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Wednesday, August 09, 2017

BOBBY BAKER'S CAROUSEL: REMINISCENCES OF A SMALL TOWN

In researching this story, we not only combed through stacks of archival documentation, we also spoke with several of Ocean City’s most prominent and respected citizens — all of whom were on the scene during Baker’s heyday at the heyday at the Carousel. While there was some disagreement about certain aspects of the time, there were other subjects about which there was absolute consensus. First, everyone we interviewed agreed that Bobby Baker's Carousel Motel was a source of unbridled fascination and enthusiasm among the local population. Second, for the way the Carousel catalyzed the growth of the town, and for the pride locals derived from it, Bobby Baker's image should be carved in stone alongside the those of Ocean City's most revered founding fathers. Third, virtually everyone loved him. This last one was especially intriguing, considering the infamy that is associated with his name. Internet-based accounts tie Baker to everything from greed and corruption to the assassination of JFK, yet like your family's most beloved uncle, the stigma of scandal seems to roll off his back like water off a South Carolina goose.

The Time

In many ways, Ocean City was just waking up to a new day when Bobby Baker pulled into town. Local boys were just discovering the joys of a California pastime called surfing. Commerce and tourism were already established, but with OC extending only as far as 41th St., it was hardly an international destination spot and certainly in the shadow of places like Atlantic City. But Baker knew that the New Jersey beach resort was rapidly declining and that tourists would be hungry for an alternative. At the same time, he needed someplace off the beaten path where his powerful D.C. associates could play outside the view of a headline-hungry press corps and an intruding public. Ocean City was the perfect place.

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5 comments:

Anonymous said...

EXCELLENT article on some OC history.
The reporter should next do a story about Max Berg, an incredibly interesting person that jump-started the hi-rise revolution in town.

Anonymous said...

It had quite the reputation.Had kind of a Vegas glow to it sitting out there all alone at night.

Anonymous said...

I remember my brother and I riding the elevators with no doors when they started the high-rise part, and the construction forman chasing us off the property.
This article was well written and brings back fond memories. We would skate there all the time.

Anonymous said...

Indeed was different times back then. Fun too!

Good ol Wayne Cannon, Mr. OC in many eyes around these parts!!!

Anonymous said...

First date with my future(and current wife) 1970
Admirals playing great tunes!