Explore the Rich History of the Jersey Cape

Should auld (old) acquaintance be forgot? Never at the Jersey Cape! We invite you to explore the rich history of the Jersey Cape and discover what’s old is new in 2021.

From Colonial Days to the Civil War, ship building to Doo Wop shoppes – the Jersey Cape played a role in just about every important era of American History, and we invite you to plan a trip to learn more.

Suggested Historical Itineraries:

Start at the Beginning – Did you know the Lenni-Lenape Indians were the first beach lovers at the Jersey Cape? Take a stroll on Sunset Beach in Cape May Point to hunt for quartz crystals known as “Cape May Diamonds” which were collected by Native Americans and used in trading. Then check out the pristine natural beauty of Lake Nummy at Belleplain State Forest, named for the Lenni Lenape Chief known as King Nummy.

Whale Hello Europeans– In the late 1600’s fishermen, attracted to the Delaware Bay by the abundance of whales, made the first European settlements. Have your own whale and dolphin spotting adventure aboard our local fleet including the Cape May Whale Watcher, Thundercat Dolphin Watch, Silver Bullet Tours and Cape May Whale Watch & Research Center. Then learn about how the early fleets were built at Dennis Creek Landing by visiting the Dennis Township Old School House Museum and History Center.

Ship Shape Shore! – Check out the light houses and live saving stations used to keep seafarers safe off the Jersey Cape. See the towering navigation aids at the Cape May Lighthouse in Cape May Point and Hereford Inlet Lighthouse and Gardens in North 

Wildwood. Then learn about the U-S Life Saving Service, which predated the Coast 

Guard, by visiting the Tatham Lifesaving Station in Stone Harbor and U-S Life Saving Station 30 in Ocean City. Finally see the wreckage of the SS Atlantus off Cape May Point, the most famous of the World War I concrete ships.

A Civil War Tour at the Shore – Come see the new Harriet Tubman Museum in Cape May, recognizing Tubman’s time working in the resort town to fund her missions to guide enslaved people to freedom. Then check out Historic Cold Spring Village, New Jersey’s largest living history museum with 27 restored antique buildings and a heritage farm that introduces rural life in the early 19th century. Or visit the J.W. Gandy Farmstead in Upper Township which is a preserved period farmstead from the 1800’s that housed prominent area founder John Wesley Gandy.

Colonial and Victorian Life – Imagine yourself in one of the Cape May County militias in the continental Army as you visit the Memucan Hughes Colonial House in Cape May built circa 1730 as a tavern and the family house of the Revolutionary War patriot. Then enjoy the gingerbread trim, gables, turrets and other Victorian architecture of Historic Cape May as you make your way to the Emlen Physick Estate. Finally see how tourism took off at the Jersey Cape by visiting the Tuckahoe Railroad Station in Upper Township.

World War II –Get a panoramic view from the World War II Lookout Tower in Lower Township, the last remaining restored WWII tower that was part of the Harbor Defense of the Delaware System. Then cruise north to the Naval Air Station Wildwood Aviation Museum in Rio Grande which served as an active dive-bomber squadron training facility in WWII.  Enjoy 92,000 square feet of aviation displays and hands-on fun. Finally schedule a tour to see the weapons, uniforms and other priceless donations from local WWII veterans at the American Legion Stephen C Ludlam Post 331’s World War II museum in Stone Harbor.

Shakes and Salutes – Cruise the streets of Wildwood to see the mid-20th century Doo Wop architecture and stop in a diner to grab a shake or burger before dropping by the Doo Wop Preservation League Museum. Then give a salute as you pay your respects at Wildwood’s Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall, an exact replica half the size of the official VVMW in Washington, D.C. Keep that patriotic spirit up as you visit the powerful displays about the Korean and Vietnam Wars at the Forgotten Warriors Museum at the Cape May Airport in Rio Grande.

Come learn something new in 2021 as the Jersey Cape invites you to plan a visit and explore our rich past!

Learn more details about some of these attractions with the attached Cape May County Heritage Brochure PDF and visit www.thejerseycape.com  Interested media can coordinate interviews or limited tours with the Cape May County Tourism Department by calling (609) 463-6415.