Changes on Martha’s Vineyard

In 1871, it seemed that lots of people were coming to Martha’s Vineyard. The Whaleman’s Shipping List, a marine newspaper published in New Bedford, ran an article in that year exclaiming that throngs of people were coming through their city on their way to the Vineyard. The island was becoming a popular place to visit, as well as to live.

The Jernegans were absent from the Vineyard during a period of rapid growth. The US Civil War was over and secession no longer divided the country, but ironically it was becoming an issue for their own town. Cottage City (now known as Oak Bluffs), was part of Edgartown until 1879, although trouble was beginning to brew in the early 1870s.

There were two large wharves in Cottage City unloading visitors from the mainland. A building boom was underway and the mood was so buoyant that nothing seemed impossible, even as the growth began spreading toward Edgartown. A steady stream of schooners from Maine could hardly keep up with the demand for lumber. A stream driven mill was kept busy planing the rough boards as soon as they were unloaded, most of them being used in Oak Bluffs.

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Martha's Vineyard Museum