Cape Charles

Cape Charles By the Bay. Virginia's Cape. 

 

LOVE Cape Charles
Photo credit: William Dyas

For more information about Cape Charles LOVE works, please read "Summer of LOVE/ Cape Charles LOVEwork,." written in 2019 in celebration of 50 years of LOVE, Virginia is for Lovers campaign. 


Visit the official Town of Cape Charles website and Facebook page Municipal Corporation of Cape Charles.  




History

 

The Eastern Shore of Virginia, one of the earliest colonized areas in North America, remained a seafood and agricultural region with scattered small towns until the 1880s. At this time, the land that became the Town of Cape Charles consisted of farmlands and wetlands. The construction of what is now the Bay Coast Railroad led to the evolution of the area from a small agricultural community to a bustling railroad town.

In the late 1870s, the Pennsylvania Railroad served many of the large cities on the east coast. However, along the Delmarva Peninsula, the railroad only came as far south as Pocomoke, Maryland. Extending the railroad farther south was only feasible if a barge and steamer link could be built near the southern end of the Delmarva Peninsula, where freight and passengers could then transfer across the Chesapeake Bay to Norfolk. When William L. Scott, a congressman from Erie, Pennsylvania with vast rail interests in the West, proposed this rail-sea link to Pennsylvania Railroad officials, very little interest was generated initially.

Despite a lack of support, Alexander Cassatt, then an engineer and Vice-President of Traffic with Pennsylvania Railroad, was interested in Scott’s proposal. In 1882, Cassatt resigned from his position to work with Scott on his proposed project. Traveling by horseback from Pocomoke, Cassatt personally laid out the 65 mile route the railroad would take and chose the spot for its southern terminus, harbor, and connecting channel, which he dredged at his own expense. At the southern terminus, Scott envisioned a town that would meet the needs of the railroad and its passengers. This led to the creation of Cape Charles.

In 1883, Scott purchased three plantations comprising approximately 2,509 acres from the heirs of former Virginia Governor Littleton Waller Tazewell. Of this land, 136 acres went to create the Town of Cape Charles. From its very conception, Cape Charles was a planned community. Scott commissioned two engineers to do the official mapping of the Town in 1884. The original Town was approximately 136 acres divided into 644 equal lots. Seven avenues which extend from east to west were named for Virginia statesmen; the streets which extend north and south were named for fruits. The original layout of the Town is still visible today.

By October 1884, the railroad's first passenger and freight trains began running and within six months, two passenger steamers, as well as specially designed railroad freight barges, were regularly making the 36 mile Bay crossing. Trains soon arrived daily from New York, and the Eastern Shore’s towns prospered as their produce could easily be exported to metropolitan areas. By 1885, the first residential and commercial buildings existed in Cape Charles along with a volunteer fire department, a newspaper, a school, and multiple churches.

Historical Harbor Incorporated on March 1, 1886, Cape Charles quickly became the economic focus of Northampton County. Paved streets, electricity, telephones, and a central water and sewage system made the Town more cosmopolitan than other Eastern Shore towns. Members of older county families were attracted to the Town and built their homes among those of the railroad employees.

Many houses in Cape Charles were built by William H. Lambertson, who came to the Town from Pocomoke. It is said that when he arrived in the 1880s, there were fewer than 50 houses, and by the time of his death in 1948, he had built more than half of the structures in Cape Charles.

In 1911, wetlands near the Chesapeake Bay were drained and filled. The original east-west avenues were extended west, and two more north-south streets were added: Bay Avenue along the edge of the Bay and Harbor Avenue between Bay Avenue and Pine Street. The additional 38 acres of filled land provided 97 new building lots in the Sea Cottages Addition.

The Town continued to grow and develop throughout the golden age of railroads, through World War II with its mission of ferrying troops and supplies, and into the 1950s until the auto ferry was moved to Kiptopeke. At the Town’s peak period of development in the early 1900s, as many as 300 cars per day were transported through the Town’s harbor. In 1958, the last passenger train left Cape Charles.

With the decline of the railroad industry following World War II and the increase of local truck shipping resulting from the opening of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel in 1964, the Town experienced an economic downturn. The Cape Charles economy endured several decades of decline. However, the Town has recently seen an increase in its economic prosperity, and has experienced a great deal of growth in the past several years.

From the Cape Charles Comprehensive Plan Adopted December 14, 1999.





Cape Charles: Then and Now by Sunday Historical 
Published  May 21, 2020
"Come along for a ride through Cape Charles VA with Sunday Historical. Enjoy the history and architecture."



Town Hall 

Cape Charles Town Hall

The shingle Victorian building at 500 Tazewell Avenue was first a church, then a library and it now serves as the Civic Center where Town Council meetings are held.
The Cape Charles Civic Center was built in 1900 as a First Presbyterian Church. 
In 1926, the library moved into the vacated church. The Northampton Memorial Library was dedicated in 1927 to the memory of local men who died in World War I and was the first memorial library in Virginia. A bronze tablet bearing their names is located at 500 Tazewell Avenue. 

TOWN OF CAPE CHARLES Elected Officials

MAYOR (4 Year Term)
(Beginning July 1, 2018)

W.S. "Smitty” Dize
118 Peach St.
Cape Charles, VA 23310
757-331-8640

MEMBER OF TOWN COUNCIL (4 YEAR TERM) (BEGINNING JULY 1, 2018)

Paul E. Grossman
506 Randolph Ave.
Cape Charles, VA 23310
804-329-0757

L. G. "Chris” Bannon
9 Tazewell Ave.
Cape Charles, VA 23310
757-331-2206

Tammy G. Holloway
403 Tazewell Ave.
Cape Charles, VA 23310
757-331-2838

MEMBER OF TOWN COUNCIL (4 YEAR TERM) (BEGINNING JULY 1, 2020) 

 

Steven R. Bennett 
100 Creekside Lane 
Cape Charles, Virginia 23310
757-331-4689

Andy Buchholz
704 Prestwick Lane 
Cape Charles, Virginia 23310 
757-331-4432 

Andrew C. Follmer
PO Box 167
Cape Charles, Virginia 23310
202-390-8677 


 

Public Safety

 

Cape Charles Volunteer Fire Company

Cape Charles Fire Station 15
Photo credit: William Dyas

Station 15 Cape Charles Vol Fire Co
501 Mason Ave.  Cape Charles, VA
757-331-2826
http://www.capecharlesvfc.org/
Cape Charles Volunteer Fire Co. Facebook page 

See more on our Volunteer Fire and Rescue page




Cape Charles Police Department 

Cape Charles Police Dept. sign

Chief Jim Pruitt
Office: 757.331.3096 (For assistance, please call 757.678.0458.)
Fax: 757.331.1817
chief@capecharles.org

Police Department
2 Plum Street, first floor
Cape Charles, VA 23310

For Emergencies, call 911. 



CAPE CHARLES RESCUE STATION 

Cape Charles Rescue Service
Cape Charles Rescue Service is located in Cheriton

Cape Charles Rescue Service
22215 South Bayside Rd Cheriton
757-331-2392 

"Located in the rural county of Northampton, Virginia on the Lower Eastern Shore. We provide emergency medical services to the residents of the neighborhoods of Cheriton, Cape Charles and the surrounding areas in the lower portion of Northampton County."

Visit the Fire and Rescue page for more information. 



Businesses 

 

Mason Ave and Strawberry St
Lemon Tree Gallery at the Corner of Mason Ave. and Strawberry St. 
Photo credit: William Dyas

 

"A tiny beach town on the Chesapeake Bay, Cape Charles has a free public beach that’s just steps from hotels, galleries, restaurants, tasting rooms and an artisan ice cream parlor. If you’re lucky, you might spot a mega yacht docked at the Cape Charles Yacht Center. Championship golf courses and a microbrewery are just a golf-cart ride away. B&Bs, boutique hotels and vacation homes line the leafy streets. Wildlife refuges and Kiptopeke State Park are just a short drive South."  -from Visit ESVA Cape Charles page

For a complete list of where to stay, eat, shop and play in Cape Charles, please see visitesva.com.  


27 Businesses in Cape Charles were named Virginia Living's 2020 Best of Awards. 
Jul 14, 2020: CAPE CHARLES CLEANS UP IN VIRGINIA LIVING BEST OF AWARDS


Cape Charles Virginia Mason Ave
The corner of Mason Ave. and Pine St in Cape Charles where the Cape Charles Memorial Library is located. Next door is Brown Dog Ice Cream.  Photo: Jean E. Flynn

Many bloggers have traveled to charming Cape Charles to write about this quaint town by the Bay. Check out Young House Love's Guide to Cape Charles for a take on what young families can expect from their visit. The photos capture the Happiest Seaside Town in America perfectly. 



Golf carts parked outside of the Oyster Farm
Golf carts are the vehicle of choice in Cape Charles. Photo credit: William Dyas 




Schools 

 

For a complete list of k-12 schools in Northampton, please see
Northampton County Public Schools.  



Kiptopeke Elementary School 


Kiptopeke Elementary School

Home of the Kippers 

Address: 24023 Fairview Rd
Cape Charles, VA 23310
Phone: 757-678-5151 

KES VISION
For all students to become Respectful, Responsible, Lifelong Learners!

KES Mission
To develop a safe environment that encourages students to be creative, set goals, and make real world connections 


Belief Statement:
We believe that commitment to continuous improvement is essential if we are going to enable our students to become productive, lifelong learners.

We believe that the school, home, and community must share responsibility for the needs and development of children while fostering an appreciation for individual and cultural differences.
*To facilitate growth academically and socially in each child, we believe in building a strong partnership with our students, their families, and the community.


 

Cape Charles Christian School 

Cape Charles Christian School

237 Tazewell Avenue
Cape Charles, VA 23310
Phone: (757) 331-1717
Fax: (757) 331-1108
Debbie@CCCSesva.org 
cccsesva.org 

"Trusting in God's guidance, the mission of the Cape Charles Christian School is to educate and develop the whole child in a non-denominational setting.

Located within the town of Cape Charles, our community school educates and inspires children Pre-Kindergarten through Grade 8 by offering multi-aged classrooms and a curriculum designed to fit the needs of each child. This curriculum, together with our creative environment, is structured to develop each child's mind, body, spirit and sense of community.

At CCCS our students are happy, curious and confident and our teachers love to teach." 


 

Recreation 


 

Water Recreation 

 

Cape Charles Beach 

Cape Charles Beach Pavilion
Photo by Jean E. Flynn

The Cape Charles Town Beach is located along Bay Avenue with beach access at the end of every block. The Cape Charles Town Beach is the only public beach on the Eastern Shore of Virginia that does not require an entrance or parking fee. Residents and visitors of the Town use the beach for swimming, sunbathing, and similar recreational pursuits.

Located at the ends of Tazewell and Randolph Avenues are two wooden beach access points with view platforms and benches for people to enjoy views of the Chesapeake Bay and our spectacular sunsets. A large pavilion and park benches are located on the sidewalk that runs parallel to the beach. Public restroom facilities are provided at the southern end of the beach by the entrance to the fishing pier.

Source: http://www.capecharlesvirginiascape.com/about/  

For more information please see our Free Recreation, Beaches page. 

CC beach walk with LOVE sign
Walkway in front of the beach dunes with the LOVEworks and fun pier in the background. Photo by Jean E. Flynn 





Cape Charles Fun Pier

Cape Charles Fishing Pier

Adjacent to the public beach is a municipal pier which extends across the stone jetty at the entrance of the harbor. The wooden pier, which is known as the Fun Pier, has a railed siding and several built-in benches, and is frequently utilized by Town residents and visitors for sightseeing. -via Cape Charles Comprehensive Plan

Background:

The Cape Charles Fishing Pier was completed in November 2005. The project received $300,000 in VSRFDF grant funds. The project included the replacement of the old fishing pier and boardwalk (now about 5 ft. wide). Also, 300 ft. of pier (10-12 ft. wide) with a small shaded area. An end platform was also added. The additional length of pier with alternating high and low areas, provides easier fishing opportunities for everyone, closer to the deeper water of the Cape Charles Harbor Federal Channel. 

Fun Pier lit for the evening


The pier is lighted for safety and night fishing. It is free to fish from the pier and restroom facilities are available. 
Also, the Town purchased a saltwater recreational pier fishing license to cover those fishing from the pier, so individual licenses are not necessary. Many of the popular Chesapeake Bay species may be caught off this pier.

Directions:

The Cape Charles Fishing Pier is in Northampton County and overlooks Cape Charles Harbor and the Chesapeake Bay

From US Rt. 13, head W on Rt. 184 (Randolph Avenue) toward Cape Charles. Turn left at the stop sign onto Fig Street, which will curve to the right and change into Mason Avenue. Go to the end of the road. Parking is along the main road.

Contact:

Cape Charles Municipal Building
2 Plum Street
Cape Charles, VA 23310
757-331-3259

-from https://mrc.virginia.gov/vsrfdf/capecharles.shtm


 

Boating 

Cape Charles Harbor
Masts of boats can be seen in Cape Charles Harbor from Mason Ave. The Shanty restaurant is the red building on the docks. Photo by Jean E. Flynn 

Cape Charles Harbor

https://www.capecharlesharbor.com/

Cape Charles Harbor is the primary marine transportation facility in Northampton County. The harbor is accessed by the Cape Charles Harbor Federal Project Channel. As the Southern terminus of the Bay Coast Railroad, the railroad cars were historically transported via car float to Little Creek for delivery to the Norfolk Southern Railway.

The Town of Cape Charles operates a Color-coded routes modern marina with 96 full time and transient slips in Cape Charles Harbor, and installed new bulk-heading, restrooms, and a bath house. The inner harbor can accommodate a vessel up to 180 feet in length with a draft larger than 7 feet or a vessel up to 400 feet if the draft is less than 7 feet. The channel depth is expected to be maintained at 18 feet. In addition, there is approximately 1,000 feet of seawall tie-up. Services include gasoline and diesel fuel, water, ice, and electricity.

A seasonal waterfront restaurant opened in 2012. Two double boat ramps owned by the Town have been renovated by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. Cape Charles Town Harbor

The harbor is also a commercial fishing port and home to a U.S. Coast Guard Station. A portion of the harbor is maintained as an emergency ferry landing, which can be used to transport vehicles if the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel is damaged and has to be closed for repairs.
The channel into the harbor and the docking area on the South side were dredged to 18 feet in 2016. The area at the floating docks was dredged to 14 feet at the same time.
Three new break waters have been installed at the entrance of the harbor with help from funding coming from the Virginia Port Authority. There are plans for a fourth breakwater and increasing the height of the jetty on the northern border of the harbor. There are also plans to install a wave attenuator west of the dock area.

A full service yacht center has a 75 metric ton boat lift capable of lifting boats with beams up to 25.5 feet. It is a full service marina offering storage, fuel and repairs. 
Cape Charles Yacht Center 


King’s Creek

Oyster Farm/ Marina at night
Photo credit: William Dyas

A separate marina is accessible from the Chesapeake Bay via Cherrystone Inlet. The marina has recently been rebuilt and expanded into a luxury marina with 224 slips, commercial space, rental properties, event space, and a restaurant.

The Oyster Marina- King's Creek 

Oyster Farm Marina at Night
A couple walks by moored boats on the docks at The Oyster Farm Marina lit up on a summer evening. Photo credit: William Dyas

For more boat ramps in the County, visit our Boat Ramps page.



Cape Charles Central Park 

 

Central Park is conveniently located in the center of historic downtown Cape Charles. In 2010, Central Park was redesigned with a large pergola, gazebo, benches, and a beautiful fountain. New landscaping was added to create the warm, welcoming open space you see today. 

Cape Charles Central Park fountainCape Charles Central Park gazebo and pergola
Photos by Jean E. Flynn


There is a quarter-mile walking path surrounding the large open field. Central Park is host to many annual events such as Crabby Blues Festival (May), Labor Day Neighborhood Picnic (September), and Grand Illumination (November).
Source: http://www.capecharlesvirginiascape.com/about/

Free live music in the parkIn the summertime, 
Harbor for the Arts
 offers free live music in the park on Saturdays at 7 PM. Check out our Live Music Calendar for bands. 

Photo Credit: William Dyas  

 

See our Parks page for more information about parks in Northampton County. 


Cape Kids Play Area

Playground entrance and courts in background
The gateway to the kids play area with tennis courts in the background.  Photo by Jean e. Flynn 

Cape Kids Play Area is located in Central Park and offers a variety of playground fun for all ages and skill levels.  There is also an ADA swing intended for children with disabilities. Jungle gyms, slides, zipline and a musical xylophone are as much for fun as for learning and developing.  

Playset in the park








Tennis Courts 

Tennis Courts in Cape Charles
The tennis courts are located near Cape Charles Central Park. Pickleball is also available at the courts. Please follow the rules posted and bring your own balls. 

Tennis Court Rules

In addition, the Town of Cape Charles has a recreation department which provides soccer goals in the park. In the summer, two volleyball nets are set up on the beach for fun and games. All you have to do is find some friends to play with and bring a ball. Questions? Call the Recreation Department at (757) 331-4785. 

Cape Charles Central Park panoramic of fields and sidewalk.
Photos by Jean E. Flynn



Nature Trails, Bike Trails and Healthy Walks 

 

Cape Charles Natural Area Preserve 

Beginning of boardwalk at Cape Charles Natural Area Preserve

 301 Patrick Henry Avenue
Cape Charles, VA 23310 
Site Contact: Virginia Department of Conservation & Recreation, Eastern Shore Region Steward: 757-787-5989 
Website: CCNAP

"The 29-acre Cape Charles Natural Area Preserve, owned by Virginia Department of Conservation & Recreation, has a long boardwalk that traverses several natural communities, including a Maritime Loblolly Pine Forest, and ends at a low bluff overlooking the Chesapeake Bay. The preserve provides habitat for the federally threatened northeastern beach tiger beetle and is part of the Lower Delmarva Important Bird Area." 

NOTE: 
There is no beach access for the public due to the sensitivity of the habitat.
There are no facilities on site.  
-Source : Virginia DWR 


For more Nature Trails in Northampton County, visit our Nature Trails page



 

Southern Tip Bike and Hike Trail 

Southern Tip Bike Trail

  • Trail starts at Eastern Shore Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center (VC) parking lot (mile marker 0.0)
  • There are parking and bathroom facilities at the Refuge Welcome Center.
  • Continues north to Cedar Grove Drive- 2.6 miles (parallel to Rt. 13’s northbound lanes).
  • At Cedar Grove Drive there is another constructed parking lot- no bathroom facilities. 
  • Continues north from Cedar Grove Drive to Capeville Drive- 2.4 miles.
  • Ends just south of Cape Center (crosses Townsend Drive) 
  • Approximately 5.0 miles total in one direction. 
  • Trail 10-foot wide, asphalt surface, 2-foot wide shoulders (14-foot total)
  • Bike repair stations and benches are dispersed along the trail. 
  • Use for walking and bikes (no horses, ATVs, golf carts) 

 

The trail provides a premier outdoor experience for anyone using it – locals or tourists and connects important natural assets – Eastern Shore of Virginia National Wildlife Refuge, Kiptopeke State Park, Cape Charles Natural Area. This 5.3-mile stretch is the ‘first leg’ of the Eastern Shore of Virginia trail system that would eventually connect with Maryland’s trails on Delmarva. 

For more information see our Southern Tip Bike Trail page


 

Healthy Walks 

 

Cape Charles Walking Trail
Well lit, wide sidewalks take you around scenic Cape Charles.
Photos by Jean E. Flynn


Cape Charles beach trailA 1.44 mile walk through Victorian town streets and the town park, most of which is on town sidewalks. About 0.4 mile is along the Chesapeake Bay beachfront and about 0.3 mile is through the business district. 

Learn more on our Healthy Walks page.


Cape Charles Community Trail 

Community Trail sign

"The proposed Cape Charles Community Trail builds on the town’s inherent historic quality and character. Cape Charles is currently going through a rebirth and concurrently developing plans
that will help to guide that development in a manner that benefits the town as a whole. The community trail is one piece in bringing forward a rebirth of Cape Charles.

The proposed Community Trail Network links Cape Charles residents and visitors to the town’s many destinations. It also links to and incorporates the bicycle and trail recommendations of adjacent localities and planning district commissions.
Trail to the Oyster Farm MarinaThe plan is a direct result of a detailed analysis with input from many stakeholders and citizens. The proposed community trail network is comprised of trail linkages within its historic core and out into the surrounding area. Once implemented, this system will provide pedestrians and bicyclists safe access to the many destinations in Cape Charles, adding greatly to the uniqueness and attractiveness of the town." 

Source: Cape Charles Community Trail Master Plan



Community 

 

Cape Charles Museum and Welcome Center 

Cape Charles Museum
Photo credit: William Dyas

814 Randolph Ave, Cape Charles, VA 23310
Phone: (757) 331-1008

On the way into town the Cape Charles Museum and Welcome Center beckons visitors to come explore the town's rich history. The museum chronicles  the making of this once booming railroad town through artfully displayed artifacts, photos and interesting storytelling. 

Visit The Cape Charles Museum's website for more information about hours of operation and special exhibits. 


 

New Roots Youth Garden

New Roots Youth Garden
Photos of garden credit: Jean E. Flynn

The New Roots Youth Garden is not hard to miss for all those headed into the beautiful town of Cape Charles, Virginia. It sits right across from the official town welcome sign, and is a perfect representation of the values that the Town of Cape Charles has prioritized. New Roots Youth Garden was at first just a seed of an idea that sprouted and grew in the mind of Laurie Klingel as a Masters Graduate Project. In partnership with Tammy Holloway, ESVMG Master Gardener, they took it from the armchair and into the real world. 
Raised beds of veggies and herbsThe entire town, from the Town giving NRYG the land that was previously just an empty, barren lot, to the countless volunteers who wrote grants and did fundraising and dug the beds themselves, embraced the idea with the enthusiasm that comes from working as a community to create a community space. At first there were 8 raised beds...then Brown Dog donated two big deep raised beds...then two more trug beds were added...a pollinator garden took root...a little herb garden appeared on the side of the fence…

And now in 2019, in the 8th year of the New Roots Youth Garden being an active teaching youth garden, we have 12 raised beds, two waist-high beds, two garden trugs, a Littles Learning Space, a gorgeous pollinator garden, an herb garden, a fence-side garden full of summer cantaloupe, a wonderful pumpkin/melon patch that overflow into the yard, two happy little fig trees and a lovely 3 Sisters Garden and a 3-section compost system. Little's Garden and Pollinator garden

 The Garden continues to grow and will keep flourishing under the love and care of the volunteers and children that tend to the veggies and fruits. We grow a broad range of garden vegetables including tomatoes, squash, peppers, beans, kale, spinach, radishes, carrots, turnips, garlic, cabbage, and peas. The gardens also include cantaloupe, watermelon, and pumpkin which allow children and adults to see that it doesn’t take much space to eat a little more healthy. 


Caterpillar on parsley Bee good!  Pick a Pepper
Photos courtesy: ESVMG

 The next time you are in Cape Charles, come see the magic growing at the corner of Fig and Mason!  

Learn more about the seven Master Gardens in Northampton County.


Cape Charles Memorial Library 

Pillars of CCML

Cape Charles Memorial Library
 201 Mason Ave, Cape Charles, VA 23310
Phone: (757) 331-1300

 "The Cape Charles Memorial Library (CCML) offers patrons a window to a larger world, providing resources to educate and to stimulate.
Any resident of the Eastern Shore of Virginia can get a free library card by completing an application and presenting photo ID and proof of residency," states CCML on their website. 

"The Library offers many programs throughout the year for children, teens, and adults. Programs include a weekly story time for toddlers and preschoolers, LEGO Club, a summer reading program, movie nights, workshops, and community information programs." 

There are computers and free wifi for library patrons. 


 


Cape Charles "Light" er...Water Tower

Cape Charles Water TowerRide into Cape Charles on Stone Road and you’ll see an iconic structure that looks like a lighthouse but it’s actually a water tower. The Cape Charles water tower was designed in 1992 and won a national award from the Steel Plate Fabricators Association for its "aesthetic and functional value."  According to the self-guided walking tour brochure, A Walking Tour of Historic Cape Charles, Virginia, “This 1992 award-winning design was patterned after the 1893 Cape Charles Light House on Smith Island. The tank holds 300,000 gallons of water and sits 217 feet above the ground.” 


In 1993, an article appeared in the local newspaper that celebrated the Cape Charles water tower's design award: 

Cape Charles Lighthouse wins national design award 

"Lighthouses have been guiding mariners safely into port for centuries. Although Cape Charles’ new replica of a lighthouse has been known to steer a few boaters back to harbor, townsfolk hope the lighthouse replica will also lure more shoppers and vacationers to town. 
The town’s new 300,000 gallon water tower-designed to imitate a coastal lighthouse-has won a national award from the Steel Plate Fabricators Association for its aesthetic and functional value. 

The tower is one phase of the town’s $3.2 million improvements to its water system. Improvements also included increased capacity and new water pipes. When Brown & Root, Inc. begins construction on its planned residential and resort development in Cape Charles, it will further expand the system, Town Manager Dick Barton said. 

Wade D. Newman, executive director of the Chicago fabricators association that judges tanks, said entries are evaluated on both design and artistic merit- on their good looks and durability. 
“We look for uniqueness,” Newman said. “The unique design was remarkable about this one.”
The water tower was modeled after the Smith Island lighthouse, built in 1832 for $7,398. Although the original lighthouse was wooden, it was replaced by a brick tower in 1872 and again 20 years later by a metal frame lighthouse.

The water tower which stands nearly 200 feet, costs $420,000 to build. Brown & Root paid $106,000 for the lighthouse design: the town spent another $14,000. The remainder for the expenditure was for the construction and was paid for by the town. The town council is also considering fixing a light atop the tower. Estimates made about a year ago put the cost of the light around $20,000. According to a council member, however, the light was not a top priority. "

This article can be viewed in current news media,  Eastern Shore First 25 Years Ago section 1993 page 50 "Cape Charles Light Wins National Design Award" 

Cape Charles Harbor and Water Tower in background

Cape Charles Water Tower and Cape Charles Harbor.
Photos by Richard Wiseman


Learn more about the lighthouses of Northampton County on our Lighthouses page


 


Historic Palace Theatre 

Historic Palace Theatre
The entrance and marquee to the Historic Palace Theatre with Lemon Tree Gallery next door. Both venues are home to GEAR Fine and Performing Arts, a non-profit 501c3 organization for community arts.  Photos courtesy of GEAR.

"The Historic Palace Theatre, where many GEAR Fine and Performing arts events and classes are held, is an excellent example of Art Deco, with its porthole glass paneled doors, upholstered interior walls, bucket lights, neon lighting, and exceptional hand-painted murals. When the Palace Theatre opened in 1942, it was hailed as one of the largest and most ornate picture theatres between Norfolk and Philadelphia. The terrazzo floors, walnut paneling, and ceiling-to-floor mirrors helped to complete its majesty.  

The Palace was the embodiment of Cape Charles itself: at the time, a thriving community with tens of thousands of travelers arriving by train and ferry. With more than three hundred seats, the Palace lived up to its name as a spectacular cornerstone of the small town on the Chesapeake Bay, as it played some of the most celebrated motion pictures emerging from Hollywood. View of the theatre stage from the house.

With the opening of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel in 1964, Cape Charles was abandoned to its fate and withered from neglect and disrepair along with its theatre. Efforts to restore the Palace began in earnest with the incorporation of Arts Enter Cape Charles in 1997. Over $600,000 has been fundraised to restore this precious gem. New seats, restored murals, upgraded heating/cooling, new lighting, purchase of a grand Steinway piano, and renovated bathrooms are among the enhancements that helped return the theatre to its 1940s splendor and enjoyed by patrons today.

The grand piano at the theatre. The theatre was sold to Dr. John and Clelia Sheppard in mid 2018 as part of the transition of Arts Enter shifting to the management of GEAR Fine and Performing Arts. With this new arrangement, the historic landmark will be sustained for generations to come as a venue for the arts and a center for the community to experience and witness culture." 

Source: GEAR Fine and Performing Arts




Little Free Libraries 

"Little Free Library is a nonprofit organization that inspires a love of reading, builds community, and sparks creativity by fostering neighborhood book exchanges around the world." 

In Cape Charles there are four locations in town: The beach, in Central Park, at Kings Creek Marina, and the Town Harbor. Go to the Little Free Library Map Page to find the exact locations. 
Relax and read a book. 

Little Free Library 
Lil Free Library on Randolph  Lil Free Library at Cape Kids park

 



Free Wifi 

Cape Charles Museum, 814 Randolph Ave, Cape Charles, VA
Cape Charles Memorial Library 201 Mason Ave, Cape Charles, VA 23310