1850sCape Island City incorporated in 1851. Start of the resort’s heyday: renovation of Congress Hall, building of the Mount Vernon Hotel (1852) with a projected capacity of 3500 and an actual capacity of 2100 when it burned down in 1856
Lighthouse 1859A new lighthouse is built.
1860sFirst railroad to Cape Island completed in 1863 Cape Island City granted charter under name of City of Cape May (1868)
1869Opening of Stockton Hotel (1869).
1870sBuilding of Physick Estate and Chalfonte Hotel Great fire of 1878 destroys 35 city acres, including Congress Hall. Congress Hall is rebuilt in 1878-79
1880s-1890sCape May rivals Atlantic City
1890s-1900sFailed development of East Cape May Hotel Cape May opens in 1908 only to close six months later Cape May progressively eclipsed by Atlantic City as the primary
1910s-1930sLack of development preserves eighteenth and nineteenth-century buildings Hotel Cape May is used by the Navy during World War I, then reopens in 1920 as a hotel, becoming the Admiral Hotel in 1931.