Former Shelton College building to be demolished after roof collapse

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CAPE MAY — The former Shelton College building will be demolished after the roof collapsed about four weeks ago, according to Cape May City Manager Bruce MacLeod.

Fundamentalist minister Rev. Carl McIntire, known for fiery messages against Communism, established the Christian liberal arts college in Cape May in 1964. But Shelton College struggled for several years, fighting with the state to award degrees while it moved from Cape May to Florida and back again.

The college stopped operating in 1992 and part of the dilapidated building has collapsed, according to MacLeod. He said that part of the roof collapsed at the Shelton College, which might damaged some of the wall.

The property owner, Pella LLC, which owns the La Mer Beachfront Inn on Beach Avenue, needs to submit the paperwork for the demolition work. A phone call to the La Mer Beachfront Inn was not returned Monday afternoon. The property is now surrounded by a metal fence and caution tape.

McIntire brought Shelton College to Cape May from Ringwood, Passaic County. The Shelton College was not accredited by the state but it was licensed. Even so, New Jersey’s Department of Education wouldn’t permit the college to award degrees, so the school was closed in Cape May after commencement May, 24, 1971. Part of the state’s contention was that there weren’t enough professors with doctorates, according to a booked titled “McIntire” by Gladys Titzck Rhoads and Nancy Titzck Anderson.

McIntire relocated Shelton College to Cape Canaveral, Fla. in July 1971 and returned to Cape May in 1979, according to the book.

When the school moved back to Cape May, officials tried to award degrees with the Florida license, but that didn't’ work. Shelton College stopped operating in 1992.

Also located in the Shelton College building was the Cape May Institute for Continuing Education, which primarily focused on  week-long workshops. It closed down in 1993.

The Shelton College property was linked to the bankruptcy of the Christian Beacon Press, which was a newspaper published by McIntire.

McIntire also had other holdings in Cape May. In 1963, he bought the Admiral Hotel and renamed it The Christian Admiral. He operated it as a Bible conference center and resort. Cape May officials shut down The Christian Admiral in 1991, and it was demolished in 1996.

McIntire also owned Congress Hall on Beach Avenue. It is now owned by Curtis Bashaw, McIntire‘s grandson.

According to information from the Princeton Theological Seminary Library, McIntire’s buildings weren’t able to be repaired. He lost contributions, saw his tax debt pile up and faced more strict building codes in Cape May.

McIntire died in 2002 at 95. Stories of his death ran in The Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times and The New York Times.

His empire included the Bible Presbyterian Church and Faith Christian School in Collingswood; Faith Theological Seminary in Elkins Park, Pa., Highlands College in Pasadena, Calif.; and Shelton College in Cape May, according to Christianity Today.

He also had a radio show, Twentieth-Century Reformation Hour, heard around the country. But the Federal Trade Commission and U.S. courts in 1973 ruled that his programs were unbalanced, under the Fairness Doctrine.

According to sources, later that year, McIntire bought an old Navy ship, called it Radio Free America and briefly broadcast off the coast of Cape May.

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