American Beach - A Minority at its Leisure

With the post-war building boom, American Beach became “an entrepreneur’s dream,” in the words of local historian Marsha Dean Phelts. Commercial establishments – motels, guest houses, restaurants, nightclubs – sprang up along with new summer homes, and American Beach became a magnet for vacationing African Americans from across the country. Visitors could find rooms at the A. L. Lewis Motel, Williams’s Guest Lodge, and Cowart’s Motel and Restaurant. Homeowners took in additional vacationers or rented out their homes for part of the summer. For day visitors, excursion buses ran between nearby minority communities and the beach. Out on the beach, there were surf fishing and shell gathering, beauty contests and automobile races, and the warmth of friendly faces. A number of small shops sold snacks and ice cream. The Rendezvous and Ocean-Vu-Inn offered dining and dancing. After dark, there was live entertainment.

Proceed to 1964, Beginning of the End.

Return to History of American Beach.

Last updated: December 21, 2015

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