For the last decade, we have watched the slow, methodical gentrification of Cape Charles. Like an anaconda, the muscle of rich, northern money has been used to strangle and suffocate the last remaining bits of the town’s authenticity. The whole historic thing is laughable. Bird is not the word, tourism is. The industrial and rail history is being canceled in favor of tourist-driven eateries and shops. Years ago, this writer was laughed at for coining the term “Cape Maying”, but who’s laughing now? In fact, Cape May is probably jealous of how fast this place sold out.
The ultimate goal of the Cape May effect is homogenization–eliminating as much diversity as possible. This accounts for all this Rosenwald School hoopla and the almost frantic way the white people are frothing at the mouth, throwing money and taxpayer resources at Cape Charles’ most prominent symbol of racism and segregation (all while pricing out a large swath of the African-American community). As if this will somehow cleanse the past. It’s just a way of glorifying segregation without saying you’re glorifying it, all the while whitewashing what you are currently doing, trying to cover up the secret yearning for a town made up of people who look, think, and are from the same class as you. You would think the community would have rallied around the Cape Charles School, which was actually the place that ended racial segregation–many of the same Rosenwald proponents fought tooth and nail to give the old school away for a mere $10. History Note: the selling of the school was just a convenient way of keeping black kids from coming into town to play basketball and eliminating any possibility of bringing back the boys and girls club. We have the receipts.
Then there’s Washington Street. It is one of the last holdouts, a most diverse neighborhood where there are the last few affordable homes left. It’s been a slow train coming, forces diligently chipping away east and west, but even Washington Street is ready to fall.
A few months ago I saw it–one of the houses painted and all beached up, and even renamed Beach Bungalow.
The house was listed on Zillow for $425k. There goes the neighborhood.
It will sell. The inventory is so limited, that the Airbnb crowd will snatch it up, and the last remaining houses and lots will go and soon be fashioned as one of those annoying faux beach cottages.
The anaconda will continue to squeeze and Cape Charles will get a little less diverse. Bit by bit, the last of full-time working class folks will have to make way for the ‘visitors’.
The inmates won’t admit this, but they really want it this way.
The greasy till doesn’t lie.
Debbie Garner says
This article is so offensive on so many levels. The writer of this article reminds me of a child wanting attention. The child wants attention so badly that he/she says outrageous things and makes ridiculous accusations hoping to get reactions by whatever means possible. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. We first came to Cape Charles in the mid 90s. About 70 percent of the homes were unoccupied dilapidated at that time, many of which had been neglected for 80 plus years. At least 60 plus percent of downtown was vacant, windows boarded, etc. The reason we have the current vibrant Cape Charles is the sweat, tears, hope, and people taking a risk of investing to bring the town back to life. We were some of those people. Bruce and Carol Evans were some of those people. My other half pleaded with me not to spend my last red cent to bring a condemned property back to life. He said “even if you get it fixed up and advertise it, who in the hell would want to vacation in such a rundown town?” This article just exhibits complete ignorance about the revitalization of Cape Charles. And no, we are not from up north, and neither is Dickey Foster, the one who really dreamed big and started the ball rolling when he invested in Bay Creek. Please stop with the ignorant ridiculous racial provoking comments. From my standpoint I’d love to see you go back to wherever you came from, we don’t need or want such bull**** in Cape Charles. This is a nice community, I don’t know how, when or why you landed here but please go back to wherever.
Note: You seem mad. Thank you!
A Friend says
That’s a lot of assumptions. Maybe the topic is more nuanced than your view. Well, you know what they say about assumptions. I think I would rather live in Cape Charles as it is, than live in what ever town your dreaming of.
Paul Plante says
Uh, not to be contrary here with you, but with respect to your comment, “I don’t know how, when or why you landed here but please go back to wherever,” I have read the article a couple of times and it was my impression from actually reading the article, which is simply one person’s perspective on an issue of obvious importance to the people of the Shore, that the author was actually from Cape Charles and was living here before you arrived.
I could be wrong, but if you really read the article calmly and dispassionately, which is an adult thing to do, you really do get the impression that this person has actually lived in Cape Charles for some period of time, again, before you arrived.
So it stands to reason then, does it not, that they might see things differently than you do. you being more or less a recent arrival with an agenda of your own, which perhaps clouds or fogs your own vision just a bit, and has you lashing out at this person for simply stating what is there opinion.
Paul Plante says
And I know this is off-topic, somewhat, anyway, but Debbie Garner’s comment above that “The writer of this article reminds me of a child wanting attention, the child wants attention so badly that he/she says outrageous things and makes ridiculous accusations hoping to get reactions by whatever means possible” so reminds me of Joe Biden’s executive assistant autocrat Karmela Harris on Meet the Press on 11 September 2022 screeching and moaning and shrieking and weeping and wailing about abortion, wanting attention so badly that she was saying the most outrageous things and making ridiculous accusations hoping to get reactions by whatever means possible.
Boy, that describes Karmela Harris on Meet the Press on 11 September 2022 so well, to a tee, actually, that I wanted to thank Debbie Garner for bringing that to our attention with such vivid descriptive phraseology.
Publius Americanus says
I’d like it if the first person to have had a gun held to their head, forcing them to sell to please come forward.
What!!???!! It was all arms length open market transactions? Wha!!!!!!!!!???????????
But yes, please do go back to the old days of no tax base whatsoever, no jobs and a filthy, empty town of run down vacant homes,…..because that is far more ‘dignified’ than having to deal with ughhhhh people who are not like you.
BTW? Twas your local hardware store owner, a Chucker from forever who sold out about half the damn homes in Cape Chuck.
Note: Ummmm….not the point, but you go ahead and do you.
Colleen Kelley says
I still believe the selling of the school in town was the beginning of the end as far as keeping the diversity and community in mind. Not enough money you say but we managed to spend on so many other things such as the Bank of America building for the library. There was plenty of room for that in the old school as well as inside basketball during the winter months. So many parents came together to build that playground and the same would have rallied to keep the school. A civic center, the library, maybe the police station right there by the park! Lots of room and many possibilities. It represented locals and the community. Now it is for sale for a few million, rent has risen, so much for affordable housing.
Puppy Drum says
8% money for a investment property is going to not just cool off, its going to shut out new entrants to short term rental market in town.
If you bought before 2020 and locked in or refinanced at or below 3% you aren’t going anywhere in the next decade unless it is in to assisted living.
Paul Plante says
ATTACHMENT B, SWOT REVIEW, 5 YEAR STRATEGIC PLAN 2014 – 2018
Adopted by the Board of Supervisors on April 8, 2014 with Updated Status Reports as of 1/23/2015 – Katie H. Nunez, County Administrator and With Modifications as made by the Board on February 23, 2015, as part of the initial Board of Supervisors retreat on March 10, 2012:
Threats to the County:
* “No Growth Crowd” – perception of the county; few landowners for the majority of the land
* Perception of “not business friendly”
* Retirees/groups who don’t want change
* Well-organized special interest groups
* Impacts of belief that county is not business friendly; county has excessive regulations, etc.
Not a thing can be had in town. What? All those shops? Yes, you can’t buy food (affordably), gas, or clothes. Economy has destroyed mom and pop, but the big replacements were held away. How far away is the purchase of clothes?
Louise Trader Johnson says