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Ocean City Residents Preserving History of Old Homes

Ocean City's Historic District has homeowners who look to preserve and document the uniqueness of their homes.


People who choose to live in an old home, or a historic one, take on the responsibilities and sometimes challenges of preserving an important part of history.

Some homeowners who live in Ocean City’s Historic District not only take great pride in their residences, but also aim to make sure that the houses will be remembered for their value harkening back to when they were built so long ago.

For members of the Facebook forum, Ocean City Old Home Lovers, there are additional ways they enjoy to showcase their historic gems. They post photos of renovations, pertinent information about the homes and post vintage photos and current ones.

Keith Beale lives in Pennsylvania. But he also enjoys his 101-year-old home in the Historic District throughout the summer.

He explained his desire to document the old homes of Ocean City.

“I have been reading about so many people concerned about the historic homes being torn down, never seeing them again and how they wish they had pictures,” Beale said Sunday night in an email. “So, I thought, why not start now with taking pictures of all the older homes and putting them in a format by street so that people can look at them again later.”

Shown side by side, the historic homes at 409 and 411 Fifth Street have been recognized by the Ocean City Historic Preservation Commission.

Beale presented an interesting challenge for others who own old homes in Ocean City and appreciate them.

“I have a challenge/opportunity for all of you. This spring/summer I plan to go down my street and take pictures of all the older homes,” he posted this week on the Ocean City Old Home Lovers Facebook page. “This will provide a historical record and I will submit them electronically to the OC Historical Museum.”

He continued in his post, “This will allow us and future generations to see our/their specific home in former days, or what the street used to look like.”

Beale noted in his post that his home was built in 1920 and said that he couldn’t find any vintage photos of it at the local museum.

He plans to take photos of old homes on Central Avenue and gave some ideas of what he was looking for from others who were interested in his proposal.

“Let’s have fun with this and preserve the history of our old homes in OC,” he said.

A marker at the corner of Third Street and Ocean Avenue describes the history and boundaries of Ocean City’s Historic District.

Beale requested that the homes be more than 50 years old. In addition to the Historic District homes, he pointed out that old homes in other areas of the island could and should be included.

He even created an email address for people to send to, fittingly it is OCOldHomeLovers@gmail.com.

“Have fun and think about how we are preserving some of the history in Ocean City,” Beale said.

Beale’s idea was welcomed by fellow poster on Ocean City Old Home Lovers Facebook page.

Historic District resident Richard Barth, who is the administrator of the Facebook page, posted that he thought it was “an awesome idea.”

“Thank you so much for getting this going. It is an awesome idea. Wonder if it is possible to assemble a full plan. It would require a little organization, but could we aim (for example) to get every old home’s photo categorized in a folder,” Barth posted. “And aim to have all photos done by Labor Day. I am not looking to lead on this, but am inspired by your push here and would volunteer if given an assignment.”

The Historic District stretches between Third and Eighth streets and Central and Ocean avenues. Homes from the late 19th and early 20th centuries line the streets. It is governed by ordinances designed to preserve the character of the neighborhoods near the Ocean City Tabernacle, where Ocean City was founded and first settled.

This home at 615 Wesley Avenue is considered historically significant. The photo was taken before the home was sold in 2021 and the new owner began historic renovations. (Photo courtesy of estately.com)