A century-old iconic Boardwalk property is poised for demolition
by the end of this year after a Worcester County Circuit Court judge ruled in favor of Ocean City last month. The decision ends a dispute over ownership of land the Dumser's Dairyland building sits upon.
Judge Dale Cathell ruled that Nathans Associates had no valid claim to the property after a previous lease with the town expired last year. Nathans Associates are the heirs to the original property owner of the location where Dumser's Dairyland ice cream parlor resides on the east side of the Boardwalk at South Division Street.
Unless an agreement between Nathans Associates and the town is reached by Dec. 31, the building must be physically removed or demolished by then.
One of the few buildings to stand on the east side of the Boardwalk, the original structure, rebuilt and now occupied by Dumser's, was first built around 1912 by Nathan Rapoport.
For Jay Seeks of Bridgeville, Pennsylvania, the looming possibility of a Boardwalk landmark disappearing is saddening.
"It's like so much else going on in America — history coming down everywhere you can see," said Seeks, who has been visiting family in the town since the 1970s.
"I think some things are more important than land rights for Ocean City, like keeping its landmarks where they've always been," he said.
Mona Strauss, granddaughter of Nathan Rapoport, declined to go on the record at length, offering only a brief comment on the matter.
"As long as we have been a part of the fabric of the Boardwalk, I never imagined that this could happen," Strauss said. "We are planning an appeal."
A Facebook group called "Save Dumser’s on the Inlet and Nathan’s building in Ocean City, MD" was created and was nearing 1,000 members late Tuesday.
Don Timmons, the owner of Dumser's Dairyland, could not be reached for comment. .
Ocean City Solicitor Guy Ayres said the town is unaware of any permission or permits the town granted Rapoport to construct the original building, which Rapoport and then Nathans Associates rented from the town for 50 years.