Cape May: Then and Now [photos]

One of the reasons Cape May remains a popular East Coast destination is its beautifully restored Victorian-era hotels and B&B’s. There are so many historic buildings here that the entire city of Cape May was added to the National Register of Historic Places in in 1970.

Visiting Cape May is like travelling back in time a hundred years. We recently noticed many old postcards appearing on a Cape May fan page on Facebook.  The photos show what Cape May looked like in the early 1900’s when the city’s roads were unpaved and the railroads ruled. 

One of the postcards shows the West Jersey Railroad train station at Beach Drive. Imagine stepping off a train and feeling the sea breeze hit you. Today, if you were standing there you might smell mahi-mahi fish tacos at the Ocean View Diner. 

The owner of the postcards is Richard Gibbs who visits Cape May several times a year from his home in Essex Fells in Northern New Jersey. Gibbs started collecting postcards after staying at the Inn at 22 Jackson and becoming friends with the owners. 

His collection of postcards can change the way you see modern Cape May. It reminds you that the Cape May we see today is itself unique and and generations from now some buildings could be gone forever. 

We hope you enjoy looking through Richard Gibb’s postcards that give us a window into the past of one of New Jersey’s most celebrated towns.

Gibbs recommends anyone interested in seeing more older Cape May postcards find a copy of Cape May in Vintage Postcards by Don Pocher. Several of Gibb’s postcards are also featured in the book.  

Editor’s note: We did our best to ensure the accuracy of the locations of the postcards. But if you think the location stated in the captions is not correct please leave a comment below and we’ll as our panel of experts at Cape May Good Times to weigh in. 

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