Scenic USA - New Jersey
Each day Scenic USA presents a new and interesting photo feature from somewhere in the United States. Chosen from a wide variety
of historic sites, city scenes, backcountry byways, points of interest and America's best parklands, this site offers the viewer hundreds
of unique vacation destinations and photographic subjects. Each feature is coupled with a brief explanation. For further detailed
information, links to other sites are provided, but are never to be considered an endorsement.
Gurney Street Ladies
A fantastic escape from the big city's sweltering heat, Cape May was one of America's first seaside resorts. Affluent metropolitan area residents from New York and Philadelphia discovered Cape May in the early 1800s. Arriving by steamboat by way of the Delaware River, boarding houses and first-class hotels entertained a wave of summer guests. During the mid 1800s, Cape May's famous guests included Henry Clay, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Pierce and Ulysses Grant.
Today, the entire city has been honored with a National Historic Landmark District designation. You'll find the streets are lined with late Victorian, stick and shingle style cottages, bed and breakfasts, and row homes. An area encompassing 380 acres, the Cape May Historic District includes over 600 buildings. Although fire destroyed large sections of town several times, wealthy residents were quick to rebuild.
One of the most picturesque sights in Cape May is a row of Carpenter Gothic style cottages which line the city block of Gurney Street. Designed by Stephen Decatur Button, the Stockton Cottages were built in the 1870s. Just a short distance from the beach, well-to-do families would spend the summer on Gurney Street, bringing the entire family and their nannies. This pretty row of balloon-frame homes still bear the signature of Connecticut born Button. With more than 30 buildings in Cape May to his credit, Button's work are among some of the most impressive tour highlights. Most famous as a pioneer of metal-frame construction, his commercial buildings are still seen throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
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