Victorian Cape May was known for its grand hotels, ornate cottages, and the finest beach on the Atlantic coast. Standing proudly upon the beach at Decatur was the legendary Iron Pier. It was lined with old-fashioned amusements and vintage shops of all varieties, leading towards a majestic opera house, one thousand feet out over the ocean. A lower deck was available for fishermen. The pier featured a unique hexagon steamship terminal with the ability to dock six ships at once.
The Iron Pier was built in 1884, on the site of Victor Denizot’s old wooden pier, which had been lost to a violent storm earlier that January. Five years earlier, two hundred feet of Denizot’s pier were burned in the Great Inferno of 1878, and another five hundred and fifty feet were ripped off in a powerful storm. The story of the original Iron Pier ends abruptly in 1909, when it was hit and fatally damaged by one of the barges filled with the giant rocks used to create Cold Spring Inlet.