The Doo Wop Architecture

of Wildwood Crest

In the last decade Wildwood and Wildwood Crest have become literally world famous for their abundant Doo Wop architecture. But what exactly is Doo Wop architecture?

Doo Wop is a term coined by MAC (the Mid-Atlantic Center For The Arts) in the early 1990s to describe the unique, space-age architectural style that was common in the 1950s and 1960s that incorporated modern, sweeping angles, bright colors, starbursts, boomerang shapes, plastic palm trees, and angular wall and roof styles. (It was named after a music style popular at that time, sung by groups like The Turbans and The Ink Spots.) Other parts of the country refer to the Doo Wop style as “Googie” or “Populuxe” architecture. The first motel to reflect this style in Wildwood Crest was the Ebb Tide Motel at 5711 Atlantic Avenue, built in 1957. Many of the Doo Wop motels (including the Ebb Tide) were built by Will and Lou Morey, who specialized in such designs.

The different categories of Doo Wop architecture include:

1) Modern/Blast Off: Glass walled, angular roof style that brings to mind the jet-age airports of the 1950s and 1960s. (Satellite and Admiral Motels)

2) Vroom: Architectural movement expressed in angular, forward-thrusting and pointed building elements. (Ebb Tide, Pan American and Bel Air Motels; Surfside Restaurant)

3) Tiki/Polynesian: Reflects the fascination with the South Pacific, incorporating plastic palm trees and tiki heads in abundance. (Tahiti, Waikiki, Kona Kai and Casa Bahama Motels)

4) Chinatown Revival: Reflects interest in exotic foreign travel, particularly the orient. (Singapore Motel)

5) Phony Colonee: A patriotic style that reflects Colonial American brick and lamppost elements. (Saratoga and Carriage Stop Motels)

Admiral Motel  7200 Ocean Avenue (1964). Original owners Eugene and Anne Davolos.  Designed and built by Lou Morey.  Doo Wop style: Modern/Blast Off.

Ala Kai Motel  8301 Atlantic Avenue (1963). Original owners Kurt and Gertrude Burghold.  Doo Wop style: Tiki/Polynesian.

Caribbean Motel  5600 Ocean Avenue (1958). Original owners: Dominic and Julie Rossi.  Designed and built by Lou Morey.  Doo Wop style: Tiki/Polynesian/Modern.

Caribbean Motel’s unusual, horseshoe-shaped pool.

Casa Bahama Motel  7301 Atlantic Avenue (1959). Original owners: Chester & Catherine Jastremski.  Doo Wop style: Tiki/Polynesian.  (Demolished in February of 2005.)

Casa Bahama pool area close up.

Casa Bahama‘s artificial palm trees, typical of those in Wildwood since 1958.
(Official name: Palmus plasticus wildwoodii.)

Casa Bahama‘s classic neon sign.

Ebb Tide Motel  5711 Atlantic Avenue (1957). Original owners: Harry Stokes, Jr. and Margaret Stokes, Albert and Agnes Beers.  Designed by Lou Morey; built by Will and Lou Morey.  Doo Wop style: Vroom.  (Demolished in December of 2003).

Ebb Tide detail, showing its unusual slanted walls.

Jolly Roger Motel 6805 Atlantic Avenue (1959). Original owner: Palmer Way. Designed by Lou Morey; built by Will and Lou Morey.  Doo Wop style: Modern/Blast Off.

Kona Kai Motel (1968), 7300 Ocean Avenue. Original owner: Manuel Santos.  Designed and built by Lou Morey.  Doo Wop style: Tiki/Polynesian.  (Demolished in January of 2006)

Satellite Motel 5909 Atlantic Avenue (1958). Original owners: Will and Jacqueline Morey.  Designed and built by Will Morey.  Doo Wop style: Modern/Blast Off.   (Demolished in October of 2004.)

Satellite Motel pool area.

Satellite Motel roof.  Classic Doo Wop upswept boomerang style.

Schumann’s Restaurant  5901 Atlantic Avenue (1956).  Original Owners: William G. and Mary E. Schumann.  Designed and built by Will Morey.
Doo Wop style: Modern/Blast Off.  (Demolished in 2003.)

Surfside Restaurant  5601 Ocean Avenue (1963). Original owner: Thomas Michael John Sr. Opened July 4, 1963.  Doo Wop style: Vroom. (Demolished in October of 2002.)

Surfside Restaurant interior; October, 2002.

Tahiti Motel 7411 Atlantic Avenue (1963). Original owner: Robert Gerhardt Jr.  Doo Wop style: Tiki/Polynesian. (Demolished in December of 2004.)