“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Cape May in Cape May County, New Jersey — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)

The Franklin Street School

The Franklin Street School Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones (CC0), September 17, 2022
1. The Franklin Street School Marker
The Franklin Street School is a contributing building in the Cape May National Register Historic District for its significance to local African American history.

Designed by Edwards and Green of Philadelphia and Camden in the Colonial Revival Style (a popular style in the 1920's thanks to interest in the nation's sesquicentennial), the structure shows the profound and often awkward social landscape of segregation imposed on communities.

The Franklin Street School is two buildings in one: the elementary school in front, for African American children, and the rear gymnasium for Cape May's integrated high school. There is no internal connection between these two parts of the overall building.

Today the School stands as a testimony to the central role African Americans play in the history of Cape May. In 1930, African Americans were about 20 percent of Cape May's population. On this block stood three African American churches (that still surround the school today) and the African American Masonic Lodge (no longer standing). these institutions were part of a thriving community that included over 50 African
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American owned businesses.

The School's construction began on December 6, 1927. It opened in September 1928. The School was converted to an annex for Cape May City High School in 1948 after segregation in New Jersey's public schools was banned in the new state constitution.

Today, the Center for Community Arts is rehabilitating the School for use as a community cultural center and the focal point for African American Heritage tours of the area. It is expected to reopen in 2008.

To help support the Center for Community Arts' ongoing effort to rehabilitate this historic site, please call 609-884-7525 or visit

Funding for the planning phase of the Franklin Street School Rehabilitation Project is provided by the New Jersey Historic Trust, the Black Untied Fund of New Jersey, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and many other generous supporters.
Erected by The Center for Community Arts.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansArchitectureEducation. A significant historical month for this entry is September 1928.
Location. 38° 56.127′ N, 74° 55.243′ W. Marker is in Cape May, New Jersey, in Cape May County. Marker is on Franklin Street
The Franklin Street School image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones (CC0), September 17, 2022
2. The Franklin Street School
just east of Lafayette Street, on the right when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 719 Franklin St, 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. Civic & Education Center (here, next to this marker); Stephen Smith's Summer House, 1846 (within shouting distance of this marker); The Stephen Smith House (within shouting distance of this marker); Original Fire Hydrant (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Space Shuttle Tree (about 300 feet away); Opra Huff's Bakery, 1950s (about 300 feet away); The Cape May Meeting of the Joint Commission on Unity Memorial (about 500 feet away); Notable African Americans (about 600 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Cape May.
Credits. This page was last revised on September 18, 2022. It was originally submitted on September 18, 2022, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 87 times since then and 21 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on September 18, 2022, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.
Editor’s want-list for this marker. A clearer photo of the marker once the shrubbery is pruned. • Can you help?

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Apr. 17, 2024