Scenic USA - New Jersey

Cape May Historic District

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The Abbey - Cape May, New Jersey

Photos by Ben Prepelka
Scenic USA Artist Website


     Located on the southern most point of the New Jersey peninsula, Cape May is billed as the America's oldest seaside resort. The first wave of wealthy Philadelphians arrived while present day United States was still a British colony, traveling by wagon, stage coach and schooners. Enjoying the clear salt air and cool summer breezes, visitors were put-up in area homes, taverns and rustic inns. Newspaper advertisements described Cape May as the place to frolic on the beach and indulge in the bounty of the sea.
     By the mid 1800s, Cape May attracted a large group of investors, insistent on building the largest hotel in the world. Already a blossoming resort community, developers envisioned music pavilions, grand ballrooms and the finest restaurants. A devastating fire consumed the unfinished 3500 room hotel and intense Atlantic storms plagued the city during late 19th century. Cape May continued its ups and downs the following century, during a time when some city leaders saw a chance to save the city's landmarks and historic homes. Aided by the New Jersey turnpike, the Washington Street Mall, and an urban renewal grant, Cape May's Historic District was spared from a movement to modernize the city.
     The Abbey, a gothic revival standout, appears much as it did in 1870 when completed. Built by Senator John McCreary, Beach Avenue Historic Homes - Cape May Historic District, New Jersey a coal baron from Pennsylvania, the four story house featured 10 and 12 foot ceilings, steep pitched roofs, arched windows and plenty of gingerbread trim. Escaping the 1878 fire, The Abbey survives to this day as a bed and breakfast.
     More 19th century architecture may be enjoyed along Beach Street. While the entire town listed of the National Register of Historic Places, itís the beach view that sets this line of homes apart from the rest. Another Victorian era home at 931 Beach Avenue has been converted into a guest house. With spectacular oceans views, guests are sure to continue enjoying nation's oldest seaside resort.

   Area Map


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