Ocean City was an idyllic seaside town. While still a popular summer resort, its seasonal visitors preferred cottages and apartments or the old hotels and new motels that seldom stood more than four stories.
At Dale’s Esso, at the foot of the Rte. 50 Bridge, gasoline cost 30 cents a gallon. W. P. Laws and Birches’ Market sold bread for 28 cents a loaf. At the plank-shingled post office on Somerset St., you could buy a stamp to mail a letter for 4 cents.
The newly minted color TV set cost a whopping $400 even then, but a visit to Ocean City’s renowned physician, Dr. Frank Townsend, was only $5.
You could go to a fast-food drive in, if the town had possessed one, to buy a hamburger, soda pop and an ice cream bar all for 45 cents. Instead, you went to the Atlantic Stand on the Boardwalk and sat on round stools for the same money. Malted milkshakes at Rayne’s were 35 cents and 50 cents, depending on their size. A first release movie at Showell’s on N. Division St. or The Capitol Theater on Wor-cester St. ran you 50 cents and the popcorn 20.
The median family income was $6,000 per year. But, you could buy a new car for well under your salary, since those were a mere $2,500.
Meanwhile, in 1962, a new Arkansas company called Wal-Mart opened its first and only store that year. It would be a long time before that came to Ocean City. — FCC
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