1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Cape May
CAPE MAY, a city and watering-place of Cape May county, New Jersey, U.S.A., on the Atlantic coast, 2 m. E.N.E. of Cape May, the S. extremity of the state, and about 80 m. S. by E. of Philadelphia. Pop. (1890) 2136; (1900) 2257; (1905) 3006; (1910) 2471. Cape May is served by the Maryland, Delaware & Virginia (by ferry to Lewes, Delaware), the West Jersey & Seashore (Pennsylvania system), and the Atlantic City (Reading system) railways, and, during the summer season, by steamboat to Philadelphia. The principal part of the city is on a peninsula (formerly Cape Island) between the ocean and Cold Spring inlet, which has been dredged and is protected by jetties to make a suitable harbour. The further improvement of the inlet and the harbour was authorized by Congress in 1907. On the ocean side, along a hard sand beach 5 m. long, is the Esplanade. There are numerous hotels and handsome cottages for summer visitors, who come especially from Philadelphia, from New York, from the South and from the West. Cape May offers good bathing, yachting and fishing, with driving and hunting in the wooded country inland from the coast. At Cape May Point is the Cape May lighthouse, 145 ft. high, built in 1800 and rebuilt in 1859. In the city are canneries of vegetables and fruit, glass-works and a gold-beating establishment. Fish and oysters are exported. Cape May was named by Cornelis Jacobsen Mey, director of the Prince Hendrick (Delaware) river for the West India Company of Holland, who took possession of the river in 1623, and planted the short-lived colony of Fort Nassau 4 m. below Philadelphia, near the present Gloucester City, N.J. Cape May was settled about 1699,—a previous attempt to settle here made by Samuel Blommaert in 1631 was unsuccessful. It was an important whaling port early in the 18th century, and became prominent as a watering-place late in that century. It was incorporated as the borough of Cape Island in 1848, and chartered as the city of Cape Island in 1851; in 1869 the name was changed to Cape May.