Trimper's Rides Takes Vacationers Back to Early Days of Ocean City | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : Metro Connection

Filed Under:

Trimper's Rides Takes Vacationers Back to Early Days of Ocean City

Play associated audio
Trimper's carousel has gone around on the Ocean City boardwalk for over a century.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/royal65/2351958301/
Trimper's carousel has gone around on the Ocean City boardwalk for over a century.

Ocean City’s boardwalk is a busy, boisterous place. The scent of French fries and caramel corn lingers in the air. There are street musicians, and buskers who try to entice tourists to get a caricature drawn. Music pulses from arcades and t-shirt shops.

It’s a portrait of summer leisure that was just starting to emerge in 1890, when a vacationer named Daniel Trimper arrived in Ocean City. At the time, the resort was a much quieter place.

“All there was, was one or two hotels in town. There was no electricity,” says author Monica Thrash, who just wrote a new book about Trimper and his family’s role in shaping Ocean City. “But he saw something in this town, some potential there.”

Trimper, an entrepreneur who owned a tobacco company and saloons in Baltimore, bought a hotel in Ocean City and slowly purchased property on either side of it. That property gradually emerged to become an entertainment complex centered around a carousel, an attraction that’s still in use today.

“The carousel itself has gone through a restoration after many, many years of use and is kept up piece by piece today by the same artist who [restored it],” says Thrash, a longtime employee at Trimper’s Rides. “She will take a horse or a single animal out during the season and perk it up to try to keep the whole carousel looking good all the time.”

An archival photograph of Trimper's Amusement Park. (Trimper's)

The carousel isn’t the only part of the Trimper empire that’s been restored and refurbished over the years. Thrash says Trimper and other early business owners in Ocean City saw their properties repeatedly hammered by storms that swept up the coast.

“There was next to no distance between the early boardwalk and the ocean,” she says. “Any type of storm of any size would blow down the hotels along the front, and they would have to rebuild. One of the things I found that I admired most about Mr. Trimper was the tenacity, not giving up on Ocean City at all.”

Today, visiting Trimper’s is like taking a trip back through time. Besides the carousel, there are several vintage rides for small children, including the “fairy whip” and a kiddie-sized ferris wheel. Many families have memories of these rides that go back generations.

“We don’t have the space to put some of the big exciting rides that you have at a Six Flags or Disney or something like that,” says Thrash.

“But what we do have is…that real tangible sense of nostalgia, personal nostalgia. It’s all part of American history and I think that’s something also special in a town like Ocean City. Our modern lives are getting more global, [and] it’s kind of nice to have this little slice of small-town America.”

NPR

A Punch Line In The U.S., Christmas Fruitcake Is Big In Calcutta

Seen as indestructible in the West, fruitcakes are indispensable in the bustling Hindu city. Bakers of all faiths have the ovens running round the clock to feed Calcutta's appetite for the cakes.
NPR

Inside The Indiana Megadairy Making Coca-Cola's New Milk

Coca-Cola got a lot of attention in November when it announced it was going into the milk business. In fact, its extra-nutritious milk product was invented by some dairy farmers in Indiana.
NPR

What To Expect In The 2016 Presidential Announcement Season

With Jeb Bush signaling he's likely to run for president in 2016, it's another sign that the presidential announcement season is underway. Here's a look at who has jumped in the race early and what to expect in the coming months.
NPR

2014 Hashtags: #BringBackOurGirls Made Nigerian Schoolgirls All Of 'Ours'

As part of a series on hashtag activism in 2014, Audie Cornish speaks with Obiageli Ezekwesili of the Open Society Foundation. Ezekwesili was one of the early promoters of the hashtag #bringbackourgirls, about schoolgirls kidnapped in Nigeria in April.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.