The early 1970s was a turning point for Cape May, said Cape May resident Tom Carroll, the original owner of The Windward House Inn Bed & Breakfast on Jackson Street. Carroll and his wife, Sue, purchased the B&B property for $38,000 in 1971, not knowing at the time that it was a pivotal point in Cape May's development and preservation.
Looking back, the '70s were really the turning point in town, Carroll said. Before that, if he had told a stranger he lived in Cape May, they would give him a blank stare.
Now, if he tells someone he's from Cape May - no matter how far away he is - he automatically is met with recognition, and often a hint of jealously.
On Friday, Sept. 21, Carroll will give a 40-minute talk on this time period in Cape May up to today. He will show his personal photo collection that documents the town's progression and talking about the people and places that saved it: "New home buyers began to choose old homes with nice ideas on what do with them, the Washington Street Mall was created, a group was formed to save the historic Physick Estate."
Additionally, more B&Bs and restaurants started to pop up around town, and nonprofits were formed to help preserve and promote Cape May's historic charm, including the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities, or MAC, which saved the Physick Estate from demolition, and the Cape May Center for Community Arts, which saved the Franklin Street School, Carroll said.
The talk is being sponsored by the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts and Humanities' Friends of the Physick Estate group, one of three groups formed under the umbrella of the MAC organization.
MAC Communication Coordinator Susan Krysiak said the mission of the friends groups is to help preserve the iconic places they represent and to share its stories.
The proceeds from the talk, titled "Cape May's Renaissance Through the Eyes of Tom Carroll," will support the mission of the Friends group.
"They're a group of devoted people who work hard to keep Cape May Victorian charm alive," Krysiak said.
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If you go
What: Talk titled 'Cape May's Renaissance Through the Eyes of Tom Carroll.' Carroll the owner of The Windward House B&B.
When: 1 p.m. Friday, Sept. 21.
Where: Cape May Lutheran Church, 509 Pittsburgh Ave.
Cost: Admission is free for Friends of the Physick Estate members and $5 for nonmembers. Register by calling Barbara Oberholtzer at 609-884-5404, ext. 126, or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. This event is being sponsored by Friends of the Physick Estate.
For more information on this event or for information on becoming a member a MAC or one of the Friends Groups call 609-884-5404 or visit www.capemaymac.org.