The Martha’s Vineyard Gingerbread Houses and Tabernacle in Oak Bluffs.
The Tabernacle is a unique structure, with wrought iron arches and supports, two clerestories with dozens of colored glass windows, and an octagonal cupola, it is the physical and spiritual center of the Campground. This magnificent iron structure was built in 1879 and in 1979 was listed in the Natl Register of Historic Places… in 1999 a major restoration began, in 2000 it became a project of Save America’s Treasures, and in 2005 it was recognized by the US Dept of Interior along with the rest of the MVCMA site as a National Historic Landmark. Those are some of the facts of the building but not necessarily what constitutes the heart and soul of it.
**The original layout of Wesleyan Grove was a simple formation of a circle enclosing the preaching area and the society or church tents. In 1859 a road, now known as Trinity Circle, was built which encircled that area. In 1864, the Association purchased the 26 acres it had been renting. As the area continued to expand (additional grounds were purchased in 1866), it developed in a radial-concentric pattern which was little used in America at that time. The smaller circles, some surrounded by larger circles, had small paths radiating from them leading to other circles or parks. The method of the grounds layout was an additive one of discrete neighborhood units, each built around small various shaped parks.**
The whimsical Victorian cottages found in Oak Bluffs on Martha’s Vineyard are an exceptionally well-preserved collection of Methodist camp meeting houses.They are laced with fanciful gingerbread details in an array of shapes and colors.
This is the first cottage on Martha’s Vineyard Methodist Campground ~ 1864