West Cape May Real Estate and History
West Cape May Real Estate & History
West Cape May is one of four towns that comprise Cape Island in Cape May County. The Borough's history goes back to the time of the Lenape Native Americans and several buildings date to the Colonial period. West Cape May was settled by Mayflower descendants, whalers and former slaves (the Borough has reported ties to the Underground Railroad).
From 1881 to 1931, the Hastings Goldbeating Company was located in the Borough employing women to pound one-inch strips of gold into gossamer-thin sheets used for decorative arts. Women still did the "booking" of gold leaf sheets until 1961. A plaque indicating the location of the factory can be found on Goldbeaten Alley. It was this business, along with real estate speculation and subdivision of the land, that led to the Borough's incorporation in 1884.
West Cape May was formerly known as Eldredge. West Cape May was incorporated as a borough by an Act of the New Jersey Legislature on April 17, 1884, from portions of Lower Township, based on the results of a referendum held two days earlier. The borough was reincorporated on April 11, 1890, and again on May 4, 1897.
The area has a rich agricultural history which continues to be celebrated each year with a summer farmers' market, and strawberry, tomato and lima bean festivals. It has been known as the "Lima Bean Capital of the World." The Lima Bean Festival is an annual event held in West Cape May, New Jersey, the "Lima Bean Capital of the World", and is the world's only such celebration. It is held annually on the Saturday of Columbus Day weekend in Wilbraham Park.
The historic core of the Borough was placed on the National Register of Historic Places along with sections of the City of Cape May in 1976.