Coastal Heritage

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Southern Shore Region

New Jersey’s Southern Shore Region covers the southern – most counties of Cumberland and Cape May, which border both the Delaware Bay Shore and the Atlantic Coast. Highlights of this region include historic districts, seaside and farming communities, shipwrecks, whaling, fishing and boating heritage, lighthouses, Victorian architecture and early cultures of African – Americans, Native Americans and European settlers.


Seabrook Education & Cultural Center (SECC)
Seabrook Education & Cultural Center (SECC) Upper Deerfield Township Municipal Building
1325 State Highway 77
Seabrook, NJ
(856) 451–8393

The Seabrook Educational and Cultural Center is a museum and research center whose mission is to preserve and make known the unique history of Seabrook as a place where peoples of different cultures and heritage were given an opportunity for a new start in life and subsequently their significant contributions to the township, state and nation. The diverse community of Seabrook Village was comprised of relocated Japanese Americans and Japanese Peruvians from the U.S. internment camps, wartime refugees from Europe, migrant laborers from Appalachia, the Deep South and the Caribbean. Displays at the museum include models, cultural artifacts, photographs and other printed and recorded materials of the people and community of Seabrook.

Bridgeton Historical District
Bridgeton Historical Districk 181 East Commerce Street
Bridgeton, NJ
City of Bridgeton: (856) 455–3230

The Bridgeton Historic District is the largest historic district in New Jersey, with many buildings from the Colonial, Federalist and Victorian periods. The City of Bridgeton has over three hundred years of history and was originally named Cohansey Bridge. Lenni – Lenape Indians inhabited this area and Bridgeton continues to be a home for the Lenape Indians tribe known as the Nanticoke Lenni–Lenape. The Bridgeton City Park is home to the Cohanzick Zoo and New Sweden Farmstead Museum. The Cohanzick Zoo is New Jersey’s first zoo, named for the Lenape Indians, known as the Cohanzick Indians who resided along the Cohansey River, which flows through the zoo. The New Sweden Farmstead Museum is a 17th century replica of a pre – colonial Swedish settlement that includes barns, stables and homes typical of the Swedish colonists in the area.

Tea Burners Monument Tea Burners Monument
Ye Greate Street and Market Lane
Greenwich, NJ
(856) 455–4055

The Tea Burners Monument, erected in 1908, commemorates the Tea Burning in Greenwich and the memory of the brave Patriots who burned a cargo of British tea on December 22, 1774. The British ship “Greyhound” had docked near here instead of its original destination of Philadelphia and the tea was off – loaded and stored in a cellar nearby. A group of Patriots disguised as Indians took the tea and burned it in the town square in protest. Visitors to the monument can read about the historic story on educational signs at the site.

John DuBois Maritime MuseumJohn DuBois Maritime Museum
949 Ye Greate Street
Greenwich, NJ
(856) 455–1774–museum.html

The John Dubois Maritime Museum focuses on the shipbuilding industry and maritime traditions of the Delaware Bay from the 19th and early 20th centuries. Collections at the museum include builder’s models of watercraft, shipbuilding tools and early marine engine parts.

Cumberland County Prehistorical Museum
Cumberland county Prehistorical Museum 1461 Bridgeton Road
Greenwich, NJ
(856) 455–8141–hours.html

The Cumberland County Prehistorical Museum contains New Jersey American Indian artifacts and fossils. This collection was donated to the Cumberland County Historical Society by Alan Ewing Carman, an archaeologist who recovered all of the artifacts from southern New Jersey. Visitors can learn about the American Indians who inhabited the lower Delaware Valley through displays of arrow heads, pottery, native crafts and stone and bone artifacts. Also on display are over 1000 fossils including trilobites, whale and porpoise vertebrae, crabs, lobster, squid, mollusks, sting rays and shark teeth.

Gibbon House Museum
960 Ye Greate Street
Greenwich, NJ
(856) 455–4055

The Gibbon House was built in 1730 by Nicholas Gibbon, a maritime merchant. This two – story house is built of brick laid in the Flemish Bond pattern and furnished with period items. Greenwich is the first town that ships traveling up the Cohansey River would reach, making it a very important trade community. Behind the Gibbon House is the Swedish Granary, built in 1650 and believed to be the oldest agricultural building in the United States. This area of South Jersey was known as New Sweden for all the Swedish settlers in the area.

Woodruff Museum of Indian Artifacts Woodruff Museum of Indian Artifacts
Bridgeton Free Public Library
150 East Commerce Street
Bridgeton, NJ
(856) 451–2620

The Woodruff Museum of Indian Artifacts, located inside of the Bridgeton Free Public Library, contains over 20,000 Lenni – Lenape artifacts. Some of the artifacts on display include Indian arrowheads, pots, a collection of axes, cooking utensils, fishing tools and bones. Volunteers provide visitors with tours of the displays.

Millville Army Airfield Museum Millville Army Airfield Museum
Millville Airport
1 Leddon Street
Millville, NJ
(856) 327–2347

The Millville Army Airfield Museum preserves military aviation history through displays and collections of Millville’s role in aviation and the history of the P – 47 Thunderbolt. Millville Army Airfield was dedicated as “America’s First Defense Airport” in 1941 and was used as a gunnery school for fighter pilots.

Wheaton Arts and Cultural Center
Wheaton Arts and cultural Center 1501 Glasstown Road
Millville, NJ
(800) 998–4552

Wheaton Arts and Cultural Center researches, documents and presents traditional cultures of Southern New Jersey’s narrative, music, dance, crafts, and ritual expressions. The Center offers exhibitions, concerts, workshops, and educational classes with a wide variety of artists. Visitors to Wheaton Arts can explore the Museum of American Glass, watch artists use century – old techniques in glass, ceramics and woodcarving studios, or visit the the Down Jersey Folklife Center. Exhibits at the Folklife Center feature the ethnic and community cultures of the eight southern counties of New Jersey: Atlantic, Burlington, Cape May, Camden, Cumberland, Gloucester, Ocean, and Salem.

Bayshore Discovery Project
Bayshore Discovery Project 2800 High Street (Bivalve)
Port Norris, NJ
(856) 785–2060

The Bayshore Discovery Project offers educational programs aimed to conserve and enrich the culture, history and natural resources of the Delaware Estuary. The Bivalve facility is home port of the fully restored historic oyster schooner AJ Meerwald, New Jersey’s Official Tall Ship, as well as historic oyster shipping sheds and wharves. Visitors can take a trip on the AJ Meerwald and learn about the natural, historic and cultural resources of the Delaware Bay and assist with the sail. Bivalve, New Jersey, was and continues to be the Delaware Bay’s biggest oyster port. Once called the “Oyster Capital of the World,” hundreds of schooners and thousands of workers once operated from the Bivalve shipping sheds and wharves.

East Point Lighthouse East Point Lighthouse
East Point Road
Heislerville, NJ

The East Point Lighthouse was built in 1849 and was originally known as the Maurice River Lighthouse. The lighthouse guided fisherman, oysterman and recreational boaters into the mouth of the Maurice River. It is currently under renovation by the Maurice River Historical Society as the building has been vandalized and severely damaged by fire in its past. The East Point Lighthouse is the last remaining lighthouse on the New Jersey side of the Delaware River.


Ocean City Historical Museum
Ocean City Historical Museum 1735 Simpson Avenue
Ocean City, NJ
(609) 399–1801

The Ocean City Historical Museum, located within the Ocean City Community and Cultural Center, has displays on the history and culture of Ocean City and surrounding areas. Ocean City was originally called Peck’s Beach, after John Peck, a whaler on the island. The museum has a collection of artifacts from Ocean City’s past including photographs, toys, clothing, historical timelines and changing exhibits. The museum also has a large collection of artifacts from the Sindia, a four – masted sailing ship that was shipwrecked in Ocean City in 1901.

Cape May County Historical Museum
Cape May County Historical Museum Cresse – Holmes House, 504 Route 9 North
Cape May Court House, NJ
(609) 465–3535

The Cape May County Historical Museum is located within the historic Cresse – Holmes House and contains period rooms with furnishings, costumes and household objects from the 17th to 20th centuries. The museum also contains displays on Cape May’s maritime history including the original Fresnel lens form the Cape May Point Lighthouse and artifacts from Cape May’s whaling community of 1640 – 1700. Other collections at the museum include a Military Room with memorabilia from the Revolutionary to Gulf Wars and a Native American Room with artifacts from the Lenni – Lenapes.

Leaming's Run Gardens and Colonial Farm
Leaming's Run Gardens and Colonial Farm 1845 Route 9 North
Cape May Court House, NJ
(609) 465–5871

Leaming’s Run Gardens and Colonial Farm provides visitors with the opportunity to walk through beautiful gardens and explore a living history museum. The historic Thomas Leaming House is the last remaining example of a whaler’s home in New Jersey and is also one of the oldest houses in Cape May County. The Colonial Farm shows visitors how whalers’ lived with tobacco, cotton and vegetable gardens and farm animals that would have been present on the 18th century.

Avalon Museum and Historical Society Avalon History Center
215 39th Street
Avalon, NJ
(609) 967–0090

The Avalon History Center is located within a restored 1940’s house and contains six rooms with photos, paintings, newspaper articles and displays of artifacts from Avalon’s history. Some of the exhibits feature information on whaling, lifesaving – stations, lifeguards and Indian artifacts. The founders of Avalon envisioned it to be a fashionable and exclusive resort, calling it the “Jewel of the Jersey Coast.

Stone Harbor Museum
Stone Harbor Museum 235 93rd Street
Stone Harbor, NJ
(609) 368–7500

The Stone Harbor Museum is a small museum in a historic building that features archives and artifacts pertaining to Stone Harbor’s history as a coastal town. There is a photographic display on the preservation of landmark homes and businesses, an oral history collection from members of the community and an audio–visual display of lifeguards, the boardwalk and hurricanes and Nor’easters.

Hereford Inlet Lighthouse
Hereforn Inlet Lighthouse 111 North and Central Avenues
North Wildwood, NJ
(609) 522–4520

Hereford Inlet Lighthouse is a working lighthouse and museum situated on the south side of Hereford Inlet, which leads from the Atlantic Ocean to the Intra–Coastal Waterway that links Maine to Florida. Visitors can take a guided tour of the lighthouse and learn about its history or take a stroll through the Victorian gardens. This is the only lighthouse of its kind on the East Coast. The lighthouse was built in 1874 as a navigation aid that marked the mouth of the inlet to aid mariners and reduce shipwrecks. In 1913, the lighthouse was moved 150 feet westward due to storm damage.

George F. Boyer Historical Museum
George F. Boyer Historical Museum 3907 Pacific Avenue
Wildwood, NJ
(609) 523–0277

The George F. Boyer Historical Museum is the historical museum of Wildwood. The Museum collection includes vintage photos, artifacts and other memorabilia from Wildwood’s past. There are also exhibits on the beach patrol, boardwalk and prominent members of the community.

Fisherman's Memorial
Fisherman's Memorial end of Missouri Avenue
Cape May, NJ

The Fishermen's Memorial in Cape May is a monument dedicated to all the fishermen whom have lost their lives in the Cape May area since the mid 1800’s. The memorial shows a woman looking out to sea holding her two children in her arms as she waits for her husband to return. This scene depicts the loneliness held by many families in the Cape May area whom have lost a fisherman to this dangerous profession. Unfortunately, this memorial needs to be updated every few years as more fishermen are lost. Visiting the Fishermen’s Memorial and seeing the flowers left behind by family members reminds you of the strong fishing culture in the Cape May area and the risks these fishermen take to keep their heritage alive.

Mid–Atlantic Center for the Arts (MAC)
Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts (MAC) Emlen Physick Estate
1048 Washington Street
Cape May, NJ
(609) 884–5404

The 1879 Emlen Physick Estate is an 18–room restored mansion that is Cape May’s only Victorian house museum. Visitors can experience the Victorian lifestyle through the Estate’s architecture and exhibits on the customs and lives of the Physick family and the servants that made their lifestyle possible. The Mid–Atlantic Center for the Arts offers guided tours of the Emlen Physick Estate as well as other tours and events throughout Cape May.

The Physick Estate was designed by the Victorian architect, Frank Furness, who designed over 600 buildings in the Philadelphia area during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Emlen Physick was from a wealthy Philadelphia family whose grandfather was considered the father of American surgery. Emlen Physick was trained in medicine, but he chose not to practice. Instead, he worked as a farmer and also sold real estate in Cape May.

Cape May Point State ParkCape May Point State Park
Cape May Lighthouse
End of Lighthouse Avenue
Cape May Point, NJ
(609) 884–2159

Cape May Point State Park is the home of the Cape May Lighthouse as well as nature trails, an environmental center and museum with live animals. Visitors can enjoy the scenic views of the coast, marshes and ponds and watch the fall bird migration. Cape May Point State Park was once a military base during the Harbor Defense Project of 1942. At low tide, visitors can see the gun turrets of the World War II Bunker near the lighthouse.

The Cape May Lighthouse that stands today was the third one built at the tip of the cape. The first two lighthouses were destroyed by erosion and the elements. Visitors can climb 199 steps to the top of the lighthouse for a scenic view of Delaware Bay. The lighthouse is still operational and continues to aid navigation for those in the lower Delaware Bay. The original first order Fresnel lens from the lighthouse is on display at the Cape May County Historical Museum.

Cape May's Center for Community Arts Cape May's Center for Community Arts
Community History Program
712 Lafayette Street
Cape May, NJ
(609) 884–7525

The Center for Community Arts is a multicultural education organization that holds arts and humanities programs. The Community History Program preserves the African American history of Cape May County through its African American Heritage Walking Tours.

Historic Cold Spring Village
Historic cold Spring Village 720 Route 9
Cape May, NJ
(609) 898–2300

Historic Cold Spring Village is an outdoor living history museum that shows visitors what everyday life was like in a coastal farming community during the “age of the homespun” (1790–1840). Visitors can learn about the trades and crafts of early Americans from interpreters dressed in period clothing in 26 historic buildings. Children can participate in hands–on activities such as crafts and games.

Concrete Ship
Concrete Ship Foot of Sunset Boulevard
Cape May Point, NJ

The remains of the U.S.S. Atlantus are located right off of Cape May Point’s Sunset Beach. The U.S.S. Atlantus, a ship constructed of concrete for the U.S. Navy, can be seen right from the beach, sticking out of the water about 100 yards offshore. This ship is only one of twelve that was produced towards the end of World War I when steal supplies were limited. The Atlantus was used to transport troops and then was destined to become the base of the ferry dock in Cape May. However, the ship never made it to the ferry dock and sank in 1926 where it can still be seen today as a reminder of the coastal defenses of our past.