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(Enlarge) Kevin Dayhoff, former mayor of Westminster

EAGLE ARCHIVE

For many Carroll County residents, summertime means an opportunity to make an annual family trek to Ocean City, Md.

Some of my fondest childhood memories include vacations on the Eastern Shore and walking the boardwalk in Ocean City. By the time my summer sojourns to Ocean City began, the Chesapeake Bay Bridge had already been built.

However, as a child-historian I always enjoyed older folks telling tales of the trip to Ocean City -- and what the Eastern Shore was like -- before the first Bay Bridge was built.

Construction began on the first bridge on Nov. 3, 1949, and it was opened with great fanfare on July 30, 1952. It cost $45 million.

To give this some perspective, Route 140 in Carroll County was opened July 1, 1954, cost $2.7 million to build and took more than two years to build.

Of course, getting from Westminster to the Bay Bridge was tricky in the days before Interstate 795 opened in the mid-1980s, and even farther back before the Baltimore Beltway was completed from Richie Highway to Pulaski Highway in 1962.

Until 1960 there was regular passenger train service between Westminster and Baltimore.

In the days before the Bay Bridge, the trip to Ocean City from Carroll was quite an ordeal. Folks used to take the ferry from Baltimore to Claiborne in Talbot County, then cross the Chesapeake Bay.

According to a history of Claiborne written by historian Elizabeth Hughes in 1992, the first ferry traveled between Bay Ridge, "a summer resort on the western shore" and Claiborne around 1890. Train service from Baltimore was provided to Bay Ridge.

The trip across the bay by ferry took 55 minutes. (Of course, these days, if you reach the bridge during peak travel time, you might realize that ferry would be quicker.) After you reached Claiborne, you would travel to Ocean City by train.

According to a history of the resort prepared by Ocean City government, the resort "began its path toward becoming a resort in 1869, when Isaac Coffin built the first cottage on the beach to have paying guests. Before Isaac Coffin, the area was merely referred to as 'The Ladies Resort to the Ocean ...'

"The first luxury hotel was opened July 4, 1875. The Atlantic Hotel featured billiards and dancing, and boasted over 400 rooms."

Ocean City was still somewhat of a sleepy southern resort community before the 1970s, when more than 10,000 condominiums were built.

Some of my fonder memories of Ocean City in recent years were between 1999 and 2005, when I barely saw the beach. Back then I was attending the annual Maryland Municipal League summer convention.

Even though the league's annual convention is held in Ocean City, it's a far cry from a "vacation at the beach." It's intense work crammed into too few days. Still, it's a pleasant experience, and one more reason to go "down the ocean, hon."

Radio daze

Speaking of intense work, the response to last week's Sunday Carroll Eagle history quiz was fun. Readers Dave Sulin, Dr. Patrick Turnes and Robert Dodge all answered correctly that it was Bob Dylan who originally wrote "All Along the Watchtower."

However, Bob Miller and Jamie Wehler elaborated that the song Mr. Dylan wrote was based on a Bible verse from the 21st Chapter of Isaiah, verses 5 to 9; and that he wrote it while recovering from a motorcycle accident.

And on the previous week's question, Cathy Baty and Linda Payne both responded that WTTR's first broadcast was July 14, 1953, at noon.

However -- drum roll please -- Ruth Anderson answered not only the WTTR question, but also who wrote "All Along the Watchtower" and the Bible verse that inspired Mr. Dylan; so she is the lucky winner of the treasured and famous Sunday Carroll Eagle coffee mug.

This week's history quiz is way too easy, but here goes: Many of us remember the days before the second span Chesapeake Bay Bridge was built. When did the second "westbound" span open and, for a tiebreaker, when did the construction begin?

Think you know? Send me an e-mail at kdayhoff@carr.org with "Sunday Carroll Eagle" included in the subject line, and perhaps you'll be selected to win the Sunday Carroll Eagle coffee mug. You can use it to sip a beverage the next time you're reclining on the beach.

When he's not enjoying the sand between his toes, Kevin Dayhoff can be reached at kdayhoff@carr.org.


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