Welcome to the New Jersey History and Historic Preservation Conference

  • Cape May

    Cape May

    Cape May is the oldest seaside resort in the country and began hosting vacationers from Philadelphia who sought a healthy and pleasurable getaway in the mid-eighteenth century. Cape May is now known for its collection of Victorian period homes, second in the nation after San Francisco. In 1976, Cape May was designated as a National Historic Landmark District for the density of its Victorian period architecture.

    While you’re in the area: Climb the Cape May Lighthouse, constructed by the Army Corps of Engineers in 1859, it is the last in a series of lighthouses to occupy this site and is one of the country’s oldest lighthouses in continuous operation. Stop at Fire Control Tower No. 23, part of the immense Harbor Defense of the Delaware system known as Fort Miles, it played a major part in coastal defenses during World War II. Built in 1942, the tower was one of 15 that helped aim batteries of coastal artillery, stretching from North Wildwood, N.J. to Bethany Beach, DE. A must see for architectural enthusiasts, the Emlen Physick Estate offers visitors a look back at our nation’s Victorian past. As the grandson of Dr. Philip Syng Physick – regarded as the father of American surgery – Emlen Physick inherited the family estate after his father’s death in 1859. The house was designed by renowned Victorian architect Frank Furness and considered rather avant garde for the time period.