Cape Charles History

Cape Charles is an historic Victorian town in the process of rejuvenation and new development. The town of Cape Charles is included in the National Register of Historical Places. As you’ll see on the residential streets of town, some original homes remain from the late 1800’s and display beautiful Eastern Shore architecture, such as the Kellogg House and the Cape Charles House Bed and Breakfast.

Mason Avenue serves as the town’s “main street” because it’s lined with shops, eateries, wares and novelty stores, and the elegantly restored Palace Theatre which are a part of the town’s rich history. The Town is 7 blocks by 7 blocks. East-west streets are named after Virginia statesmen, and north-south streets are named for fruits.

At the north end of Fig street you’ll find our residential marina villages noted for their vivid coastal colors and British West Indies architecture.

A Short History

Cape Charles History 1
Historically, the town was one of many small, scattered agricultural communities on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. Around the 1880’s, it became a bustling town as patronage flourished from the newly established railroad business (the rails were extended from Pocomoke, Maryland in 1884). Then, Cape Charles hosted daily trains from New York, multiple passenger steamer boats, and was a loading point for cargo headed over the 36-mile Chesapeake Bay waters to Norfolk, Virginia.

CapeCharles2The town thrived through the booming railroad age, through World War II ferrying supplies and troops, and was even popular through the 1950’s as a popular auto ferry until the ferry was moved to Kiptopeke, to the south. With the opening of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel in 1964, and the decline of railroad transit, the town experienced an economic downturn, as cargo trucks became the main shipping method.

Cape Charles has endured some decades of economic strife, however in the last few years there have been significant increases in the amount of commerce, patronage and development in the town.

Bay Creek