West Cape May
West Cape May, formerly known as Eldredge, is one of the four jurisdictions that comprise Cape Island in Cape May County and was incorporated as a Borough in late 1884. The Borough was home to Mayflower descendents, former slaves, riverboat pilots and whalers. The Borough’s history goes back to the time of the Lenape Indians and several buildings date to the Colonial period. The area has a rich agricultural history which continues to be celebrated each year with a summer farmers’ market, and strawberry and lima bean festivals. It was once known as the “Lima Bean Capital East of the Rockies.” The Borough has reported ties to the Underground Railroad and has been home to numerous African Americans. From 1881 to 1931, the Hastings Goldbeating Company was located in the Borough employing women to pound one-inch strips of gold into gossamer-thin sheets used for decorative arts. Women still did the “booking” of gold leaf sheets until 1961.