Located north of downtown Oak Bluffs, this oceanfront summer estate exemplifies the grandeur of Martha’s Vineyard at the end of the 18th century. This home was built in 1890 for Frank A. Ferris, a Manhattan meat dealer who processed and shipped his product to wealthy customers, markets, luxury hotels and restaurants all over the east coast. His processing plant on Mott Street in Manhattan remains an excellent example of Romanesque Revival architecture in the city. He lived at 5 Russell Terrace in Montclair, NJ, and in summers, stayed in this waterfront mansion overlooking the Atlantic. His summer home is a great blending of the Queen Anne and Shingle styles, both very common at the time.
Is anything more “New England” than a historic lighthouse? Whenever I think of symbols of New England, lighthouses, Saltbox colonial homes, and lobster comes to mind. Located just north of Oak Bluffs, the East Chop Light was built to guide the hundreds of ferries every summer, picking up and dropping off passengers to the island. One of the many definitions of “chop” is the entranceway into a body of water. Knowing this, it seems natural that the two lighthouses flanking the entrance to the harbor at Vineyard Haven on the north shore of Martha’s Vineyard are respectively known as East Chop Lighthouse and West Chop Lighthouse. In 1878, a one-and-a-half-story dwelling and a cast-iron tower were under construction at the station. The forty-foot-tall, conical tower was similar in style to several other New England lighthouses constructed during the late 1800s. The lighthouse was painted white at first, but in the 1880s it received a coat of reddish-brown paint and became popularly known as the “Chocolate Lighthouse.” In 1988, it was returned back to white, as the dark color was causing excessive heat and condensation in the tower. East Chop Lighthouse remains an active aid to navigation, although the Fresnel lens was replaced by a modern beacon in 1984. The land surrounding the tower was sold to the town of Oak Bluffs in 1957 for use as a park.