By Greg Ellison
(Oct. 14, 2021) Half a dozen old-school Ocean Pines residents participated in a “History Panel,” discussion on Sunday as part of the larger Worcester County History Week that began that day.
Panel speakers included Sue Adkins, Jack Barnes, Sharyn O’Hare, Gloria Richards, Ed Moran and Alta Weiss.
Weiss and her husband, Fred, purchased property when lots were first made available in 1969 and completed construction on their home in 1971.
“Our road was still dirt when they built it and we were the first house on Sandy Hook Road,” she said.
Weiss was invited to sit on the panel for her perspective as an original resident and also for her longtime involvement with publishing the Ocean Pines newsletter.
“I took over for 14 years,” she said.
Weiss said during the early era of Ocean Pines the geographic footprint was significantly smaller compared to current times.
“It’s very different from what the original concept was from developer Boise Cascade,” she said.
Weiss said the present day southern end of Ocean Pines was not included in the original land plats.
“They just kept buying,” she said.
Although eventually a year-round residence for many property owners, Weiss said marketing plans were different when the community was first established.
“The original concept was vacation homes,” she said. “That’s what they were selling, and lots were small.”
In fact, the home Weiss had constructed was one of the first two-story structures in the Pines.
“The sales people would always come by and show our house,” she said.
The community expanded over the decades as residents from nearby cities, such as Baltimore and Philadelphia, descended upon the region.
“We had all sorts of good places to try to get people to come here,” she said.
Weiss noted the wide age disparity among initial Pines settlers.
“One of the biggest things was you were either old or young, there wasn’t any in between,” she said. “It was the young folks like me, Gloria Richards and Sharyn O’Hare starting our families.”
The parental camaraderie grew through recurring holiday festivities.
“We were the mothers who had to get together and do Halloween and Christmas and all those kinds of events in the early days,” she said.
Weiss also noted during the beginning years in Ocean Pines the Board of Directors was the exclusive purview of developer Boise Cascade.
“They would fill the board from their own group of people,” she said. “It wasn’t open to vote yet.”
Regardless of government changes and housing expansions over the past half century, Weiss is still content to call the Pines home.
“It’s a nice place to live and we’ve lived in the same house for all these years,” she said.
The history panel presentation is slated for inclusion online at the Ocean Pines Academy. To view the event visit oceanpines.org/web/pages/ocean-pines-academy.
For information on Worcester County History Week visit facebook.com/WorcesterCountyHistoryWeek.