History of the Union Chapel

union chapel

Restoration of Union Chapel: Halfway Back to Former Glory

The new pews are still empty, and the fresh pine they are built from won’t begin to creak until parishioners arrive later this month, adding their imprint to the long history of the Union Chapel in Oak Bluffs.

Union Chapel

Preservation Trust Agrees to Purchase Historic Union Chapel in Oak Bluffs

The Martha's Vineyard Preservation Trust confirmed this week that it will buy Union Chapel, the storied Oak Bluffs chapel whose rich history forms a distinct chapter in the annals of the Vineyard as a summer resort.

The Early Days of the Chapel on the Bluffs

The story of the building of Union Chapel just 100 years ago was told in the Invitation edition of the Gazette. Never in recorded history has there been so much change during a century as has occurred during the existence of this chapel.
During the eventful year of 1871 there had been bi-centennial celebrations for both Edgartown and Tisbury, a new post office had been established on the Methodist camp ground, and a new steamboat - the first Martha’s Vineyard - plied the sounds. Also, in that year, the Vineyard Gazette celebrated its first quarter century.

Union Chapel is Celebrating Its 100th Birthday This Year

It was just 100 years ago that Union Chapel raised a spire 96 feet into the air. There was nothing else higher in the rapidly growing community of Oak Bluffs at the time, but a year later the Sea View Hotel was built opposite the new steamboat wharf, and one of its towers was 100 feet high with a flagstaff on its peak adding an additional 16 feet to the overall height. It stood on the bluffs, while the Union Chapel was built on lower ground. The Chapel Hill on which it was built was little more than a mound of slight elevation.

Editorial: Item of History

The Union Chapel was dedicated on Sunday, Aug. 20, 1871, and it had its first christening on Sunday, Aug. 3, 1958. We do not mean to imply that the years between these two dates were lost or without event, but only that the christening adds to a long history rather more than newer generations might suppose. The early builders and supporters of Union Chapel, and those who followed them, would be particularly proud of that christening, id they could know.

Union Chapel Plays Big Part in Summer Life on the Vineyard

To many of the summer residents of Martha’s Vineyard, Union Chapel services have become as much a part of their lives as the Vineyard itself. Each year new visitors attend the chapel and become dependent upon it for their Sunday devotions.

Union Chapel

The much-talked-of Dedication of the Chapel at Oak Bluffs came off last Sunday morning. The exercises opened at half past ten o’clock, Rev. Dr. Turner of Hartford, chairman of the dedicatory committee, presiding. An organ voluntary introduced the services, followed by the singing of the Credo, from La Hache’s Mass for Peace, by the Park Church choir. The other exercises then occurred in the following order: Invocation and reading of the Scriptures, by Rev. J. J. Roberts, D. D., of New York; hymn by the congregation; introductory address by Rev. Dr.

Oak Bluffs

The plank walk along the edge of the Bluff has been extended 2600 feet from the wharf. About 250 yards south of the wharf the restaurant and pagoda or pavilion is to be built. Workmen are now engaged in excavating a place for the lower story. The pagoda will be large, octagonal in form, with glass sides, arranged so as to be raised or lowered. In the pagoda, through which the plank walk will run, will be seats and tables where the visitors may eat ice cream, and articles of light diet, or have a substantial meal. 200 yards further south, a bath arbor will be erected 33 by 22 feet.

Improvements at Oak Bluffs

We learn, from undoubted authority, that contracts have been made this week by E. P. Carpenter, president of the Oak Bluffs Land & Wharf Co., for a Chapel and first class cottages to the amount of over forty thousand dollars.
Mr. Butts, the well-known paver of New Bedford, is engaged in paving a dry walk from Oak Bluffs wharf to Cleavland & Bradley’s store.
Messrs. White Brothers have a contract for concrete walks on the Bluffs, and will commence work on the first of April.