Come visit us in Ocean City, New Jersey and make our historic Victorian inn your family vacation spot. At the Scarborough Inn, near Cape May, NJ, we offer the amenities and conveniences that will make your getaway truly enjoyable and memorable. Click here for a walking tour of historic Ocean City.
Adapted from the Ocean City Historical Museum;
visit their Web Site to learn more about Ocean City.
BRIEF HISTORY OF OCEAN CITY, NJ
Our small island, now popularly known as “America’s Greatest Family Resort,” has an interesting and varied history.
Long ago, it served as a summer fishing camp for local Native American tribes, then as grazing land for cattle driven out from the mainland, and as a hunting or picnicking spot for mainland residents who would come out by boat.
First informally known as Peck's Beach, the seven-mile stretch of meadows, cedar swamps, and sand dunes was probably named for John Peck, a whaler who used the island as a staging spot for his whaling operation. Original ownership of the land was by the Somers family who also gave their name to the community across the Route 52 causeway – Somer’s Point.
Early on, several individuals made their home on the island. Most notable was Parker Miller, who served as an agent for marine insurance companies. He and his family lived in a home at what is now the southwest corner of Seventh Street and Asbury Avenue.
In 1879, four Methodist ministers, Ezra B. Lake, James Lake, S. Wesley Lake, and William Burrell, chose the island as a suitable spot to establish a Christian Retreat and Camp Meeting. As the story goes, they met under a tall cedar tree (preserved today inside the Tabernacle – a nondenominational place of worship at 6th Street and Asbury Avenue). Having chosen the name "Ocean City," the four founders incorporated the "Ocean City Association," laid out streets, and sold lots for cottages, hotels, and businesses. It is from these origins that Ocean City is a “dry” town by deed restriction. The original Tabernacle was built between Wesley and Asbury Avenues and Camp Meetings were held by the following summer.
From these beginnings, Ocean City has evolved into the town we know today. The first bridge to the island was built in 1883 and a railroad line soon followed. The first school began in 1881. The Boardwalk was built, expanded, and was even relocated several times. The ship Sindia joined other shipwrecks on our beach. A devastating fire in 1927 altered the town significantly. As with all communities, things change over time and yet one thing has remained constant – and that is the genuine and abiding affection people have for Ocean City.