Oak Bluffs Town Hall & Fire Station // 1882

Located at the heart of Oak Bluffs, this modest, wood-frame building has held some of the most important civic and cultural uses on the island. Built in 1882, the growing town of Cottage City (later renamed Oak Bluffs), which separated from Edgartown, needed a new town hall and fire station with the rapid development caused by summer visitors and increased year-round residents. After WWII, the property was renovated and expanded to allow space for a small police department in the building as well. In 1966, a new town hall was built across from the ferry pier at the waterfront, and the town soon after sold the former, outdated building, and two years later, it was purchased by The Cottagers, Inc. The Cottagers, Inc., is a philanthropic organization founded in 1955 by a group of African-American women who owned cottages or homes on Martha’s Vineyard. The social group provided a safe space for the growing Black community who lived on and visited Martha’s Vineyard. The building remains as an iconic landmark not only for its historical use and architecture, but as a symbol of the diversity and the black community in the small island town.

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