The expression “nothing lasts forever” could dim the light in a room full of things that we wouldn’t want to live without. But it’s true; things decay, even the things we love. The people of Cape May seem to have had a quite personal attachment to the colossal Christain Admiral. This nameshifting building underwent several significant transitions since its construction in 1908 as the “Hotel Cape May’”—all in an attempt to keep “her” (as the locals of Cape May referred to this historic structure) operable.
Visitors continued to stay through the eras as it was renamed and rebranded. The Christian Admiral was its final phase and Reverend Carl McIntire was the building’s final savior. His Christian Admiral was renovated on a pious foundation, hosting bible retreats and church gatherings. The faith he had in the Christian Admiral comes across clearly in this 1966 postcard written by McIntire himself.
April 20 1966
God- the true and loving God- gave us the Christian Admiral. I was there yesterday. Our new sky-view dining room, a memorial seating 250, is being built on the top roof in the center. I invite you to come see us this season (may 27-oct 15). We need to get together. Here is a place for vacation. I hope we can see each other here. May God keep and bles us these days.
Hotel Cape May: 1908-1939
Sep 5 1908
Take it easy and dont work so hard. Will be back on Thurs-day.
We are coming up to see you soon- Fan
Sent to Philadelphia
The Admiral Hotel: 1940-1963
June 18 1956
Just a line Virgil + Jay had a good trip down River, took Stevie + girls Fishing today, Stevie can get his first fish. Having a wonderful time Hotter than _ _ _ _. We’ll keep things hot down here so you can take over when you come down. Boat really neat
Sent to Wilmington Del
The Christian Admiral: 1963-1996
(demo in 1996, officially closed 1991)
Sep 11 1975
Having a fine time down here with our church group. Fine weather plenty to see.
Yours truly Paul Bartsch
Sent to Philadelphia
The Christian Admiral’s 1996 demolition was a dark time in the community that longed for this staple of Cape May history to endure. But in order to resurrect our beloved Congress Hall, the Christian Admiral had to be put to rest. The memory of The Christian Admiral, however, lives on.
If the life story of Hotel Cape May/ The Admiral/ The Christian Admiral piques your interest, Jon Roth wrote a feature in our June 2016 issue that conveys the building’s plot twists and downfalls in the most informative and compelling fashion. ■