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.
People have been vacationing on Cape Island for more than 200 years and residents have been farming the acreage here for much longer than that. In fact it was the availability of fresh food that was imperative to Cape May’s growth as a resort community.
She was just one of many large hotels in the late 1800s that catered to the elite. Massive hotels they were, with broad verandahs and sweeping lawns that faced the ocean. John Philip Sousa wrote two songs for Congress Hall. In fact, he introduced them on her lawn. For she was well-known across the nation… Read more »
What began as a simple boarding house soon grew into a reputable hotel under the direction of Colonel Henry Sawyer. He was a local hero — it was said that every man, woman and child in Cape May could recite Sawyer’s “Lottery of Death” story by heart.
“Pisscchhh! pssch, pssch, pssch.” It woke me very early one morning when I was living on Seagrove Avenue, out by Cape May Point. It was a very strange sound. I got out of bed and looked through the window to find what my sleepy eyes perceived as aliens. Two of them stood in my yard,… Read more »