Woodbine is a borough in Cape May County, New Jersey, United States. It is part of the Ocean City Metropolitan Statistical Area. As of the 2010 United States Census, the borough's population was 2,472, reflecting a decline of 244 (-9.0%) from the 2,716 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn increased by 38 (+1.4%) from the 2,678 counted in the 1990 Census.
Woodbine was founded in 1891 as a settlement for Eastern European Jews. The Baron DeHirsch Fund, organized by philanthropist Maurice de Hirsch, purchased of land in Dennis Township, in Cape May County, New Jersey to start a settlement. Immigrants from Poland and Russia were invited to settle the new community. Within two years, they cleared the forest and built a town and thriving farms. of land were set aside as town lots. The residential center of Woodbine still uses the same grid that was originally laid out in 1891. Using modern agricultural practices, the first colonists (Woodbine was sometimes called the "Jewish Colony" in the early days) turned Woodbine into a model agricultural community.
Woodbine was incorporated as a borough by an Act of the New Jersey Legislature on March 3, 1903, from portions of Dennis Township. Because most of the original settlers were Jewish, Woodbine became known as "the first self-governing Jewish community since the fall of Jerusalem."
The community started the Baron DeHirsch Agricultural College in 1894. Until it was closed during World War I (1917), the college was a model of progressive education. The college and its graduates won many state, national, and international awards. World War I, however, signaled a change in the community from an agricultural economy to one with a light manufacturing economy. The Baron DeHirsch Agricultural College became what is today the Woodbine Developmental Center, a state-run facility for training the mentally-handicapped. The Developmental Center is Cape May County's largest employer.
During World War II, the United States Army built an airfield in Woodbine to be used as a training base and as a base for anti-submarine patrols. German U-boats were very active off the East Coast of America, especially off the Jersey coast. Today, Woodbine Municipal Airport is the center of Woodbine's redevelopment efforts.