Cottage Park is a quiet 250-foot-long sidewalk lying just past the Circuit avenue entrance to the Martha’s Vineyard Camp Meeting Association. Tomorrow — Wednesday, August 13 — the public will have the chance to visit inside 10 Cottage Park homes during the 13th Annual Cottage Tour — the first time every cottage in a single Camp Ground neighborhood has been open to the public.
Virtually all styles of Camp Ground architecture are represented on the tour. The Gallant cottage is covered with board and battens under a mansard roof, while the Miller Cottage has its original louvered front door. The Burnham cottage, the largest on the street, has all of the original tongue and groove boards exposed both inside and out. The exterior of the other cottages are covered by cedar shingles. The front of the Frary cottage was built with three Romanesque windows in each corner in place of the usual corner posts.
Fashioned after the tents that were pitched on the grounds in the middle of the 19th century, camp ground cottages are like miniature churches, with large central double doors, and tall narrow windows, often with colored glass.
According to architectural historian Ellen Weiss, “a new American building type, the Camp Ground cottage” was developed here between 1859 and 1964. The doors and windows are generally of two types, the Gothic Revival style, with pointed arches above the windows and doors, and the Romanesque style, with rounded arches. Some of the early furnishings dating from the 19th century are preserved in the cottages.
Admission to the Camp Ground Cottage Tour is $25 and will benefit the Tabernacle Restoration Fund. Tickets will be available on Wednesday from 10 a.m. at the entrance to the Tabernacle. The hours for the tour are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Refreshments will be served.
Also, Camp Ground residents Bobby and Lynn Gatchell will sign both volumes of Painted Ladies, and Glenn Ickler will sign his mystery books.
Ten cottages are in the 2008 tour.
1 Cottage Park; Thomas C. Frary, Jr. and Judith Micoleau
This cottage has many original architectural features, inside and out. Three windows occupy each of the front corners of the cottage in place of the usual posts, so that it has a slight hexagonal, rather than square appearance. The star gingerbread on the porch reflects both the pattern on the rake along the roof and the lyre and star found at its peak. An early stereo-view also shows stars on the six front windows, now gone. The cottage was built in 1869 and was purchased 100 years later by the parents of the current owners. Although the bathrooms and a laundry have been added, the original vertical boards are visible in every room.
2 Cottage Park; Allyn and Agnes Sedgwick
The Sedgwick cottage was built in 1968. All the windows are original; the most unusual are the double-arched windows with arc trim on the front of the cottage just below the roof. Although the exterior walls are covered with shingles, the vertical boards constructing the cottage are visible inside.
Rivendell at 3 Cottage Park; Glenn Ickler and Joanne Ickler
The Ickler cottage was built in 1867; they named it Rivendell, which Lord of the Rings fans will recognize as a relaxing, happy place. Others only know it as the Butterfly House because of the pattern under the porch railing designed by Joanne; the porch was in such poor condition that new railings and flooring were needed. In the living room, visitors will see several of the mystery novels written by Glenn, including one called Camping on Deadly Grounds set right here. On the living room wall, there is an enlargement of a 1906 postcard which shows the appearance of the cottage at that time. Visitors are fascinated by the storage shed behind the house; Glenn built it to scale, exactly 50 per cent of the size of the front cottage.
7 Cottage Park; Ann and Bob Miller
Ann Miller’s family has been coming to the Camp Ground for 48 years; she and her husband, Bob purchased their own home on Cottage Park in 1986. The Miller cottage, built in 1868, is one of three with a mansard roof and its accompanying brackets. Its louvered screen doors appear in an early street-view photograph. The donut-style gingerbread is a smaller copy of the originals, put up, along with replacement porch posts in the past 20 years.
The Millers are probably the envy of most of the Camp Ground leaseholders because of the six closets (and several other storage areas) in the cottage.
8 Cottage Park; Jeff Ferriell and Cheryl Hacker
The double Gothic doors and adjacent windows in the front room are among the few original architectural features in this simple cottage built in 1868. The front room, which serves as an office, features an antique oak cabinet and roll-top desk. The dining room was enlarged. The bump-out has a lower ceiling than the original part of the house. When the Hackers bought the cottage, the living room addition already had been built. Because it is not original, it is much more spacious than living rooms in nearby cottages.
11 Cottage Park; Dorothy Burnham and Margaret Burnham
The Burnham cottage was built in 1868 and is the largest cottage on the street as a result of combining two cottages. The first leaseholder was the Rev. G.B. Gould from Bangor, Me. That explains both the cross and angel wing gingerbread on the porch, and why Cottage Park was once called Minister’s Way. The tongue-and-groove boards used to construct the walls, floors and the roof of the cottage are visible from both inside and out and provide a nice backdrop for the original art created by Dorothy Burnham, the 93-year-old cottage owner. She has been a long-time participant in the All Island Art Show.
12 Cottage Park; Norm and Maryann Whitney; Jean Vinci
The cottage was built in 1867 for the Uphams, a notable family in Camp Meeting history. Rev. Frederick Upham, his son, Rev. Samuel Upham, and his grandson, Rev. Frank B. Upham all preached on the Camp Ground and each served as either a president or a director of the Camp Meeting. Rev. Samuel Upham built a freestanding cookhouse behind this cottage to help feed the workers who were part of the building boom in the 1860s and 1870s.
The Whitney family is only the third to own this cottage. It is unique among the 312 Camp Ground cottages in that it exhibits two styles of architecture. The windows and doors on the first floor are Romanesque while those on the second floor are Gothic. The porch gingerbread is also unusual in that it contains a cross with an anchor-like bottom between two angel wings. Two of the three second-floor dormers are original, though, like the windows and doors, they do not have the same design.
15 Cottage Park; Walter Gallant
Walter Gallant is a third generation owner of one of the three Camp Ground cottages with a mansard roof. The enlarged stereoview from the 1870s in his living room confirms that the exterior of the cottage has changed little since it was built in 1867; it is easy to compare the original board and batten siding, the roof brackets, and the donut-like gingerbread on the Gallant cottage with the old photo. The mansard roof also allows all of the bedrooms to have good headroom from one end to the other, unlike those in cottages with steeply pitched roofs.
6 Cottage Park; David and Alice Howe
The Howe cottage was built in 1867; like several others on the street, it has Romanesque windows and double doors on both the first and second floors. The second floor balcony has a roof. Although the windows and doors are original, the porch and decorative baluster area are new. All of the downstairs rooms are beautifully stenciled, and both bedrooms are tastefully decorated.
Kouklitsa at 17 Cottage Park; Ray and Rena Greenup
Rena Greenup is from Greece; Kouklitsa means Little Doll in Greek. It was built in 1867. When the Greenups purchased the cottage, it was covered in asbestos shingles. Although they are still present on both sides of the building, the front of the first floor has clapboards, and the front of the second floor has brightly painted patterned wood shingles. The porch railings on both the first and second floors are decorated with a menagerie of animals made by Ray Greenup; you can see the dogs, rabbits, the flying duck and waterfowl on other cottages in the Camp Ground and in Ocean Park. The trap door on the front porch leads to a cellar under the living room.