Ocean City Life Saving Station Museum
A Local Perspective
by Dale Cathell, Judge, Maryland Court of Appeals (Retired)
June 2015

Lagoon Restaurant
The 1950s by Dale Cathell

In the 1950s my future father-in-law was asked by a client, who I think was Dick “Moneybags” Hall, to accept three oceanfront blocks north of the then developed Ocean City in lieu of a $500 fee. My father-in-law insisted on the money and turned down the offer of the three blocks. There were times when the general consensus was that the area of north Ocean City was worthless.
“Moneybags” Hall was one of Ocean City’s original characters. He was married to a woman named “Iggy” Hall, who owned the Golden Quarter farm on Ayres Creek in the West Ocean City/Berlin area. I believe that “Iggy” was a true albino. She had chalk white skin, bright white hair and pink eyes. She was very, very smart. She and “Moneybags” started one of the first sit-down, upscale restaurants in the area. It was called “The Lagoon”, and sat at the head of a gut or lagoon abutting on the Coastal Highway. It is now incorporated into the “Embers” restaurant property. For a while, it and “Mario’s” were the major non-crab house eateries in town, outside of some of the hotels on the boardwalk.
“Moneybags” was a renowned imbiber of spirits and frequented a bar and restaurant owned by Robe Holland. I tended the bar. Robe would embarrass “Moneybags” by accusing him of being over-tight with his money to such an extent that “Moneybags” would usually leave me an exorbitant tip when he left. He gave me the first $20 tip I ever received.
“Moneybags” hung around with a local bar owner, Mitch Parker (the elder), and with a gambler and character from the south end of the county – Brantly Wadkins. On one occasion, Mitch Parker was driving Brantly home from a race track in New Jersey on the Jersey Turnpike. Brantly kept urging Mitch to speed up so they could get home. They were doing 80 or 90 mph when the cops stopped them. Brantly told Mitch to let him talk to the officer when the officer appeared at the driver’s window. When the officer appeared, Brantly leaned over and told the officer, “Officer, I’m glad you stopped this crazy son-of-a bitch. I thought he was going to kill me.” Brantly and Mitch spent the night in jail until Brantly got someone to bring the bail money.
“Moneybags”, Charlie Holland and Ray Jarvis, Sr., were three of the original pioneers in the real estate industry. Charlie mostly bought; Ray mostly sold; and “Moneybags” did a little of everything. On one occasion, I was riding with Mr. Jarvis from Salisbury to Ocean City. It was 100 mph all the way, and Mr. Jarvis never caught a red light until he got to the bottom of the Rt. 50 bridge. When he stopped I opened my door, got out and just walked away. I never said a word. I was too frightened to speak.
The era when those types of characters thrived is probably gone forever. Political correctness now rules. But, it was fun while it lasted.