In a town renowned for irony, colorful characters, and stories the Wesley House Hotel stands alone. The harbor-front, Victorian-designed structure was built for $18,000 in 1879 by French Canadian cook Augusten Goupee who changed his name to Augustus G. Wesley as a paean to John Wesley, the founder of Methodism. Good plan since the Methodists of the Camp Ground continue to own the land the Wesley House sits on.

The first of the 15 major Oak Bluffs hotels built in 1870 was at the Steamship dock. Repurposed as the Island House and moved to Circuit avenue, it hasn’t been a hotel for years — the Wesley House has outlasted them all. It was the first hotel to have electricity and on July 25, 1919, the first charter flight landed in the harbor and docked at the Wesley House pier to the applause of bystanders.

Its best story was told by its most colorful character. “I, Augustus G. Wesley, of Cottage City, in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, hereby make the following voluntary statement, of my own free will and accord, without hope or expectation of favor by reason of so doing, viz: Nov. 13, 1894, Tuesday evening, I went, from prayer meeting at the Methodist church in Cottage City to the Wesley hotel owned by me. I entered the hotel about half-past eight. I saturated some burlap in the closet under the stairs on the second floor with kerosene and wrapped it around a cigar box, in which I placed a lighted candle. I did this for the purpose of setting fire to the building and contents in order to collect the insurance on them.”

The Wesley House was sold in 1899, acquired by its present owners in 1985 and is rumored to be close to a sale to what would be the third ownership in its 136-year history. The Wesley House’s story is one many hope never to hear the end of.

The Oak Bluffs Library hosts the second annual library luau from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday evening. Ukulele music, pictures with Elvis, games and food for adults at no charge but donations gratefully accepted. Sounds like it might be swine time — but don’t tell those cool kids at the library that Elvis left the building in ’77. Recuperate (or repent) with a nutrition lecture on the healthiest diet by Lino and Jane Stanchich at the library on Tuesday, May 19 at 6 p.m.

Oak Bluffs is well represented in the history to be found at the Martha’s Vineyard Museum. For the last couple of weeks the Bradley Memorial Church exhibit has been the feature, highlighted by the original pulpit with Reverend Denniston’s Bible and reading glasses. Next Thursday Linsey Lee presents Tales and Treasures from the Bradley Memorial Church at 5:30 p.m. at the museum library.

Another new exhibit, Teeth, features scrimshaw, whale teeth seamen used to create elaborate art on long voyages in the 19th century. The exhibit is the subject of a lecture by Dr. Karen Gear (a Vineyard endodontist who served as a dental forensic expert at the World Trade Center site) on the ways teeth reveal our unique identities. This lecture is Tuesday, May 26 at 5 p.m. at the museum library.

The cost of admission to the museum is $8 for members and $12 for non-members, a low fee for high quality exhibits and talks. The museum is looking for new memberships that range from $25 for students and more. History began just now; bringing back the stories of years, decades and centuries costs money and donations to the museum are needed and welcome. You can make a contribution at or by calling 508-627-4441 ext. 121. Help keep Oak Bluffs history available.

The Martha’s Vineyard Community Services annual spring electronics disposal day is Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the community service campus across from the high school. If you plug it in or add new batteries and it still doesn’t work, drop it off for a lot less than you’d pay at the dump.

Anne and John Cummings of Oak Bluffs are proud of their son Kevin, awarded the 2015 Massachusetts coach of the year by the National Wrestling Hall of Fame. Coach Cummings has been wrestling coach of the Arlington Schools for 19 years and has worked at Anderson’s Bike Rental during the summer since he was 14. Congratulations Cummings family!

The beetlebung tree was used in the whaling days for corks (bungs) and mallets (beetles), used to seal barrels of oil harvested from whales. Our Beetlebung — the café on Circuit avenue — opens Monday May 18 with a wide selection of affordable wines for the season. Thursday is the opening night for the 85th year at Giordano’s Italian seafood restaurant. Zita is back and Cousen Rose opens Friday with a rum cake and wine reception for a group of black women asset managers with the Overton House’s Valerie Mosley and Pam Everhart from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Wealthy women, wine and rum cake — they had me at rum cake.

Folks were swimming at the Inkwell this week; the Canadians must be back. Happy birthday Vineyard Gazette, you’re looking fine at age 169.

Keep your foot on a rock.

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