The Emlen Physick Estate is one of best-known Victorian homes in Cape May. Built in 1879 and restored in the 1970s, the 18-room, stick-style mansion is one of the cornerstones of the city's Historic District. The Pink House, or Eldridge Johnson House, is another example of the city's Victorian-era architecture. Its elaborate, two-story porch is known as the fanciest in the city of Cape May.
Cape May's Historic District is teeming with examples of Victorian-era homes, cottages and bungalows, most of which were built between 1850 and 1920. These include the George Allen House, an Italianate villa that is one of New Jersey's most impressive 19th-century seaside homes, and the Atlantic Terrace Houses located on Jackson Street. Designed by Stephen Decatur Button between 1891 and 1892, these seven balloon-frame, three-story houses feature one-story porches and bay windows with ogee roofs on their second floors. The Joseph Hanes House at 206 Perry St. was designed in the Gothic Revival style by Enos Williams and features a center gable and an elaborate porch. Cook's Villa, also located on Perry Street, is an example of the Second Empire style with its two-story porch and exquisite pierced-tile trim. Other examples of Victorian-style architecture in Cape May include the Douglas Gregory House at 102 Ocean St. and the George Hildreth House at 17 Jackson St.
The Cape May Historic District was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1970 and acquired National Historic Landmark status in 1976. The Historic American Buildings Survey lists about 70 buildings in the district as having historical significance. Too large and unaffordable for most families, most of these structures have been transformed into tourist attractions or bed-and-breakfast inns.