• November 19, 2019

Alfred R. Smith led crew of 10 lifeguards in 1915 - Ocean City Sentinel: Community

A look back at the Ocean City Beach Patrol Alfred R. Smith led crew of 10 lifeguards in 1915

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Posted: Wednesday, May 20, 2015 11:24 am

OCEAN CITY — “TEN LIFEGUARDS SELECTED BY MAYOR CHAMPION; Some New Ones Among the Number” was a headline on the front page of the May 27, 1915, edition of the Ocean City Sentinel. 

The following men were appointed at the May 25 City Commission meeting: Capt. Alfred R. Smith, Joseph Krauss, Leroy Bentham, Reeves Flowers, A. Collisson, George D. Norcom, Moe Wiesenthal, Joseph Breckley, Ralph Nickerson and Ewing Corson. 

It was the sixth summer that Smith led the lifeguards. 

The following men were appointed in June: Charles Breckley, Charles Schock, Earle Breckley, Edward Rider, Harry Shourds, Reuben A. Oves, Walter Hays, Harry Ross, William J. Orr, William Johnson and Henry Scott. Dr. Ralph W. Flint was appointed beach physician. 

The Ocean City Sentinel reported the drowning of an 8-year-old boy on the front page of the June 24, 1915, edition: “LITTLE VISITOR VICTIM OF SURF.” Three young boys went swimming in the ocean on the 13th Street beach before the lifeguards went on duty and quickly got into trouble. Their screams for help were heard by Lifeguard Flowers. The newspaper reported: “Reeves Flowers, a lifeguard, was on the Boardwalk at Twelfth Street, on his way to his post at Fourteenth Street, when he heard the cries. Immediately he ran with all speed to the spot where he saw the boys struggling. With his street clothes, he dashed into the surf after the lad farthest out, shoving another toward the beach as he passed him. He reached the other child and started in with him. The lifeguard says he saw only two lads, so that it is supposed that John O’Connell sank and quickly drowned. 

“Those who saw Flowers’ work spoke of it in terms of high praise.”

The lifeguards received much applause as they marched on the Boardwalk leading the Baby Parade held on Saturday, Sept. 4.  

Mayor Joseph P. Champion stopped by the 10th Street tent on Labor Day to thank the lifeguards for keeping the bathers safe and congratulated them for another summer of no drownings on a lifeguard-protected beach.


Ocean City Firsts


1880 — First boardwalk built from Second Street wharf to Fourth Street and West Avenue

1884 — First vote for president of the United States: Ocean City voted for Republican James G. Blaine, but Democrat Grover Cleveland won

1893 — First daily newspaper: The Ocean City Daily Reporter came out every afternoon (except Sunday) in July and August

1895 — First building dedicated to young people of Ocean City: Young People’s Temple on the Auditorium grounds

1900 — First law passed regulating the speed of locomotive engines, railroad cars, motorcars on West Avenue between 3rd and 12th streets. They were not permitted to exceed 4 mph.

1906 — First time a record of the automobiles in Ocean City was made by Chief of Police Samuel B. Scull. On July 26, he reported there were 21 automobiles in town.

1917 — First automobile bridge over Corson’s Inlet connecting Ocean City and Strathmere opened

1922 — First movies shown in the 2,000-seat Moorlyn Theatre

1922 — First use of highway lighthouses to advertise America’s Greatest Family Resort

1940 — First time the census showed a drop in the city’s population: 5,525 in 1930; 4,672 in 1940

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