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The Road Not Taken: An Excerpt from “The Summer City by the Sea”

A contemporary description of the 1878 pre-fire Cape May skyline, observed from the deck of a passing sailboat, spoke of the “flashing lines of festival lights connecting the continuous row of monstrous four-floored buildings, seeming to touch each other…”

These lights were anchored on each end by railroad properties, the Sea Breeze Excursion House on the western end of the city and the great Stockton on the east. Although both of these hotels survived the inferno, the “continuous row of monstrous buildings” between them was now reduced to ashes.