Archive for June 6th, 2012

June 06, 2012

I can’t believe Memorial Day Weekend has already come and went!  For the beach town of Ocean City, Maryland Memorial Day Weekend pretty much marks the beginning of summer.  Now people from all over will start making their way over to this neat little town.  I told my grandparents that I was ready to hit the beach (I prefer Assateague Beach over Ocean City’s beach) and they began talking about their trips to Ocean City.  My grandmother and Aunt Debbie are in the photo above on one of their beach days. :)  “When I was a kid, we maybe went to Ocean City 2-3 times a year,” Pop Pop said.  “I remember playing under the boardwalk,” Mom Mom chimed in.  Then they both began talking about the crazy nor’easter of 1962 that destroyed the beach and buildings of Ocean City.  “I have some of your Pop Pop’s photographs that have never been published from that storm,”  Mom Mom said.  “And I have photos of me overseeing the boardwalk reconstruction,”  Pop Pop added.  He worked for the State Highway Administration during that time and was assigned to one of 4 sections of the Ocean City boardwalk after the storm.

I have mentioned before that my grandmother volunteers for the Lower Delmarva Genealogical Society and she also has a love for photos.  She has saved and collected old newspapers and photos since she was little.  So it was no surprise when she pulled out two articles from The Daily Times (our local newspaper) written about this powerful nor’easter.   The storm was on March 6th and 7th and caused the Atlantic to cover Ocean City and forever alter its appearance.    The articles stated that winds reached 60 mph and waves reached 25 ft!  More than 1,000 were injured and a few were killed.

“Many local businesses and homes were destroyed,”  Pop Pop said.  “Commodes were floating in the sea.”  The Daily Times also mentioned that buildings were lifted off their foundation and  carried away.  There was a series of five successive high tides and what I found most interesting was that Ocean City almost had a new inlet!  Right now, there is one at the Southern end of Ocean City but as the Isle of Wright Bay flooded, it threatened to connect with the Atlantic Ocean at the North end of Ocean City.

The National Guard was stationed in each town to ward off looters.  You had to prove you owned property to get in.  Also, another interesting outcome that hit home to me was that Assateague became a National Seashore.  I didn’t know this, but the beautiful, untouched beach and wetlands of Assateague Island were to be developed that decade.  There were close to 5,000 lots that were awaiting resort development!  After the storm changed the Island, some forward-thinking local leaders along with political aid, decided to  make Assateague a federally managed National Seashore in 1965.  That, if anything, was a silver lining.  My grandparents still call this one of the storms of the century.  My grandfather said that he and his team had to have the boardwalk completed by Memorial Day leaving them less than 2 months to reconstruct the boardwalk.  I guess even back then, Memorial Day weekend was still considered the ‘beginning of summer’ for this eclectic beach town. :)