Cape May is the Southernmost place in New Jersey and is considered the country's first seaside resort. It is officially designated as a Historic Landmark City.
In the year 1609, Henry Hudson's galleon, the Half Moon, got stuck on a sand bar directly offshore, at the mouth of the Delaware Bay. According to the first mate's log entry, Captain Hudson thought he was on his way from Jamestown, Virginia to the Near East. It turned out that he was rounding what is now Cape May Point and the ship was actually headed toward New York.
In 1620, Cornelius Jacobsen Mey was exploring the Delaware River and he named the peninsula Cape Mey.
In 1878, a large fire consumed 40 acres of prime real estate including some of Cape May's finest hotels. Fire Engines from Camden were shipped via train to aid in putting out the fire.
In 2009, Cape May celebrated the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson's visit.
Since the 1800's, people have been visting Cape May and searching for the so-called 'Cape May Diamonds'. They show up on Sunset Beach and other beaches in the area. These are actually clear quartz pebbles that wash down from the Delaware River. They begin as prismatic quartz (including the color sub-varieties such as 'Smoky Quartz' and 'Amethyst') in the quartz veins alongside the Delaware River that get eroded out of the host rock and wash down the 200 miles to the shore. Collecting Cape May diamonds is a popular pastime and many tourist shops sell them polished or even as faceted stones.
Cape May is home to a memorial to fisherman who died at sea. The memorial is known as the Cape May Fisherman's Memorial. It was erected over the harbor in 1988. It is dedicated to fishermen lost at sea. It is maintained by the City of Cape May but administered by the Friends of the Cape May Fisherman’s Memorial. There is a statue and memorial stones holding the names of local fishermen who died at sea. The memorial has 75 names, starting with Andrew Jeffers, who died in 1893, and includes the 6 people who died in March 2009 with the sinking of the scalloping boat, the Lady Mary. The statue is of a fisherman's wife and her two children looking out onto the waters of Cape May Harbor. The statue is located inside a giant compass. An inscription on the base of the statue states: "He hushed the storm to a gentle breeze and the billows of the sea were stalled."
The city of Cape May is located
( 139 km )
--- heading 187o (south) from Trenton.
At the time of the 2000 census, the city of Cape May had a population of 4,034 living in 1,821 households. The median age was 47.4 yrs.
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