Historical significance of Cape May’s endangered Beach Theater
CAPE MAY, NJ — The Beach Theater is now the subject of a demolition application. Let us hope that people are aware of the historical significance of this structure.
First of all, the theater was designed by the noted architect William H. Lee of Philadelphia who designed many theaters along the Jersey shore. Unfortunately, this is one of the last of his theaters that remains, particularly in the southern part of the state.
It is also one of the first, if not THE first theater in the country to be designed with retail stores attached, a style that is still duplicated today on a much larger scale, in many shopping malls. Secondly, the builder of the theater was Mr. William C. Hunt. Mr. Hunt began one of the nation’s first “nickelodeons” in Camden, NJ and built an empire in the theater business.
Any and all efforts should be made to save this structure before it is too late. Any suggestions and/or advice would be greatly appreciated. Time is crucial, as a hearing is scheduled for Monday, December 11, 2006 before the city’s Historic Preservation Commission.