Cape May in Cape May County, New Jersey — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Lighthouse Keepers' Homes & Gardens
Two identical keepers’ houses were built within a year after the present lighthouse was completed in 1859. Each one-and-a-half-story house featured three rooms on the first floor, front and back porches, and a stairway to four second floor bedrooms. Small wooden "privies," or outhouses, were located to the rear of the property, about 30 feet behind the lighthouse. Out front, lawn and gardens stretched more than 50 feet south toward the sea. (photo #1)
The 1860 keepers’ houses proved to be inadequate for the three keepers (head and two assistants) needed at the Cape
The assistant keepers’ house was enlarged and remodeled again around 1920. (photo #3) An unknown arsonist reduced the house to ashes in September 1967. (photo #4)
The remaining keepers’ house, beyond the fence to your right, now serves as a private home for state park employees.
Harry Palmer, the last keeper at Cape May, was also an avid gardener. In 1931, his well-kept lawn and garden received second place award from the Cape May County Chamber of Commerce. Palmer topped that in 1933 with a first place award and a blue ribbon in the same category. Palmer was said to have been very proud of his pole beans, tomatoes, and corn produced from his vegetable garden, not to mention the numerous hydrangeas on the property that flourished under his green thumb.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Agriculture Industry & Commerce • Waterways & Vessels.
Location. 38° 55.984′ N, 74° 57.617′ W. Marker is in Cape May, New Jersey, in Cape May County. Marker can be reached from the intersection of Light House Ave (County Route 629) and Lehigh Avenue. Marker is within Cape May Point State Park, on the east side of the Cape May Lighthouse. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 215 Light House Ave, Cape May NJ 08204, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Cape May Lighthouse (here, next to this marker); All Shapes, Sizes and Materials (a few steps from this marker); Oil House (a few steps from this marker); Fragile Flyers (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Swarms of Dragonflies (about 400 feet away); Flipper and Friends (about 600 feet away); Shorebirds Galore (about 600 feet away); What is it? (about 700 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Cape May.
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Cape May Lighthouse
Also see . . .
1. Cape May Lighthouse.
After the two assistants at Cape May had been sharing one of the station’s two small cottages for several years, the Lighthouse Board requested $2,000 in 1879 to enlarge the dwelling. This request was repeated the (Submitted on March 3, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
2. Cape May Lighthouse Keepers.
The Lighthouse was staffed by keepers who worked for the U.S. Lighthouse Service. The Cape May Lighthouse generally had one head lighthouse keeper and two assistants. They carried the oil to the top of the tower every day to power the light, and kept the lens apparatus clean and in working order. Keepers’ pay averaged $600 a year around the turn of the 20th century. There were two houses built right next to the Cape May Lighthouse around 1860 for the lighthouse keepers and their families. One has since burned, but the other is still standing, on the other side of the fence, near the entrance to the tower. (Submitted on March 3, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
Credits. This page was last revised on November 24, 2019. It was originally submitted on March 3, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 121 times since then and 13 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on March 3, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.