Old Orchard Beach in Maine

Friday, 24 March 2023 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General
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Old Orchard Beach Pier © flickr.com - Paul VanDerWerf/cc-by-2.0

Old Orchard Beach Pier © flickr.com – Paul VanDerWerf/cc-by-2.0

Old Orchard Beach is a resort town and census-designated place (CDP) in York County, Maine, United States. The population was 8,960 at the 2020 census. It is part of the PortlandSouth PortlandBiddeford, Maine Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Located on the inner side of Saco Bay on the Atlantic Ocean, the town is a popular seaside resort. The downtown contains many tourist-oriented businesses, including clam shacks and T-shirt shops. A wooden pier on the beach contains many other tourist businesses, including a variety of souvenir shops. The seven mile (11 km) long beach actually covers three different towns (Scarborough, Old Orchard Beach, and Saco, north to south), and is lined with many beach residential properties, condominiums, motels and bed and breakfasts.

In 1829 the first Public House opened. In 1837 tourists were paying a small amount to stay at a local farm while they visited the area. In 1942, trains could be taken from Boston to Portland. Over the years Old Orchard developed into a major resort. At one point, planes were able to take off from the beach, as well as, some automobiles racing on the sand. Most of the large hotels were destroyed in the fire of 1907. The oldest hotel still standing on the beachfront in Old Orchard at this time is The Ocean House Hotel & Motel, circa 1895, located at 71 West Grand Avenue. It retains its original parlors and character. In 1923, when discrimination in lodging was rampant and Black musicians were denied rooms in other local hotels, the Cummings’ Guest House opened at 110 Portland Avenue to offer lodging to Black visitors. It was operated by Rose and Edward Cummings Jr. and prominent guests included Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway, Count Basie, and Lionel Hampton. The guest house operated until 1993.

Ferris Wheel © flickr.com - Andrew Malone/cc-by-2.0 Jordan Hall, part of Ocean Park Historic Buildings © Magicpiano/cc-by-sa-3.0 Old Orchard Beach Pier © flickr.com - Paul VanDerWerf/cc-by-2.0 Old Orchard Beach Pier © flickr.com - Paul VanDerWerf/cc-by-2.0 © flickr.com - Paul VanDerWerf/cc-by-2.0 © flickr.com - Paul VanDerWerf/cc-by-2.0
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Jordan Hall, part of Ocean Park Historic Buildings © Magicpiano/cc-by-sa-3.0
The seaside amusement park Palace Playland is located in Old Orchard Beach. The amusement park dates back to 1902 and sits on four acres of beachfront property. Palace Playland is one of the last old-timey oceanside amusement parks in New England. Old Orchard Beach was home to the first carousel in the United States, and in the past there were two carousels with hand-carved horses and other animals. Noah’s Ark, a kid-friendly, boat-shaped funhouse with hand-carved figures of Noah and his family, was designed to provide an exciting but not frightening experience for a 5-year-old. The entire structure would rock back and forth while guests meandered through dark passages. Colored lights would flash, loud klaxons would sound, and compressed air would shoot from the floor. On the Jack and Jill slide, two people would be placed on a large hemp mat in a wooden bucket, which would take them to the top of a 50-foot (15 m) tall tower and dump them onto a metal slide for a quick ride down. The current 2019 version of Palace Playland consists of a newly built Ferris wheel, a 24,000-square-foot (2,200 m²) arcade, and 25 rides for both children and adults. The new Ferris wheel replaces the 70-foot (21 m) tall, decades old Sunwheel with one that is environmentally sound and technologically superior. and a brand new roller coaster opening in 2018 known as the “sea viper”. Every Thursday the beach has a firework show at the pier at night. This occurs in the summer from Memorial Day until Labor Day.

Three versions of the Pier were constructed by people and modified by nature. The first, 1,770 feet (540 m) long, was built of steel in 1898. When the ribbon was cut on July 2, 1898, it was a “global cultural icon,” at 1,825 feet the longest steel pier in the world, created by Berlin Iron Bridge Co. at a cost of $38,000. At its end was the Pier Casino, a ballroom with room for 5,000 dancers. Shortly after its completion a storm reduced its length by 150 feet (46 m). It was rebuilt, but 10 years later, after another storm, the pier was shortened to 700 feet (210 m) and the Casino was moved. In the interwar period, the Casino hosted such acts as Guy Lombardo, Louis Armstrong, Benny Goodman, Xavier Cugat and Frank Sinatra. After the war Old Orchard became somewhat downscale, becoming known as a destination for blue-collar partygoers. A fire in 1969 destroyed Noah’s Ark, the two carousels, the Whale’s Mouth, the Mine Ride, and the Jack and Jill slide. The Casino was demolished in 1970. The current incarnation of the pier was built in 1980 after being destroyed by a blizzard in 1978. The current structure stretches 500 feet (150 m) into the Atlantic Ocean. The wooden walk way is lined with souvenir shops, carnival-style foods, and a night club at the end of the pier.

Read more on VisitMaine.com – Old Orchard Beach, Wikivoyage Old Orchard Beach and Wikipedia Old Orchard Beach (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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