BHM: The Henry Hotel
OCEAN CITY, Md. – To look at this three story brown building across from Trimper’s Rides in Ocean City, you can’t see the deep and rich history held inside.
The Henry Hotel looks like a house, but this 20 room building played a major role in Black History. Decades ago, the town only allowed Blacks to vacation at certain times of the year, called “Negro Excursion Days”.
World renowned performers like Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway, and Lionel Hampton frequently came to the town for shows but weren’t allowed to stay at any of the hotels. Research shows that’s why publications like the Green Book were created to help Black travelers find friendly businesses like the Henry Hotel.
According to records found at the NABB Center in Salisbury, the building was sold to African American Businessman Charles Henry back in 1926 for just $10. Back then it was called Henry’s Colored Hotel, but in 1954, Pearl Bonner bought it and changed the name to Henry’s Hotel.
Today, the building still stands, but hasn’t had a visitor in over a decade. The nearly 100 year old structure sits quietly on the corner of Division and Baltimore.