The tale of an 85-year-old Boardwalk blaze that stretched for blocks in the seaside resort.
Estimates of fire damage varied. A newspaper report the day after the fire placed the losses at $3 million. That is the equivalent of $39.7 million in 2012 dollars. Anselm said documents at the Ocean City Historical Museum listed damages at just under $811,000, or $10.7 million in 2012 dollars. In retrospect, damage from the fire could have been worse if it occurred during the summer season.
Amazingly, a second fire, blamed on arson, struck the Boardwalk six months later in April 1928, causing about $100,000 worth of damage.
In the aftermath of the fires, Ocean City officials took steps to make the Boardwalk safer during the reconstruction. Concrete pillars were used as supports to minimize the risk of a future fire, Anselm said, while the new Boardwalk, including the Music Pier, was moved several hundred feet closer to the ocean. Work was completed by the summer of 1928 and the new Boardwalk was dedicated in July.
Anselm noted the October inferno had one benefit for the city. “It got rid of a lot of fire traps,” he said.
(Research assistance provided by Heather Halpin Perez and the Atlantic City Free Public Library; photo courtesy O.C. Historical Society.)
The aftermath of the horrible 1927 fire
Photo Courtesy of the Ocean City Historical Museum, Inc.
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