Martha’s Vineyard Railroad: A Beautiful Disaster
The train Active leaving Oak Bluffs wharf for Edgartown. From a stereoview. Scan courtesy oldtimeislands.org via Wikipedia Commons.
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Interestingly enough, the Martha's Vineyard Railroad was not the first, or the last, railroad operation on the island, as several trolley lines also existed.
According to Martha's Vineyard Museum, "the first trolley line on the Island was completed in 1871 as a horse car line from the Highland Wharf in Oak Bluffs that wrapped around the Methodist campground. Reportedly, the “horse railroad” line ran directly from the wharf to the campground so that people attending the camp meetings could avoid the “sinful” parts of Oak Bluffs. Within the Cottage City Street Railway Company’s first year in operation, they made a decent profit. The lines operated only during the summer tourist season. Subsequently, more streetcar line companies popped up around the Island: the Martha’s Vineyard Street Railway Inc., the Dukes County Street Railway Co., and the Vineyard Haven Line.
A more detailed chronology of Martha's Vineyards' Railways can be found in Rails Across Martha's Vineyard by Herman Page.
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Thanks as always for reading!