Cape May-Lewes Ferry to celebrate 50th anniversary in 2014

Local Residents encouraged to share ferry experiences, photos and memorabilia
MV Cape Henlopen, 1964. SOURCE SUBMITTED
August 7, 2013

Delaware River and Bay Authority officials announced that the bi-state agency is asking the public to share their favorite ferry experiences, photos and memorabilia for an exhibit to coincide with the Cape May-Lewes Ferry’s 50th anniversary next year.

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The Cape May-Lewes Ferry, which is operated by the Delaware River and Bay Authority and serves the Twin Capes region of Cape May, N.J., and Lewes, began operations July 1, 1964. On that historic date, the first ferry vessel departed the Lewes terminal at 6:47 a.m. carrying eight vehicles and 15 passengers. The authority is in the early stages of planning events and activities to celebrate the milestone.

“The ferry has always been important to the communities of Lewes and Cape May and to the larger Twin Capes region,” said Scott Green, executive director of the Delaware River and Bay Authority. “A central focus of the 50th anniversary celebration will be an exhibition in multiple locations in 2014, based primarily in both of our ferry terminals, highlighting this exciting moment in history and all of the people who made it possible.”

To document the history of the ferry from all angles, local residents on both sides of the Delaware Bay are encouraged to share their ferry experiences, photos and memorabilia. They may be shared on the 50th Anniversary Memorabilia album on the ferry’s Facebook page; go to Photos and look for 50th Anniversary Memorabilia, or they may be emailed directly to the Delaware River and Bay Authority at Special arrangements to share larger or more valuable pieces of history may be made by calling the authority’s public information officer, James Salmon, at 302-571-6409.

“The Cape May-Lewes Ferry is part of the unique history of Delaware and New Jersey, and we want to showcase this important story,” said Heath Gehrke, director of Ferry Operations. “We hope to further strengthen our Twin Capes relationships while also providing the traveling public with a peek into what may lie ahead for our ferry service. If you have original artifacts that you would be willing to let us borrow and display for a period of time, please email us to let us know.”

Since its inception in 1964, the ferry has been integral to the development of the Twin Capes region, but its history is not widely known outside of the Cape May and Lewes communities. Written by William J. Miller Jr., "A Ferry Tale" is the only known publication that chronicles the history and development of the Cape May-Lewes Ferry. The exhibit will help tell that story.

The DRBA also has plans for a festival in 2014 to mark the event. The details of this will be released in fall 2013.

The DRBA, a bi-state governmental agency created by compact in 1962, owns and operates the Delaware Memorial Bridge, the Cape May-Lewes Ferry, the Three Forts Ferry Crossing and the Salem Business Centre in Carney’s Point Township, N.J. The DRBA also manages corporate and aviation properties through its economic development powers - two airports in New Jersey: Millville Airport and Cape May Airport, and three in Delaware: New Castle Airport, Civil Air Terminal and Delaware Airpark. All DRBA operating revenues are generated through the bridge, ferry and airport facilities. For more information go to