It began with an advertisement in a Philadelphia newspaper in 1801. Soon, city dwellers were descending on Cape May, at the tip of the Jersey Shore, and the American seaside vacation was born. Presidents stayed in Cape May, and famous industrialists from the north mixed with renowned plantation owners from the south. But the Civil War and an inferno that destroyed forty acres of majestic beachfront hotels sent Cape May lurching toward oblivion. During two world wars, the town hosted a huge garrison of soldiers and sailors, and the city was front-page news when a German U-boat surrendered off its coast in 1945. It took a bitter battle between the city and preservationists for Cape May to be reborn. Ben Miller tells the compelling story of how Cape May went from boom to bust and back again in this lavishly illustrated, meticulously researched book.
Ben Miller has been researching the history of Cape May for a decade and is the author of the column ""The Way We Were"" in Exit Zero magazine.