By almost all accounts, from historian Arthur Railton to the Vineyard Gazette, to the national press, the summer of 1874 in Cottage City was the biggest and most exciting ever. As Mr. Railton wrote, “It was a watershed summer. There would be no turning back. The nation, in 1874, discovered our Island.” Indeed, developers had made ready over 2,000 acres, divided into neat rectangles of eight per acre and speculation was rampant. There were 17 hotels in Oak Bluffs, newly built since 1867 to host the madding crowds who had come to pray in the camp ground meetings or play on its outskirts. The large and ornate Seaview at the steamship dock welcomed visitors at one end of town and the majestic Highland House Hotel at the other, thereby providing the necessary secular separation of our small new town. August 1874 was the bellwether of things to come. The Martha’s Vineyard Railroad was launched at the end of August 1874, Vice President Henry Wilson stopped at Oak Bluffs for a day and the Hartford professional baseball team had come to Oak Bluffs for an exhibition game. A New York woman had $1,000 in jewelry stolen from her room at the Highland House. The national press had a field day after Samuel K. Elliott shot to death the brother of the two sisters who had chosen to live at Elliott’s Tuckernuck avenue home. One, Lizzie Dickson, married to a sailor at the time, refused to leave, choosing to stay and give birth to a child. This enraged the husband and his confederates whose attempted tarring and feathering of Elliott resulted in the shooting of Caleb Smith, an act later determined to be self-defense. These activities were eclipsed when President Ulysses S. Grant and a party of 300 VIPs descended upon Oak Bluffs for a three-day stay that resulted in not one, but two Illumination nights — but that’s another story.

This August, 139 years later, the activities are adding up even as we wait for the arrival of another president and the big Smokey Robinson and Natalie Cole concerts later this month.

Tonight at 7:30 p.m. Jonathan Dubose is the featured musical guest at Union Chapel for When the Minstrels Played, Gospel on Martha’s Vineyard. Tickets are $15.

The Martha’s Vineyard Ole Skool Reunion is back for spelling lessons (I’m kidding) with a weekend of activities: the Inkwell from noon to 5 p.m. today, Saturday and Sunday; barbecue and dancing at the Portuguese American Club from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Friday; and an all-white (clothing) party cruise Saturday aboard the Sea Streak at the SSA dock from 7:30 to 11 p.m., followed by an after party at the VFW. Tickets and T-shirts are available on the website — yep,

NPR and WCAI’s The Moth Radio Hour is on at the Tabernacle featuring stories by the Gazette’s own Bill Eville and the indefatigable Captain Buddy Vanderhoop among others, tomorrow night at 8 p.m.

Maceo is once again in the house at Flatbread tonight at 9 p.m. with some funk and soul. We need the funk, as the man said.

Janice Frame’s watercolors are featured tomorrow evening at Cousen Rose from 7 to 9 p.m., along with Ekua Holmes collages.

Remember the All Island Art Show (and sale) is at the Tabernacle on Monday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

On Tuesday morning the Harlem Fine Arts Show has a preopening chicken and waffle breakfast at 9 a.m. at Hooked, featuring MSNBC commentator Toure and life stylist Harriet Cole, a contributor to NBC’s Today Show. They’ll be speaking about art, culture, politics and breaking news. The free art show will be principally at the high school from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday, August 15, with various events throughout the week.

The Oak Bluffs selectmen are holding the annual “taxpayers” meeting at the library at 5 p.m. Tuesday. Taxpayers are not necessarily voters, but the selectmen listen to your concerns anyway.

Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. is the Annual Camp Ground Cottage Tour in the Camp Ground. Tickets are $25, benefiting the Tabernacle restoration. The tour includes six gingerbread cottages built with America’s only original architecture, Camp Ground Gothic Revival.

Thursday there is a film screening and discussion of Anita-Speaking Truth to Power at the Martha’s Vineyard Performing Arts Center beginning with a 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. reception. The 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. screening and discussion will include Anita Hill and Frieda Mock. Tickets are available for $10 at The sponsoring organization, Head and Heart Philanthropy, is an invitation-only gathering of high net worth individuals centered on philanthropy, best practices and funding opportunities for communities of color. There is a luncheon (tickets are $35) at the Harbor View Hotel in Edgartown the next day. My friend Charisse R. Little, president of the Comcast Foundation, is the keynote speaker.

The Advancement Project is hosting a panel next Friday at 4:30 p.m. at Hooked titled Racial Injustice, From Moment to Movement with local Oak Bluffs Emmy award-winning filmmaker Stanley Nelson, Roland Martin, Advancement Project codirector Judith Browne Dianis, rapper David Banner and Philip Agnew of the Florida-based Dream Defenders. The discussion is expected to include a broad range of issues from a broad range of voices.

Northeastern University alumni are hosting a benefit for black student scholarships and the John D. O’Bryant African American Institute at Hooked from 4 to 8 p.m. on Sunday, August 11. At least a dozen of the host committee alums are Vineyard homeowners, further proof that a college education pays.

An Evening of Musical Bliss is featured at Union Chapel on Thursday, August 15. It will be a one-of-a-kind Vineyard musical performance with a gospel concert from 5 to 7 p.m. followed by a contemporary jazz performance featuring jazz and gospel artists. Tickets are available at C’est La Vie on Circuit avenue.

Thanks for the kind words from Camp Ground-raised Nancy Desrosiers who was also fortunate to grow up summers in the 1950s and ’60s in Oak Bluffs and shared penny candy stories from simpler times. This August looks like it will have something for everyone.

Keep your foot on a rock.