- Associated Press - Sunday, July 27, 2014

WILDWOOD, N.J. (AP) - Tim Maher knew the doo-wop motels of the Wildwoods were in trouble.

A booming real estate market meant the island’s 1950s and 1960s-era properties were being torn down and replaced with rows of very un-doo-wop, very profitable condominiums.

So Maher, of Macungie, Pa., literally took to the streets, walking and riding a bike up and down the island to take pictures and preserve the motels - at least on camera. “We wanted to remember it,” he told The Press of Atlantic City (http://bit.ly/1rBSprd).

The photographs, of places like the now-demolished Rio Motel, were later made into a collage that hangs in his grandson Braxton’s bedroom.

“He has a doo-wop bedroom,” said Braxton’s mother Lindsey Maher, 28, as she held the 13-month old.

What is doo wop? “It’s colorful and it’s musical,” said Tim Maher, 56.

The iconic doo-wop motels, with their neon signs, pastel trim and angular roof lines, have become synonymous with the Wildwoods and supporters continue to work for their preservation.

They also take heart in efforts to duplicate the style.

This June, for instance, Universal Orlando opened its newest hotel, Cabana Bay Beach Resort, complete with a performance by The Beach Boys.

According to Universal’s Web site, ” The brand-new hotel features a total of 1,800 moderate and value priced rooms that evoke the classic, retro-feel of iconic beach resorts from the 1950s and 60s.”

“Located on-site at Universal Orlando Resort, the new hotel is a destination within itself - featuring a stunning design with bold colors, retro-inspired architecture and sweeping vistas that transport guests back to a time of relaxation and endless family fun,” the company said.

“Copying things is a wonderful form of flattery,” said Jack Morey, vice president of Morey’s Piers, doo-wop enthusiast, and founding member of the Doo Wop Preservation League

Universal’s new addition, he said, “adds to the already overwhelming amount of confirmation that the mid-1950s and 1960s period was a really unique part of American culture.”

Motels like the Chateau Bleu in North Wildwood and the Caribbean in Wildwood Crest already appear on the state and national registers of historic places and the Moreys are hoping to add the Pan American to the list.

The motel, built in 1964, on Ocean Avenue is hard to miss with its spinning Pan Am globe on the roof. The owners have had a preliminary meeting with state officials and hope the motel will win the historic designation.

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