at twilight looking north.

Today, the Ocean City area continues to sprawl westward across the bay and toward Berlin and Ocean Pines. It was part of the Ocean Pines Micropolitan Statistical Area until that was subsumed by the Salisbury Metropolitan Area. The resort area accommodates approximately 8 million visitors per year.[7]

Ocean City now extends just more than 9 mi (14 km) from the southern inlet to the Delaware line. The strip now supports hotels, motels, apartment houses, shopping centers, residential communities, and condominiums. The southern tip houses the Ocean City Boardwalk. The boardwalk is the main shopping district and entertainment area of the town. The boardwalk has many prominent businesses including Fisher's Caramel Popcorn and Thrashers French Fries. Other notable boardwalk businesses are Dolle's Salt Water Taffy, the Atlantic Stand, and Dumser's Dairyland. The Boardwalk has two amusement parks, Trimpers Rides and The Pier, which was recently renamed Jolly Roger at The Pier, after its sister uptown local amusement park. The downtown neighborhood, Old Town, is marked by Victorian style houses and other older buildings, many of which have been razed in recent years to construct more parking lots, hotels, and condos.

Ocean City has a long history of fishing, both commercial and recreational. The town bills itself as the "White Marlin Capital of the World." During the summer numerous charter and private boats fish for billfish, tuna, wahoo, and other game fish. In early August, one of the largest fishing tournaments in the world, the White Marlin Open, is held. Prize money for the largest White Marlin, Blue Marlin, and Tuna can range over 1 million dollars.

The town supports a year-round population of about 8,000, with the town itself being a major employer. Summer employment in Ocean City rises many multiples above that level, supported by a large number of college-age and young adults - many native to Eastern Europe and Ireland - attracted by numerous job opportunities. In the summer, businesses and government agencies are augmented with about 100 seasonal police officers, plus extra firefighters and other workers.

Tourism in the winter has picked up pace. Where once even many traffic lights were shut down or bagged up, increased traffic from golfers and Ocean City Convention Center conventions has convinced many seasonal restaurants and hotels to remain open. Many bars and restaurants that close during the winter re-open for St. Patrick's Day.

The city has erected a memorial to the firefighters who lost their lives on September 11. This memorial is located on the boardwalk, about six blocks from the inlet. The memorial consists of a firefighter statue, engraved brick and stone, and a piece of one of the twin towers that collapsed in New York City. Ocean City is home to the annual Maryland State Firefighters Convention. This is a week-long event in June, that honors the state's firefighters with events and contests at the Convention Center, and ends with a parade.

Northern Ocean City houses many high-rise beachfront condominiums and hotels such as Century I, The Seawatch, Golden Sands Club, and The Carousel. This area is easily recognizable because of its city-like skyline.

A beach with people scattered about and backlit by late afternoon sun.
A panoramic view of the beach in Ocean City from a condominium during late-afternoon, as seen in July 2013.

Geography[edit]

Ocean City pier and beach

Ocean City is located at 38°23′29″N 75°04′11″W / 38.391526°N 75.069712°W / 38.391526; -75.069712.[8]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 36.37 square miles (94.20 km2), of which, 4.41 square miles (11.42 km2) is land and 31.96 square miles (82.78 km2) is water.[1]

Ocean City is on the barrier spit called Fenwick Island, which encompasses Ocean City, South Bethany, Delaware, and Fenwick Island, Delaware. Ocean City's southern point is an inlet formed by the 1933 Chesapeake–Potomac hurricane. Rainfall and tides swelled the rivers and bays surrounding Ocean City until the overflowing water cut a 50 foot crevasse from the bay to the ocean. Ocean City businessmen had long sought funding to create an inlet to support a harbor, so residents seized upon the opportunity and built jetties to ensure the city's land remained divided from what is now Assateague Island.[9]

Climate[edit]

Ocean City has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cfa), with hot, humid summers, mild winters, and precipitation fairly evenly distributed throughout the year. Due to its location on the Atlantic coast, daytime temperatures in spring and summer are moderated, with an average of only 10 days annually reaching 90 °F (32 °C). Conversely, in winter there is an average of 5.8 days where the temperature fails to rise above freezing. The prominence of the Outer Banks of North Carolina to the south means direct hits from tropical storms and hurricanes are rare, although they sometimes brush the area.

Climate data for Ocean City, Maryland (1981–2010 normals)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 44.6
(7)
46.1
(7.8)
53.1
(11.7)
61.1
(16.2)
69.9
(21.1)
79.5
(26.4)
83.7
(28.7)
82.4
(28)
77.3
(25.2)
67.8
(19.9)
57.5
(14.2)
49.0
(9.4)
64.4
(18)
Average low °F (°C) 27.6
(−2.4)
29.3
(−1.5)
35.0
(1.7)
44.1
(6.7)
53.0
(11.7)
63.1
(17.3)
68.3
(20.2)
67.1
(19.5)
60.1
(15.6)
50.5
(10.3)
39.2
(4)
31.7
(−0.2)
47.5
(8.6)
Precipitation inches (mm) 3.43
(87.1)
3.06
(77.7)
3.99
(101.3)
3.36
(85.3)
3.63
(92.2)
3.31
(84.1)
3.37
(85.6)
4.66
(118.4)
3.48
(88.4)
3.30
(83.8)
3.14
(79.8)
3.64
(92.5)
42.37
(1,076.2)
Source: NOAA[10]

Demographics[edit]

2010 census[edit]

As of the census[2] of 2010, there were 7,102 people, 3,852 households, and 1,784 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,610.4 inhabitants per square mile (621.8 /km2). There were 30,119 housing units at an average density of 6,829.7 per square mile (2,637.0 /km2). The racial makeup of the town was 92.2% White, 2.7% African American, 0.2% Native American, 1.3% Asian, 2.2% from other races, and 1.4% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.9% of the population.

There were 3,852 households of which 11.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 36.8% were married couples living together, 6.3% had a female householder with no husband present, 3.3% had a male householder with no wife present, and 53.7% were non-families. 42.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 17.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 1.84 and the average family size was 2.41.

The median age in the town was 54.2 years. 9.1% of residents were under the age of 18; 6.7% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 20.8% were from 25 to 44; 33.8% were from 45 to 64; and 29.6% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the town was 51.4% male and 48.6% female.

2000 census[edit]

As of the census of 2000,[11] there were 7,173 people, 3,750 households, and 1,829 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,574.7 people per square mile (607.3/km²). There were 26,317 housing units at an average density of 5,777.5 per square mile (2,228.3/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 95.34% White, 2.50% African American, 0.11% Native American, 0.74% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.35% from other races, and 0.95% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.24% of the population.

Ocean City's many high-rises offer a view of both the ocean and the bay.

There were 3,750 households out of which 11.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 39.2% were married couples living together, 6.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 51.2% were non-families. 39.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 1.91 and the average family size was 2.47.

In the town the population was spread out with 11.3% under the age of 18, 7.3% from 18 to 24, 28.2% from 25 to 44, 28.0% from 45 to 64, and 25.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 47 years. For every 100 females there were 105.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 103.6 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $35,772, and the median income for a family was $44,614. Males had a median income of $28,613 versus $27,457 for females. The per capita income for the town was $26,078. About 6.0% of families and 8.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 23.0% of those under the age of 18 and 3.9% ages 65 or older.

Transportation[edit]

Ocean City Municipal Airport, located 3 miles (4.8 km) west of downtown Ocean City serves general aviation and charter aircraft. Full service FBO available at this airport, as well as FAA and Cessna Pilot Center approved flight school.[12] Nearby Salisbury-Ocean City Wicomico Regional Airport provides commercial air service for Ocean City.

Westbound view on U.S. 50, Ocean Gateway, leaving Ocean City. Sign over Eastbound lane displays distance to Sacramento, California, 3,073 miles.

Ocean City has only a single major north−south thoroughfare, Maryland Route 528, known as the Coastal Highway for most of its length, and as Philadelphia Avenue at its southern end. MD 528 continues north into Delaware as Delaware Route 1. Between S. 1st Street and 33rd Street, Philadelphia Avenue is paralleled by Baltimore Avenue to the east, which is unsigned Maryland Route 378 south of 15th Street. In downtown Ocean City, Baltimore Avenue is one-way northbound and Philadelphia Avenue is one-way southbound. Most east-west streets are numbered, starting at N. Division Street in the south, and continue until 146th street at the Delaware/Maryland border. Between S. Division Street and N. Division Street are several streets named after counties on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. South of S. Division Street is S. 1st Street and S. 2nd Street at the Ocean City Inlet. Locations in the city are usually given as Oceanside (east of Coastal Highway) or Bayside (west of Coastal Highway).

Three bridges connect the spit to the mainland. U.S. Route 50 crosses the Harry W. Kelly Memorial Bridge and connects to MD 528 at N. Division Street. Ocean City is the eastern terminus of U.S. Route 50. Near Sacramento, California along U.S. 50 is a mileage sign whimsically stating the distance to Ocean City, MD (3,073 miles). Maryland Route 90, a two-lane freeway, crosses the Assawoman Bay Bridge and connects to MD 528 at 62nd Street. Delaware Route 54 can also be used to reach Ocean City, as it meets Coastal Highway just north of the border.

North End Transit Center at 144th Street, Near Delaware Line.

Ocean City also has a public transportation system referred to as the "Beach Bus". The bus runs along pretty much the entire length of the city 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, year round. It travels on Coastal Highway between 15th Street and the 144th Street transit center. South of 15th Street, the bus runs on Philadelphia Ave. heading south to the S. Division Street transit center and on Baltimore Ave. heading north through the Downtown area. There is also a park-and-ride service known as the West Ocean City Park and Ride. Patrons can park their cars at the Park and Ride's lot in West Ocean City off U.S. Route 50 and take a separate bus into the city to connect with the Coastal Highway Beach Bus. This service also serves the Tanger Outlets in West Ocean City. During the summer season, the city hires additional operators for the highest periods of ridership. These seasonal bus drivers are frequently retirees from other transit authorities as well as school bus drivers across the state of Maryland who are off during the summer season while schools are not in session.

Ocean City's transit service connects with Shore Transit where patrons can travel to or from destinations on the Eastern Shore such as Salisbury and Pocomoke. This connection point is the West Ocean City Park and Ride in the summer and the S. Division Street transit center in the off season. Between Mid-May and Mid-September, DART Resort Transit also connects Ocean City transit at the 144th Street transit center with the resort towns of Delaware which connects with regular DART service or shuttle service from the Cape May-Lewes Ferry to Cape May, New Jersey.

The Ocean City Transits fleet consists mainly of Thomas built buses. The CL960 model and the TL960 model both in 40-foot (12 m) lengths. They do run Eldorado National XHF buses in a 35-foot (11 m) length which run on Coastal Highway in the off season and the West Ocean City Park and Ride in the summer season. Ocean City did purchase a new order of at least 8 Blue Bird Xcel 102s in a 40-foot (12 m) length recently. They were purchased to replace the oldest set of Thomas built buses on the Ocean City fleet, which were also numbered as 270s. In past years, Ocean City received somewhere about 10-17 Articulated buses that are being retired by MTA Maryland which were built by North American Bus Industries in 1995-96. The buses were frequently borrowed every summer to maintain the increase in ridership and crowding of their current 40-foot vehicles.

Ocean City also maintains a fleet of open-air shuttles which run along the Boardwalk called the Boardwalk Tram. The trams run the entire length of the boardwalk from S. Division Street to 27th Street between Memorial Day and Labor Day Weekends, and also during special event weekends such as Springfest or Sunfest. South of 5th Street, the tram has a separate concrete path it runs on parallel to the boardwalk. North of this, a marked lane down the middle of the boardwalk warns pedestrians of the shuttle. Passengers board and alight at any point along the route by notifying the driver.

Notable people[edit]

Mayors[edit]

Ocean City's elections are non-partisan.

Name From To
William S. Wilson 1894 1896
George M. Upshur 1896 1898
James Z. Powell 1898 1900
Clayton J. Purnell 1900 1902
John F. Waggaman 1902 1903
Christopher Ludlam 1903 1908
W. Lee Carey 1908 1912
William B.S. Powell 1912 1916
John B. Jones 1916 1918
Edward M. Scott 1918 1920
Elbridge E. Collins 1920 1922
William W. McCabe 1922 1934
William Thomas Elliott 1934 1938
Edmond H. Johnson 1938 1940
Clifford P. Cropper 1940 1944
Daniel Trimper, Jr. 1944 1959
Hugh T. Cropper 1959 1970
Harry W. Kelley 1970 1985
Granville Trimper 1985 1985
Roland E. Powell 1986 1996
James N. Mathias, Jr. 1996 2006
Rick Meehan 2006 -

Sister cities[edit]

Ocean City has three sister cities.

Senior Week[edit]

Ocean City is known for its "Senior Week" activities. Recently graduated high school seniors from Maryland and surrounding states travel to Ocean City to spend a week with friends and away from parental supervision. Senior Week traditionally begins the first week after graduation. The Town of Ocean City has a "Play it Safe" campaign with scheduled events to keep the graduates safe.[14] There are also a number of other events that take place during senior week which include the OC Car Show,[15] Dew Tour,[16] H20 Under 21 Events,[17] and the senior week boardwalk events.[18]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2013-01-25. 
  2. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2013-01-25. 
  3. ^ "Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2013-06-26. 
  4. ^ a b "Comprehensive Plan". Town of Ocean City. Retrieved September 8, 2011. 
  5. ^ http://www.delawareonline.com/article/20130822/NEWS/308220064/How-1933-hurricane-carved-lifeline-Ocean-City-Md-
  6. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2010-07-09. 
  7. ^ "Ocean City Maryland - Media". Ocean City Maryland Convention and Visitors Bureau and Department of Tourism. Retrieved September 6, 2011. 
  8. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  9. ^ "Reborn in a Hurricane". www.baltimoresun.com (The Baltimore Sun). Retrieved 2009-08-31. 
  10. ^ "Station Name: MD OCEAN CITY MUNI AP". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 2013-03-05. 
  11. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  12. ^ http://www.flyoceanaviation.com/
  13. ^ "Sister Cities in the Milan consular district". U.S. Department of State. Retrieved September 6, 2011. 
  14. ^ "Play it Safe". Ocean City Department of Tourism. Retrieved September 6, 2011. 
  15. ^ "OC Car Show". Ocean City Car Show. Retrieved December 31, 2013. 
  16. ^ "Dew Tour Ocean City". Dew Tour Ocean City. Retrieved December 31, 2013. 
  17. ^ H20 Nite Club"H20 Under 21 Club". My Senior Week. Retrieved December 31, 2013. 
  18. ^ Senior Week Event Schedule"Senior Week Events, Rentals, & News". My Senior Week. Retrieved December 31, 2013. 

External links[edit]