Greater Cape May Historical Society

Past Programs

2023 Programs and Events

Notice: Real Housewives of New Jersey with Lesley Parness : October 21 at 11:30AM Location: Lutheran Church in Cape May City

Homeowners picking the right pro. Free lecture Thursday, September 14th at 6pm, Cape May Convention Hall. Also online via zoom

Society announces Partnership with Historic Preservation Commission (HPC)

Cape May's Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) received a grant to update the guidelines for the restoration of historic properties. There are three levels of properties in Cape May: Key Contributing; Contributing; Non-Contributing. The original guidebook was the Cape May Handbook. The Society has copies of the original guidebook in our archives. The HPC announced the standards guide is now complete. The result is excellent and will make the HPC job a bit easier. The Society participated in the project by meeting with the architect Steven Smolyn. We receive many questions from homeowners for guidance and how to get started on a house project. This guide will be available in print in the construction office and other locations.

Here is the link to the complete guide on the city website (PDF)

Grant Funding and In-Kind Support

The Greater Cape May Society, a 501 (c)3 nonprofit organization, receives funds from membership, gifts to the Society, and grants administered by the Cape May County Culture & Heritage Commission and the New Jersey Historical Commission. The Society is a qualified organization of the New Jersey Cultural Trust; the NJ Council for the Humanities; and from other grant opportunities and gifts to the Society by local business and town folk who love and support history in their community.

Our work in the community as a historical society is diverse and flexible to support the many requests for history from email for private tours, consultations on Cape May history, to programming and research support for other organizations local and statewide.

  • In Kind support for the Society website is provided by logo
  • OceanFirst Community Grant
    Oceanfirst logo
  • Cape May County Cultural and History Regrant from the New Jersey Historical Commission Funds for Operating
    NJ Historical Commission

APRIL 2023

In April 23, this year, the Colonial House was recognized by MAC at the Volunteer Recognition Reception for the valuable contributions of Innkeeper who opened their doors to three or more benefit tours.

For many years, the Colonial House has supported MAC in the Christmas tours for Candlelight. Over the years, the decline in historic houses and private homes has become a challenge for MAC.

In 2001, the Chamber of Commerce of Greater Cape May membership directory listed 22 Apartments houses, 65 Bed and Breakfast, 12 Guest Houses and 31 Hotels and Motels. It is indeed a great change to Cape May over the past 20 years and a challenge for the non-profit organizations to preserve Cape May’s cultural and historical tourism in all seasons of the year.

State of New Jersey Senate and General Assembly commendations and praises are extended to the Colonial House Museum, Harry Bellangy

In contrast to other attractions, the preserved Memucan Hughes Colonial house has many travelers who seek us out to talk about Cape May history and the surrounding area. The Greater Cape May Historical Society has been the steward of the house for over 50 years.

Cape May has been our museum since our inception in 1974.

We are grateful that we have the volunteer staff to join our neighbors, the Historic House, and Private Homes tours to support this joyful and exciting Christmas season. The holiday season brings an economic impact from restaurants, overnight and weekend stays to our city and our small businesses in the town.

This year the Greater Cape May Historical Society will provide over 68 volunteer hours from our Guides for the Holiday Inn, the Christmas Candlelight and the Lamplighter Tours. In 2024, the Society will be working with MAC to provide at least two history presentations on local hidden history for Lunch and Learn.

We sincerely appreciate and recognize MAC’s celebratory afternoon to hold the Volunteer Recognition Reception. We wish to thank the Cape May MAC Board of Trustees and Cape May MAC’s volunteer Team for our Award and we thank: Congressman Jefferson Van Drew, Senator Michael Testa and Assemblymen Eric Simonsen and Antwan McClellan for their recognition of the Greater Cape May Historical Society.

May – Society joins Blue Star Museum Program

In May this year, the Society joined the Blue Star Museum program along with The Cape May County Historical & Genealogical Society Museum. Currently, our two organizations have joined the program in the county.

It is a great opportunity for connecting our local Cape May city community history to the Trainin Center Cape May, the 5th largest base in the Coast Guard, and the sole accession point for the entire enlisted workforce. The United States Coast Guard Training Center Cape May, NJ, is the Nation's only Coast Guard Recruit Training Center. The Training Center is open to the invited family members and guests of the graduating class every Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Blue Star Museums is a partnership between the National Endowment for the Arts and Blue Star Families, in collaboration with the Department of Defense and museums across America, offering free admission to the nation’s active-duty military personnel and their families, including National Guard and Reserve. The 2023 Blue Star Museums program begins on Armed Forces Day, Saturday, May 20, 2023, and ends on Labor Day, Monday, September 4, 2023.

June 15 through September 15 – The “Historian is in the house” on Saturdays.

On June 15, the Society will open the Colonial House door to our seasonal and local visitors. After September 15, you can arrange a private tour by notifying us in email at

The headquarters of the Society, incorporated in August 1974, is the Colonial House Museum c 1730, located at 653½ Washington Street, Cape May, next to Cape May City Hall.

The front room features a tavern room. Other rooms open to the public in this unsung survivor from Cape Island’s very beginning depict a colonial era cooking/eating room. A room, added in the 1930’s, is a research and meeting room.

Early spring this year, we refurbished the research and meeting room with new bookcases to hold our archives and to set up a scanning operation.

The Pennywise Archive

Pennywise Cover Pennywise interior

One of our most requested archive topics is Pennywise publication. Pennywise was created and published by Joe Barker, Editor and Louis Piron, Business Manager. His staff was small, but the creativity of the publication was a journal that covered the season's “who is who” and “what is happening in Cape May,” along with local gossip during the summer season. Just about everyone in town searched for the new edition to view who’s photograph is on the front cover and the picture key.

Picture Key

The publication gave the locals a written diary and a voice to their existence as beachgoers, busboys, waitresses, lifeguards, shop keepers, farmers, clammers, and fishermen--the hardworking people-- who supported the thousands of visitors to the town. The publications began in 1931 and ran through the war years, the cold war, the landing on the moon, on to final years in the 80’s. While the pictures, and original artwork depicting the business community are historical artifacts, the journal entry for that week was written in long hand as shown above. Sometimes easily readable in block print and other journals are in cursive—a reading skill lost by the new generations who depend on technology.

Many children and grandchildren stop by the museum to talk about Pennywise. Stop by on Saturdays the when the Historian, Harry Bellangy “is in the house.”

July 4th, 2023 - Cape May City Parade

the old Cape May Convention Center

The Society will be participating in the July 4th parade to be held at 1:00PM. In the past few years, we were in the West Cape May Christmas Parade. We have decided to parade down Beach Drive in warmer weather—a Cape May tradition in our city. (old Convention)

July 4th, 2026 - Celebrating the 250th anniversary of the 1776 establishment of the United States of America

interior of the Colonial House

Only two years away, we are planning for the United States Semi quincentennial, the 250th anniversary of the 1776 establishment of the United States of America. It will occur July 4, 2026.

The Colonial House is a unique and authentic site to visit in the city. Memucan Hughes was a paymaster in the Cape May County Militia, and his tavern was the meeting place for the news from up North. We plan to refresh our garden with colonial medicinal plants that will provide insight and education into herbs and plants and the “miseries” they cured. We are actively working to partner with other historical societies in the county for the celebration.

The Society is a Heritage Partners (Meet Our Heritage Partners - Crossroads of the American Revolution ( with the Crossroads of the American Revolution (About Crossroads of the American Revolution - Crossroads of the American Revolution ( an organization dedicated to connecting the people and places of New Jersey’s rich Revolutionary heritage to inspire community pride, stewardship, and civic engagement. The heritage area encompasses approximately 2,155 square miles in New Jersey including 212 municipalities in 14 counties, but we work with partners throughout the entire state to tell the Crossroads of the American Revolution story.

RevolutionNJ is New Jersey’s commemoration of the 250th anniversary of the founding of the United States. Crossroads of the American Revolution is the not-for-profit partner of the New Jersey Historical Commission in planning observances and commemorations, with support from the NJ Division of Travel and Tourism and the NJ Division of Parks and Forestry.

The Commemoration will happen in 2026, with events beginning as early as 2024 and running through 2033. This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for New Jersey to highlight its unique Revolutionary significance, the diverse stories of the people who lived at that time, and the lasting impact of our nation’s complex history.


MAC Victorian Weekend Historic House Tour 1 -4 PM Saturday, October 7th

The Society will open the Colonial House for a way to celebrate all things Victorian in Cape May! This will be a self-guided tour of B&B's, Inns, and private residences with a trolley shuttle. We want to show off what is unique about Cape May.

The “Real Housewives of New Jersey” – Colonial Garden Presentation by Lesley Parness

October 21 at 11:30 AM at the Lutheran Church, Pittsburg Avenue in Cape May

Four people in a garden

To prepare for the 250th celebration, the Society will renew and plant a new colonial garden. Kitchen Gardens of the 1700’s fed, healed, and clothed Early American families. The 19th century “housewife” skill set included physicke, cookery, distillation, perfumery, the making of wool, hemp, flax, dayries, brewing, and of course, gardening.

Growing plants both native to America and from their homelands, these women turned their soup pots into the “melting pot” that is the United States and exemplified all the best qualities of plants, women, and patriots.

The Society supported by the Garden Club of Cape May (Welcome | The Garden Club of Cape May) is planning and planting plants that would have been used by the housewives in both our front and back gardens of the Colonial House. Plants will be tagged and identified for their use in the colonial era.

Further, Lesley is a feature columnist for Gardener News Magazine, and contributor to many print and online gardening publications.

As Superintendent of Horticultural Education at the Morris County Park Commission, Lesley oversaw education, programming and interpretation at The Frelinghuysen Arboretum, Willow wood Arboretum, and the Bamboo Brook Outdoor Education Center for fifteen years.

She is a founding member and past President of Garden State Gardens, a non-profit consortium of New Jersey’s public gardens.


Dining Table

Mid- Atlantic Center for the Arts and Humanities (MAC) Holiday Inn, Candlelight and Lamplighter Tours

MAC Ticket Purchase: Home | Cape May MAC

Last year, the Society opened the Colonial House for the MAC Christmas Candlelight and Lamplighter tours as we do every year. This year we have added the Holiday Inns Tour. Over 600 folks visited the Colonial House in December last year.

Holiday Inns Tour, 1:00-3:30 p.m.

  • Monday, Dec 4th
  • Tuesday, Dec 5th
  • Wednesday, Dec 6th
  • Thursday, Dec 7th
  • Monday, Dec 11th
  • Tuesday, Dec 12th
  • Wednesday, Dec 13th
  • Thursday, Dec 14th

Christmas Candlelight Tours

  • December 9th Saturday
  • December 16th Saturday

Lamplighter Christmas Tour, 5:30-7:30

  • Tuesday, December 26th
  • Thursday, December 28th

2022 Programs and Events

Grant Funding and In-Kind Support

The Greater Cape May Society, a 501 (c)3 nonprofit organization, receives funds from membership, gifts to the Society, and grants administered by the Cape May County Culture & Heritage Commission and the New Jersey Historical Commission. The Society is a qualified organization of the New Jersey Cultural Trust; the NJ Council for the Humanities; and from other grant opportunities and gifts to the Society by local business and town folk who love and support history in their community.
Our work in the community as a historical society is diverse and flexible to support the many requests for history from email for private tours, consultations on Cape May history, to programming and research support for other organizations local and statewide.

• In Kind support for the Society website is provided by logo

• OceanFirst Community Grant

• The New Jersey Arts and Culture Renewal Fund of Princeton Area Community

• Cape May County Cultural and History Regrant from the New Jersey Historical Commission Funds Operating and Art

• New Jersey Council for the Humanities

April –

Mid- Atlantic Center for the Arts and Humanities (MAC)

Cape May's Forgotten Sports History Trolley Tour – Research and old photographs

The Society provided pictures and background research for the Cape May's Forgotten Sports History Trolley Tour. Cape May’s history includes some fascinating stories about sports, such as baseball, tennis, and golf, during the 19th and early 20th century. For more information, Cape May MAC (

Some baseball history was discovered during the research project.

The Aldine Hotel

“As it turns out, history was made in Cape May, Benjamin Harrison is the only sitting president to attend a game played by a black professional baseball team Lastly, before we move on, the Philadelphia Phillies conducted spring training in Cape May on three different occasions -1888, 1891, and 1898. The Society thank Dr. Jerry Casway who is the Dean and Professor Emeritus at Howard Community College in Columbia, Maryland ( Jerrold Casway – Society for American Baseball Research ( another local historian for much of the following information about the Phillies. The Phillies became a National League team in 1883. Big league teams chose spring training sites based on their convenience and affordability. The climate here in late March deemed suitable for the Phillies, plus, it being the off season, there weren't many distractions for the players. The team stayed right here at the in '88 Unfortunately, inclement weather washed out much of' the training, plus this field suffered from poor drainage. They were compelled to practice fielding at a local roller-skating rink. The disappointed Phillies even left town early.

Railroad station Cape May

The next two springs were spent in Jacksonville, Florida at much expense - both regular seasons were such disasters, the resulting attendances and earnings were so poor, that the Phillies opted for Cape May again in 1891. They picked more modest accommodation - the Aldine Hotel (pictured above). They had intended to use Athletic Park but the field condition and, again, drainage was so poor that they decided to re groom the field on Lafayette Street.

That worked out well attracting as many as 600 people (some traveling by rail from Philadelphia) each day to watch practice sessions. The players mingled with locals socially and enjoyed the attractions of the area.”


Tales Well Told poster

Community Outreach at Victorian Towers funded by Cape May County Cultural ART Re-grant from the NJ Historical Commission.

Michèle LaRue tours nationally with a repertoire of performances—Tales Well Told—using literature primarily from America’s Gilded Age. Michèle’s fascination with this period grew from her work with New Jersey’s The East Lynne Company—founded in 1980 by her late husband and mentor, Warren Kliewer, to revive American plays and literature of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Ms. LaRue performed from “Woman Breaking Lose”, A Pair of Silk Stockings (Kate Chopin 1897) and Representing T.A. Buck (Edna Ferber, 1913)

April through October

Community History Project–Funded by New Jersey Council for the Humanities.

The Society selected the Cape May Geographic Society (CMGS) for our community project. The project was a formal structure of learning concluding in October with a presentation to the Nj Council of the Humanities and invited guests in other organizations to view the concept of Community History. Our cohort included: Greater Cape May Historical Society; Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) for Children of Essex County; New Jersey Orators, Inc. Mahwah Museum and TRUE Mentors, Inc. For more information on Community History (

cover of the Cape May Geographic Society 32nd - 33rd bulletin, june 1978-1979

The CMGS was formed by local and summer seasonal residents in the winter of 1945 to bring a greater appreciation of the natural history and the historical background of the Cape May region. The Society published 44 annual bulletins; the first bulletin was published in 1947 with the last bulletin in 1991. The CMGS predated the NJ DEP by twenty-five years.

The CMGS advocated the preservation of natural beauty; adequate measures to assure a continued abundance of wildlife; the wise use of natural resources; and the study of the history of the Cape May region.

The CMGS sponsored projects, held local lectures, and issued publications relating to the natural history and the historical background of the Cape May region. It sought to cooperate with organizations having similar interests and objectives. During July and August, the CMGS presented a series of lectures on nature, travel and historical subjects in Cape May City Hall, the old Convention Hall, and Victorian Towers. They scheduled weekly nature study walks and expeditions to observe birds, flowers, trees, fossil mollusks, seashells, and marine life. They maintained a small natural history exhibit in the Solarium at the old Convention Pier, Cape May.

September – November

historic storm damage on the Cape May beachfront

Rising Together, NJ – Building a collective Story of Flooding for Community Awareness

The Society was contacted by Rising Together, NJ to provide historical flooding picture content for an awareness project to increased flooding--the new normal for New Jersey. Everyone has a flood story to share. Whether the story is about small changes over time or a life-changing event, it should become a visual reminder of flooding. Rising Together, NJ created a social media campaign that encourages us all to come together to share our experiences with flooding in New Jersey. Why? When flooding affects one of us, it affects us all. By creating a forum to share flooding experiences, Rising Together, NJ aims to connect us to one another, building a collective story around flooding in New Jersey and support flood risk awareness. More information is at The campaign was sponsored by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Office for Coastal Management. Significant storms to Cape May photos and documentation were provided by the Society to the Rising Together project.

1944 Great Atlantic Hurricane – September 15, 1944

• The 1944 Great Atlantic hurricane was a destructive and powerful tropical cyclone that swept across a large portion of the United States East Coast in September 1944. New England was most affected, though so were the Outer Banks, Mid-Atlantic states, and the Canadian Maritimes. The storm's ferocity and path drew comparisons to the 1938 Long Island Express, one of the worst storms in New England history. 1944 Great Atlantic hurricane - Wikipedia

• Its precursor was first identified well east of the Lesser Antilles on September 4, but the disturbance only became well organized enough to be considered a tropical cyclone on September 9 northeast of the Virgin Islands. Tracking west-northwest, the storm gradually intensified, curved northward, and reached peak intensity as a Category 4-equivalent hurricane on September 13 north of the Bahamas.

• A day later, the storm passed the Outer Banks and later made landfall on Long Island and Rhode Island as a weaker hurricane on September 15. The storm eventually became an extratropical cyclone, moving northeast, and merged with another extratropical system off Greenland on September 16. It caused great panic and evacuation from the town. These were the days of little to no advance warning of a storm. The older generation who knew this storm are passing away.

• This storm devastated the beachfront of Cape May. It severely damaged the 1918 Convention Hall to the point that the ocean side where the stage was located was removed and it was rebult. It also damaged a long fishing pier. The pier was rebuilt but was much shorter than the original. The storm demolished the remains of Cox Pier leaving only a few store fronts that remained in use until they were destroyed by the 1962 March Storm. Cape May recovered from the 1944 storm in time for the 1945 summer season even though there were shortages resulting from WWII. Pictured is flooding from Cape Island Creek at Perry Street.

Flooding from Cape Island Creek at Perry Street

The Great Snowstorm of 1944 was a disruptive winter storm that brought high winds and between 12 and 30 inches (30.5 and 91.6 centimeters) of snow to the eastern Great Lakes region of North America between Sunday, December 10, and Wednesday, December 13, 1944. The areas most affected included northeastern Ohio, western Pennsylvania, West Virginia, upstate New York, southern Ontario, and southern Quebec. England and then into the Atlantic Ocean. For more information: Great Snowstorm of 1944 - Wikipedia

1950 - November of 1950- Storm Washed the Remains of South Cape May Away

Another fierce storm came ashore bringing abnormal tides which, combined with a full moon, brought tidal waves of such force, they reached all the way to Sixth Avenue in West Cape May. Winds of 88-miles per hour ripped through what was left of South Cape May (homes) returning it to what it was in the beginning – a meadow. All that remained in South Cape May after this storm were chimneys, pipes, and the damaged remains of houses. Great Appalachian Storm of 1950 - Wikipedia Photo courtesy of CMC Locals Joe Boyle on FB.

Waist-deep debris from the wreckage of South Cape May ran all the way into Sunset Boulevard. On Cape Island, there were boroughs and a city—Cape May City, West Cape May Borough, Cape May Point Borough.

South Cape May was a land development ravaged by storm water through the years. This storm finished the process and destroyed in this storm. It is now a bird sanctuary and open meadows owned by the Nature Conservancy. Photo courtesy of Harry Bellangy archive.

1962 – The Great Storm of 1962 March 6-8

Video - the 1962 storm video, here is the link

March 6 – 8 was called The Great Atlantic Storm of 1962. Along the mid-Atlantic coast of the United States this storm packed such a wallop local still consider it to be unlike anything they can recall. For nearly three days, the storm hammered the coast, battering the shoreline, sweeping beach homes, hotels, and boardwalks into the sea while further inland, wind-driven snow virtually immobilized portions of the Middle Atlantic states. Ash Wednesday Storm of 1962 - Wikipedia

• The storm was born during a “blocked” weather system meaning the weather simply couldn’t move.

• The blocked system was caused by a huge storm developing east of North Carolina.

• Then a large high-pressure system was over northern Canada and a developing storm that covered much of the western Atlantic Ocean combined to generate a vast circulation of wind that blew along a tremendous length, or fetch, of the ocean.

• Over a period of five high tides Cape May continued to flood. The constant wind kept the sea water in the town for those several days.

1985 Hurricane “Gloria” September 27, 1985

Another storm that caused extensive flooding in Cape May. Was Hurricane Gloria. Although the seawall built after the 1962 March storm was in place, the over wash of the ocean over the seawall from the Gloria flooded the city several blocks from the beachfront. It was not until the dune network was established and beach replenishment started that the over wash was essentially eliminated. Hurricane Gloria - Wikipedia


Community Outreach at Victorian Towers funded by Cape May County Cultural ART Re-grant from the NJ Historical Commission

Pamphelt from GCMHS presentation with Michele LaRue on Gettysburg: One Woman's War

Michèle LaRue tours nationally with a repertoire of performances—Tales Well Told—using literature primarily from America’s Gilded Age.

Her second performance was taken from three selections of Elsie Singmaster’s 1913 classic Gettysburg: Stories of the Red Harvest and the Aftermath: 1913

Michèle returned to Victorian Towers for a live performance scheduled to recognize the history of the Gettysburg Address. On November 19, 1863, U.S. President Abraham Lincoln delivered his famous address to those present at the battlefield during the American Civil War. It was the official ceremony to dedicate the Soldiers' National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, four and a half months after the Union armies defeated those of the Confederacy at the Battle of Gettysburg. Union casualties in the battle numbered 23,000, while the Confederates had lost some 28,000 men–more than a third of Lee’s army.


Mid- Atlantic Center for the Arts and Humanities (MAC) Candlelight and Lamplighter Tours

The Society opened the Colonial House door in December for the Christmas Candlelight and Lamplighter Tours. For many years in support of MAC, the Society welcomed about 500 and 600 folks who visited the Colonial House. This tour tradition has an array of over a dozen homes, inns, B&Bs, churches and hotels seeing interiors beautifully decorated for the holidays on Cape May’s most popular Christmas tour.

Cape May MAC launched its first Christmas tour in 1973 and ever since this tour has been a beloved annual tradition and a highlight of the holiday season in America's only National Historic Landmark City. This self-guided walking tour celebrates the best of Cape May at Christmas, as you travel Cape May’s gaslit streets, hear musicians and carolers, and visit more than a dozen homes, inns, B&Bs, churches and hotels where you’ll step inside to see both Victorian and more modern interiors beautifully decorated for the holidays. For more information: Cape May MAC ( Pictured above is the old Rotary Park Bandstand.

2021 Programs and Events

Artwork of Black players from the the Cape May Giants baseball team

October 26–28

Out of the Shadows and into the Light

The Greater Cape May Historical Society, Cape May MAC, Congress Hall and the Mad Batter Restaurant and Bar are co-presenting a three-day conference on South Jersey and Philadelphia's rich history of Negro Leagues ball clubs and their impact on baseball heritage will be held in Cape May, NJ from October 26-28 at the Cape May Convention Hall.

The event features authors and historians who will present accounts of the Black ballplayers who starred on the region's teams, including the Atlantic City Bacharachs, the Philadelphia Pythians and the Cape May Giants. The rich history of Negro Leagues ballplayers deserves to be remembered to understand their courage and their contribution to baseball and life in America," said Mark Kulkowitz, proprietor of the Mad Batter and avid baseball fan.

DAY 1 (10/26) 

Location: Convention Hall, Cape May City, New Jersey

  • The first day program will feature a discussion by Jerrold Casway, a retired history professor who specializes in 19th Century baseball, about the origins and contributions of Negro Leagues clubs, including the Pythians and the Giants.
  • Sportswriter and author Gaylon H. White will discuss his book Singles and Smiles, about Artie Wilson, the Birmingham Black Barons star who was the last pro ballplayer to bat over .400 and was a mentor to Hall of Famer Willie Mays. Sydnei SmithJordan, an acclaimed artist who has created numerous portraits of Black baseball stars, will join White. SmithJordan’s work has been collected by noted celebrities including, Denzel Washington, Whoopi Goldberg, and Forest Whitaker.

DAY 2 (10/27)

Location: Convention Hall, Cape May City, New Jersey

  • Historian and lecturer Mike Everett will speak about John Henry “Pop” Lloyd. Lloyd played professional baseball in the Negro Leagues from 1906 to 1932, including two stints with the Bacharach Giants of Atlantic City. Everett will also talk about Max Manning and Monte Irvin of the Newark Eagles, who were teammates on the Negro Leagues World Series 1946 championship team. Joining Everett in the discussion will be Manning's daughter, Belinda.
  • The second part of the evening will feature White speaking about "The Mystery of Eddie Locke," the Negro Leagues pitcher and slugger. In 1953, Locke won 21 games in half a season in the West Texas League. Eight of those victories came when he pitched complete games in both ends of four double-headers. He ended his career in the Mexican League and disappeared from public view. 

DAY 3 (10/28)

Location: Convention Hall, Cape May City, New Jersey

  • Thursday's program will be a panel discussion on "Who from the Negro Leagues belongs in the Hall of Fame" featuring White, SmithJordan, Everett and Casway. 
  • The event will conclude with a look at the career of Phillies great Dick Allen and his pending eligibility for the Hall of Fame. 

NOTE: All programs will be held 4:30 to 7 p.m. at Convention Hall. Admission is $30. 10/26 and 10/27 programs will be followed by a "ballpark favorites" buffet dinner at historic Congress Hall, for a separate price of $38.

Call Cape May MAC at 609 884-5404 or visit MAC's website for information and to purchase tickets.

Society Successful Nomination of the Allen AME Church to New Jersey’s 10 Most Endangered Historic Properties for 2021

Recognizing the importance of preserving the Allen AME Church circa 1888, the Greater Cape May Historical Society, nominated the Church to be included in the 2021 Preservation New Jersey (PNJ) list of the ten most endangered historic sites in New Jersey. The nomination of the Church to the ten most endangered list was made prior to the City purchase of the Church.

Front view of the church showing fire damage and missing windows

The Society submitted photographs and video of the devastating fire along with documentation about the history and importance of the Church. Harry Bellangy, President and Historian for the Greater Cape May Historical Society, was interviewed by members of the PNJ selection committee to discuss the importance of the Church to the African American community in Cape May and why it should be on the ten most endangered historic sites list for 2021. The Society learned on May 5th that Preservation New Jersey accepted its nomination and is placing the Allen AME Church as one of the ten most endangered historic sites in New Jersey.

Corner stone reading 1888

Blower for Hook and Hastings pipe organ

The Society maintains a local history archive and hosts events celebrating local history and cultural heritage. The Society was awarded a grant to clean and restore the Soldiers and Sailors monument for the World War I centenary program "100 Cities 100 Memorials”. A Congressional medal is affixed to the base of the monument for this award. In addition, the Society led a program with Cape May City and community non-profits to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s participation in the Society of Friends General Conference held in Cape May. At the 1958 conference, Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke on “Nonviolence and Racial Justice”. Permission was granted to the Society to reproduce two hundred copies of the original cklassSociety of Friends journal that included the full text of Dr. King speech.

“Cape May is our museum”, Mr. Bellangy said, “we collect history from the colonial first settlement era to current times. We are a source for new residents to learn about the area and we help guide folks to find resources for history research”.

A typical stained-glass window for the church

The Society receives funding that is made possible in part by the New Jersey Historical Commission / Department of State and The Cape May County Board of County Commissioners through the Division of Culture & Heritage. The Society is a 501c3 non-profit; a NJ Cultural Fund Qualified Organization; and an Association of State and Local History Steps--a standards and excellence program for history organizations.

More reading:

Bound by Family and Faith: The Story of the Allen A.M.E. Church

2020 Programs and Events

May 2 cancelled until further notice

Civil War Program Partner with MAC for Lunch and Learn Series

Lutheran Church 2 at 1pm.

Gene Barr speaks on the Irish immigrants and first generation Irish-Americans played a critical role in the American Civil War. Their fighting prowess was legendary and much Irish blood was spilled on numerous battlefields. This talk will explore some of the more fascinating stories of the Irish and discuss how others viewed them during the 1860’s”.

Irish brigade flag Troiani Sons of Erin

May 5 cancelled until further notice

The Society commemorates the Year of Suffrage with “Someone Must Wash the Dishes”

Cape May Methodist Church at 1:00 PM

This year, numerous historical societies, museums, and institutions are celebrating the 100th anniversary of the passing of the 19th Amendment by Congress on June 4, 1919. The passing of the 19th amendment gave women the legal right to vote in the United States of America. What a brave new world emerged after World War I ended. Men and women returned to the right to vote and prohibition looming on the horizon. Ratified by the states on January 16, 1919, prohibition officially went into effect on January 17, 1920 with the passage of the Volstead Act. Join us for this side-splitting lecture that helped women with the vote with the fictional “Anti” in Marie Jenny Howe’s brilliant satire.

Michele LaRue

Many women fought against getting the vote in the early 1900s, but none with more charm, prettier clothes—and less logic—than the fictional speaker in this satiric monologue written by pro-suffragist Marie Jenney Howe. “Woman suffrage is the reform against nature,” declares Howe’s unlikely, but irresistibly likeable, heroine.

“Ladies, get what you want. Pound pillows. Make a scene. Make home a hell on earth—but do it in a womanly way! That is so much more dignified and refined than walking up to a ballot box and dropping in a piece of paper!”

Reviewers have called this production “a rare treat,” “wicked” in its wit, and have labeled Michèle LaRue’s performance “side-splitting.” An Illinois native, now based in New York, LaRue is a professional actress who tours nationally with a repertoire of shows by Gilded Age and Progressive Era American writers.

September 2020 not scheduled at this time

Just in time for Hurricane Season: A Mighty Wind: Cape May Hits and Misses

Location: TBD

Just in time for hurricane season, join Historian, Harry Bellangy, and a special guest who knows a lot about weather, for the great storms and information on when to start packing your bag with essentials. Learn about what tide will flood your road out of town.


2019 Programs and Events

Greater Cape May Historical Society and MAC Lunch and Learn present

Love Letters

A Civil War Captain and His Lady by Gene Barr | Love, Courtship, and Combat from Fort Donelson through the Vicksburg Campaign

Date: February 9 at Lucky Bones. Doors open at 11:30


A Civil War Captain and His Lady is a true “Cold Mountain” love story from the Northern perspective.

"More than 150 years ago, 27-year-old Irish immigrant Josiah Moore met 19 year-old Jennie Lindsay, a member of one of Peoria, Illinois’s most prominent families. The Civil War had just begun, Josiah was the captain of the 17th Illinois Infantry, and his war would be a long and bloody one. Their courtship and romance, which came to light in a rare and unpublished series of letters, forms the basis of Gene Barr’s A Civil War Captain and His Lady: Love, Courtship, and Combat from Fort Donelson through the Vicksburg Campaign.

"The story of Josiah, Jennie, the men of the 17th and their families tracks the toll on our nation during the war and allows us to explore the often difficult recovery after the last gun sounded in 1865. Josiah’s and Jennie’s letters shed significant light on the important role played by a soldier’s sweetheart on the home front, and a warrior’s observations from the war front. Josiah’s letters offer a deeply personal glimpse into army life, how he dealt with the loss of many close to him, and the effects of war on a man’s physical, spiritual, and moral well-being. Jennie’s letters show a young woman mature beyond her age dealing with the difficulties on the home front while her brother and her new love struggle through the travails of war. Her encouragement to keep his faith in God strong and remain morally upright gave Josiah the strength to lead his men through the horrors of the Civil War. Politics also thread their way through the letters and include the evolution of Jennie’s father’s view of the conflict. A leader in the Peoria community and former member of the Illinois state house, he engages in his own political wars when he shifts his affiliation from the Whig Party to the new Republican Party, and is finally elected to the Illinois Senate as a Peace Democrat and becomes one of the state’s more notorious Copperheads.

"In addition to this deeply moving and often riveting correspondence, Barr includes additional previously unpublished material on the 17th Illinois and the war’s Western Theater, including Fort Donelson, Shiloh, Vicksburg, and the lesser known Meridian Campaign—actions that have historically received much less attention than similar battles in the Eastern Theater. The result is a rich, complete, and satisfying story of love, danger, politics, and warfare, and it is one you won’t soon forget."

About the Author: Gene Barr is the president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry, the largest broad-based business advocacy group in Pennsylvania. He has spent more than forty years in the political and government affairs world, including more than twelve years with a Fortune 100 energy company. Barr is a board member and former chair of the National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and spent many years engaged in Civil War living history events. He has a bachelor’s degree in political science from St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia and lives in Mechanicsburg with his wife Mary. July 2016 ISBN: 978-1-61121-290-7 eBook: 978-1-61121-291-4

Funding has been made possible in part by the New Jersey Historical Commission / Department of State, and the Cape May County Board of Chosen Freeholders through the Cape May County Department of Tourism, Public Information and Culture & Heritage.

My Dear Wife – A Letter from a Soldier
Prepared by Jim Campbell

From the Society archives is a love letter written by John Reeves who lived at the corner of Stevens Street and the Turnpike (now Sunset Boulevard). Mr. Reeves died in 1925. His funeral was held in the Old Brick Church and buried in the Cold Spring Presbyterian Church.

Jim Campbell was Historian for the Society for many years. He documented the graveyards and burial grounds in Cape May as his life’s work, including a detailed collection of the Old Brick graves in Lower Township.

The City of Cape May and the Greater Cape May Historical Society present

Soldier and Sailors Monument: The “All Wars” Rededication Ceremony

November 11, 2018 following the Veterans Day Ceremony

At the All Wars Monument
Columbia and Gurney Street, Cape May City
Starting Promptly: 11:00 AM with the Bells of Peace

Veterans MonumentOn September 27th, 2017, the United States World War One Centennial Commission and the Pritzker Military Museum & Library announced the First 50 official "WWI Centennial Memorials" through 100 Cites/100 Memorials program. The Greater Cape May Historical Society in partnership with the City of Cape May was selected as one of those first 50 grant awardees. The Society selected the Soldier and Sailors Monument, the “All Wars” for their grant submission to the Commission.

Since the April 6th centennial of the United States declaration of war and the subsequent national awakening about WWI, the interest and focus on local WWI memorials around the country has had a nation-wide resurgence. During the World War One Centennial Commission meeting in Washington DC on September 13, 2017, the Commission resolved to designate the awarded memorials as "WWI Centennial Memorials". Being the congressionally created U.S. government agency for the national commemoration of World War One, such a designation is an official national designation.

All awardees will be presented with an official certificate and a bronze medallion of the designation available to the awarded memorials suitable to be affixed to them. The rededication ceremony will officially close , the Society and the City’s commemoration for the 100th anniversary of the “Great War” in honor of those who in the name of liberty either made the ultimate sacrifice or who came back from Europe victorious. Their victory changed the world and helped forge the United States into the arsenal of democracy. 100 Cities / 100 Memorials recognizes and helps restore World War I memorials nationwide in order to create an ongoing conversation about the Great War, lest we forget.

“To put it in an American context: imagine an officer in the United States Army — in his 50s, say — on the Argonne front in 1918. As a young soldier he could conceivably have fought, 30 years earlier, in the last of the wars against the Plains Indians in the late 1880s. Yet now he stands surveying a different world. The tactics were 19th century — advance on the enemy. But the enemy had weapons of mass destruction — the battlefield was dominated by tanks, machine guns, howitzers, aircraft and poisonous gas. Some 117,000 American servicemen died in the 19 months of United States participation in World War I — more than twice as many as in Vietnam, nearly 20 times as many as in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Why World War I Resonates By WILLIAM BOYD JAN. 21, 2012


Sponsored by the United States WWI Centennial Commission, Pritzker Military Museum and Library, and the City of Cape May


Funding has been made possible in part by the New Jersey Historical Commission / Department of State, and the Cape May County Board of Chosen Freeholders through the Cape May County Department of Tourism, Public Information and Culture & Heritage.


Program: Martin Luther King, Jr. in Cape May: A 60th Anniversary Event

This year on Wednesday, June 27 at Cape May Convention Hall, the Greater Cape May Historical Society partnered with Cape May City, and community non-profits to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s participation in the Friends General Conference. The conference was held the week of June 23 to 30, 1958 in Cape May. At the conference, Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke on “Nonviolence and Racial Justice”. The conference held that year covered topics ranging from theology, leadership, artistic, economic, education, the UN, peace, science, creative maturing, and race.

The Society was granted permission to reproduce two hundred copies of the original journal that includes the full text of Dr. King speech.
From the Editorial Comments for the 1958 conference:

…."Faith as well as fear might be likened to [such] rivers. Nobody came to Cape May to check whether faith minus fear would really equal peace of mind. Both faith and fear are mighty streams coursing together toward the manifestation of strength or disaster. Cape May rather turned our eyes to many new openings in the secret life of the spirit that will remain neither private nor subject to human proportions. The mysterious forces of faith and fear can only in part be managed by human loyalties. Their ultimate course is one with the eternal destiny and the divine grace which so richly blessed this year's Friends General Conference."
William J. Hubben, Editor and Manager. Friends Journal. July 26, 1958

Program: “WWI CENTENNIAL MEMORIALS” 100 Cities-100 Memorials

In September 2017, The Greater Cape May Historical Society, in partnership with Cape May City, was selected as one of the “First 50” winners by the U.S. World War One Centennial Commission and The Pritzker Military Museum and Library. To learn more about the WWI 100 Cities-100 Memorial project and the complete list of only 100 memorials selected as finalists across the country:

Program: World War I Memorial Inventory

In the aftermath of World War I, Americans erected thousands of memorials throughout the country to commemorate US participation. Many were the work of the leading sculptors, artists, and architects of the day; others, such as simple honor rolls, were more modest but no less heartfelt. Sadly, as we approach the war's centennial, these memorials and their original purpose - to honor in perpetuity the more than four million Americans who served in the war and the more than 116,000 who died - have largely been forgotten. Many of the memorials have fallen into disrepair through neglect, theft, or vandalism.

The World War I Memorial Inventory Project is a volunteer-based effort to assemble a comprehensive, online record of World War I memorials and monuments in the United States. Its mission is to promote the documentation, preservation, appreciation, and interpretation of these memorials, and in so doing, to raise the profile of World War I in American public consciousness.

The only World War I monument in Cape May county is the Soldiers and Sailors monument in Cape May City. Commonly, referred to a the “all wars monument”.

The monument was commissioned by The Grand Army of the Republic and Kindred Spirits by Post 40 John Mecray in Cape May City. Johnn Mecray is buried in Cold Spring Cemetery.

The "Grand Army of the Republic" (GAR) was a fraternal organization composed of veterans of the Union Army (United States Army), Union Navy (U.S. Navy), Marines and the U.S. Revenue Cutter Service who served in the American Civil War for the Northern/Federal forces. Founded in 1866 in Decatur, Illinois, and growing to include hundreds of posts (local community units) across the nation, (predominately in the North, but also a few in the South and West), it was dissolved in 1956 when its last member, Albert Woolson (1850–1956) of Duluth, Minnesota, died. Linking men through their experience of the war, the G.A.R. became among the first organized advocacy groups in American politics, supporting voting rights for black veterans, promoting patriotic education, helping to make Memorial Day a national holiday, lobbying the United States Congress to establish regular veterans' pensions, and supporting Republican political candidates. Its peak membership, at more than 490,000, was in 1890, a high point of various Civil War commemorative and monument dedication ceremonies. It was succeeded by the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (SUVCW), composed of male descendants of Union Army and Union Navy veterans. (source: Wikipedia)

For information on John Mecray visit: