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Founders of Ocean Park

We are fortunate to have two histories of Ocean Park (as noted at the end of this paget) to help us understand the role and activities of the Ocean Park Association. They have remained largely unchanged since 1881.

As determined by the Founders,  there are two functions of the Ocean Park Association—the property function and the Assembly (summer program) function.

Following the incorporation of Ocean Park in 1881, the Directors of the Association voted to purchase the so-called Guilford property that was situated in Old Orchard comprising 45 acres—29 of which embrace a pine grove and a small border of marsh. This acreage was purchased from the heirs of William D. Guilford and became the nucleus of the present Ocean Park, comprising the streets Randall, Temple, and Colby and from the railroad tracks to the beach. This was the significant beginning of Ocean Park.

Over the ensuing years the Directors of the Association added to the footprint of Ocean Park through the purchase of surrounding acreage from individuals such as Benjamin C. Jordan (B. C. Jordan Hall) and organizations such as the Old Orchard Beach Camp Meeting Association (founded by Methodists). The Ocean Park Development Corporation secured the land adjacent to the Goosefare Brook, renaming it Ocean Foreside. These properties now fall within the geographical limits of Ocean Park.

Following the first years of Ocean Park's existence, the directors spent (for the time) large amounts of money laying out streets, cutting through avenues, and laying out house lots (some three hundred lots initially). The original subdivided lots were uniform and measured 50 feet  by 60 feet. Currents owners of these original lots can find restrictions in their deeds that require Association approval for the sale of their property. This was a condition imposed by the Founders in 1881. Over the years additional acreage (noted above) was purchased to expand the footprint of Ocean Park.

There is a long history of the Association owning commercial buildings (in addition to the historic non-commercial buildings such as the Temple, Porter Hall, Jordan Hall, the Rec Hall, the Memorial Library, and the Cheney Cottage.) Commercial buildings such as the Post Office, the Variety Store, the Grocery Store and the Gift Shop were thought to be vital to the livability of the community. While the Association owns and manages the Post Office, the other properties are leased to individuals according to the restrictions placed by the Founders upon use and maintenance of property owned by the Association. From the outset, certain functions were reserved for the Variety Store and others for the Grocery Store.

Due to the farsightedness of the Founders, there was intense personal interest then—and through the years since—of the members of the Ocean Park Association to keep Ocean Park a desirable family place. And even now, tobacco and liquor are forbidden to be sold. However, this is all part of the plan "keep the place non-commercial and apart from the "rowdyism" the founders sought to avoid.

The Story of Ocean Park by Adelbert M. Jakeman, published by the Ocean Park Association, Ocean Park, Maine, 1956.
Centennial History of Ocean Park, ME 1881-1981 by Adelbert M. Jakeman, published by the Ocean Park Association, Ocean Park, Maine, 1956.


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