July 14, 2015

1740-1741 UNITED STATES (Massachusetts) - Martha's Vineyard

Martha's Vineyard - Wesley Hotel in Oak Bluffs

Martha's Vineyard is an island located south of Cape Cod, known for being an affluent summer colony, accessible only by boat and air. It includes the smaller Chappaquiddick Island, which is usually connected to the larger island, though storms and hurricanes have been known to separate the two islands. The last such separation of the islands was in 2007, and as of April 2, 2015, the two islands are again connected. Originally inhabited by the Wampanoag, the island was known in their language as Noepe (land amid the streams). In 1642 lived there about 3,000 Wampanoags, but in 1764 their number had dropped to 313.

Martha's Vineyard - A gingerbread cottage in Oak Bluffs

A smaller island to the south was named Martha's Vineyard by Bartholomew Gosnold, who sailed to the island in 1602, but the name was later transferred to the main island. It is thought that it originated either from Gosnold's mother-in-law, or his second child, both of whom were named Martha. Martha's Vineyard is divided into six towns, the largest one being Oak Bluffs, well known for its gingerbread cottages, open harbor, and its vibrant town along busy Circuit Avenue. It was known as Cottage City from its separation from Edgartown in 1880 until its reincorporation as Oak Bluffs in 1907. Oak Bluffs includes several communities that have been popular destinations for affluent African Americans since the early 20th century.

The Wesley Hotel is the last of the grand hotels built in Oak Bluffs during the late 1800’s. Occupying a highly visible location across from the harbor, it is one of the first buildings seen by travelers coming by land or by sea. It personifies the Victorian atmosphere reflected throughout Oak Bluffs and connects with the history and spirit of this unique island town. Over the years, the hotel has undergone many changes. At its largest, there were 105 rooms, including those in the Wesley Arms building which was added to the property in 1924. Currently the hotel has a total of 95 comfortable and affordable accomodations.

About the stamps
On the postcard 1740
The first stamp, depicting Spicebush Swallowtail, is part of a definitive series with butterflies, about which I wrote here. The last stamp, dedicated to Lydia Mendoza (1916-2007), is part of the series Music Icons, about which I wrote here.

On the postcard 1741
The first stamp is the same. The second stamp is part of the series Send a Hello (Forever), about which I wrote here.

Martha's Vineyard - Wikipedia
Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts - Wikipedia
Gingerbread Cottages at Oak Bluffs Campground - Yankee Magazine

Sender 1740, 1741: Denise
Sent from Roslyn Heights (New York / United States), on 17.12.2013
Photo 1740: Edward L. Thomas
Photo 1741: Paul Rezendes

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