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There are several good ways to see the city of Cape May. There are bus and trolley rides through the city. There are also walking tours. Guides tell about the homes and businesses along the road. The guides also discuss the history of Cape May. The main reason to go on these tours is to see the famous houses of Cape May. There are more than six hundred houses of nineteenth century Victorian design in the city. The houses are made of wood. The borders on each part of the house have different edges. The edges are cut with extreme detail. Some are wavy, or have a flowery style. Others have sharp points, rows of cut-out circles or designs like snowflakes. Victorians used interesting colors as well as design. The true Victorian style of house requires many different colors of paint. The Victorians used one color for edging, another for the outside walls, another for decorative pieces connected to the house. The Victorians liked colors linked to the fall season. Deep and dark reds, yellows and browns were popular. You can see many such houses as you walk or ride through the streets of Cape May. However, there are also many houses that are all white. Cape May guides say it became popular to use white paint in the twentieth century. The general desire was for a more moderate style. Among the hundreds of Victorian houses in Cape May are the houses that are called "Painted Ladies." These houses have many different colors like traditional Victorians. However, these colors are intense pinks and purples or bright shades of green, yellow and blue. These different styles of house painting create some exciting streets to look at throughout the city. Many of these late nineteenth century houses would not have been built had it not been for a major tragedy. In eighteen seventy-eights, a huge fire began in Cape May. It burned for a day. The fire destroyed the center of the city. The city was left with few hotels. But summer homes for families became popular as a result. In the twentieth century, Cape May became a less popular place to visit for the summer. Cape May guides say it was costly to care for and repair summer homes near the sea. They say the increasingly common automobile made travel to other holiday places easier. There were not many visitors to Cape May for most of the last eighty years. Then, in the nineteen seventies, the city was given the National Historic Landmark award. Major rebuilding and repair projects began throughout Cape May. Small business owners came to the city. Many people bought and repaired the old houses. They turned the houses into special places for visitors to stay called bed-and-breakfasts. These B-and-Bs are extremely popular now. Cape May now is as popular a summer holiday place as it was at the turn of the century. Maybe that is why the city's saying is "Our Future Is Our Past." Our program was written and produced by Catty Weaver. The narrators were Shirley Griffith and Steve Ember. Source: Voice of America