cape charles

Cape Charles, Virginia

Cape Charles is a town in Northampton County, Virginia, United States. The population was 1,134 at the 2000 census.


Cape Charles is located at (37.267522, -76.014125).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 4.4 square miles (11.3 km²), of which, 3.7 square miles (9.5 km²) of it is land and 0.7 square miles (1.8 km²) of it (16.06%) is water.


As of the census of 2000, there were 1,134 people, 536 households, and 278 families residing in the town. The population density was 309.4 people per square mile (119.3/km²). There were 740 housing units at an average density of 201.9/sq mi (77.9/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 53.79% White, 42.86% African American, 0.09% Native American, 0.44% Asian, 1.59% from other races, and 1.23% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.82% of the population.

There were 536 households out of which 21.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 30.4% were married couples living together, 19.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 48.1% were non-families. 43.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 26.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.11 and the average family size was 2.91.

In the town the population was spread out with 22.1% under the age of 18, 7.1% from 18 to 24, 22.0% from 25 to 44, 25.0% from 45 to 64, and 23.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 44 years. For every 100 females there were 76.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 75.9 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $22,237, and the median income for a family was $29,167. Males had a median income of $25,536 versus $23,984 for females. The per capita income for the town was $13,789. About 21.5% of families and 28.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 43.4% of those under age 18 and 23.0% of those age 65 or over.


Cape Charles, located close to the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, on Virginia's Eastern Shore, was founded in 1884 as a planned community by railroad and ferry interests. Historian William G. Thomas writes, "At a cost of nearly $300,000, the N.Y., P. & N. was dredging a new harbor out of a large fresh-water lagoon between King’s and Old Plantation creeks in lower Northampton County, and Scott planned to develop a new town around it called Cape Charles City. The appellation “City” for any place on the Eastern Shore was romantic, a vision of the future that the railroad might make possible....In 1890 the Corps of Engineers dredged the harbor basin, its entrance, and a channel through Cherrystone Inlet and built stone jetties protecting the harbor outlet. By 1912 the Corps estimated that Cape Charles harbor handled 2,500,000 tons of freight a year." (See: The Countryside Transformed)

Cape Charles was, for many years, the terminal for passenger and car ferry service across the bay to Norfolk and Hampton. The last ferry left Cape Charles in 1953. Cape Charles still serves as a terminal for railway barges that carry rail cars from the former Eastern Shore Railroad which is now Bay Coast Railroad across the mouth of the Bay to Norfolk.

The town hosted the Northampton Red Sox in the old Eastern Shore Baseball League.


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