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Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette Logo Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette


Pines homeowner discusses early community amenities

OCEAN PINES—Ocean Pines is known for its amenities,
including a top notch golf course, well-appointed swimming pools and the
upcoming next generation of its popular Yacht Club. But former Boise Cascade
executive Col. Howard Hall, who has been there since the beginning, says the
homes started as a campsite and the amenities started with the Ocean Pines

The month-long Ocean Pines 45th anniversary celebration
continues this weekend with a luau-themed buffet and
free concert by Maryland native and former American Idol finalist Jimmy
Charles and his band. It will be at the Ocean Pines Yacht Club
&Marina from 6-10 p.m.

Hall recalled the early years of Ocean Pines, when the
current site of White Horse Park and the Community Center was used as a
campground, which has been long since sold and relocated to a site off
Beauchamp Road. A convenience store was once located where the Pine’eer Craft
Shop now stands. It was built by developer Boise Cascade for the 20 or so
families who had set up tents or campers as they waited for water and sewer
hook ups as their homes were being built.

Hall is one Ocean Pines’ original purchasers and still lives
in the first residential development site, White Sail Circle. The lot cost
$3,500. The lots were originally sold as recreational developments, he said,
“But over the years it changed to a permanent home development.”

Prior to coming to the Pines, Hall had bought a farm in
LaPlata after retiring from the Army Signal Corp following 30 years of military
service. He first heard about Ocean Pines at a cocktail party when he and his
late wife Marianne were invited to take a look at the development. They were
told they could purchase a lot with 10 percent down and 10 percent interest and
pay it over 10 years, he said. They went for it.

Afterward, he said, “My wife and I looked at each other and
asked ourselves ‘What have we done?’”

He was then offered the job as Ocean Pines’ first recreation

The developer used the stables to help sell the property,
Hall said. The stables were located in the area where the Sports Core and
Worcester County Library are now. “It was the highlight of Ocean Pines at that
time. Beautiful, beautiful stables,” Hall said.

It was understood that the amenity would not be permanent,
he said, but after selling off all lots before schedule Boise Cascade moved out
of the Pines. When it did, the company closed the stables and Hall bought them,
leasing the land from Chase Bank. They offered riding lessons, pony rides for
children, trail rides for adults and horse shows, Hall said.

Then in 1984, Chase Bank decided it did not want the liability
of stables on its property, Hall said. The cost to move the stables was
prohibitive, so the bank sold them to an investor from Pocomoke who
disassembled the building and reassembled it as a warehouse and garage at
another location.

In addition to the stable the first amenities offered were
the Swim and Racquet Club, Beach Club,and Golf Club. In the early 1970s, Ocean
Pines added its Sports Core Pool and tennis and racquet courts. There was
onsite security at both the North and South gates, Hall said.

It was clear that the lure of the stables was an enjoyment
for Hall, who said he had been a horseman all his life. He and his late wife
were married for 64 years. He has three daughters, two grandchildren a one
great-grandchild, who he said proudly, is an equestrian.

Hall still lives in his
original home on a peaceful, well-manicured lot bulk headed on the
cross-section of two canals. Of the current expansion of the Ocean Pines
community, he said, “Never in my wildest dreams did I think it would develop as
it has today.”