CAPE MAY, NJ – Founded in 1894 along an area west of Cape May's beachfront, the borough of South Cape May existed for only 51 years. One of the town’s last residents, Joseph Bucher, chronicled life in South Cape May before the Atlantic swallowed the entire town in the book “Remembering South Cape May: The Jersey Shore Town That Vanished Into the Sea,” co-authored by Bucher’s son-in-law, Robert Kenselaar. South Cape May’s story is told in a new exhibit, “Remembering South Cape May,” guest-curated by Robert Kenselaar and presented by the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities (MAC). The exhibit will be open at the Carriage House Gallery at the Emlen Physick Estate, 1048 Washington St., from April 29 through Nov. 6.
The exhibit examines the rise and fall of the community that was located on what today is the Nature Conservancy’s Cape May Migratory Bird Refuge. In its heyday, the town had more than 40 homes and hundreds of summer residents. Beach erosion, storms, and hurricanes destroyed what homes were not physically moved to another location. By the 1950s, the town of South Cape May had completely disappeared. The exhibit’s free opening reception is on Friday, April 29 at 7 p.m. at the Carriage House Gallery. The authors will be on hand to sign copies of their book.
The exhibit will be open daily through Nov. 6 (gallery hours vary) and admission is free. A free lecture presentation by Joseph Bucher and Robert Kenselaar will be held on Saturday, Oct. 8 at the Carriage House Gallery. The Cape May Bird Observatory/New Jersey Audubon are co-sponsoring a free lecture on Friday, May 20 from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. and a "Meet the Author" book signing event on Saturday, May 21 from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Crystal Room in the Grand Hotel, 1045 Beach Ave., as part of its Spring Cape MAYgration Birding Festival.
This exhibit was made possible by a grant from the New Jersey Council for the Humanities, a state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations in this exhibition do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities or the New Jersey Council for the Humanities.
PHOTO CAPTION: (Photo by Isaac B. Zwalley, courtesy of H. Gerald MacDonald): In August of 1951, Isaac B. Zwalley’s daughter, Patricia, stood in front of an abandoned house which was once home to Francis S. Rutschman, the mayor of South Cape May from 1905 to 1920.
The Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities (MAC) is a multifaceted not-for-profit organization committed to promoting the preservation, interpretation, and cultural enrichment of the Cape May region for its residents and visitors. MAC membership is open to all. For information about MAC’s year-round schedule of tours, festivals, and special events call 609-884-5404 or 800-275-4278, or visit MAC’s Web site at www.capemaymac.org. For information about restaurants, accommodations and shopping, call the Chamber of Commerce of Greater Cape May at 609-884-5508.