Wesley Hotel Inc. Oak Bluffs, Martha's Vineyard - with panoramic views of the Oak Bluffs harbor

Room Types and Rates



Old Wesley -1907

The Wesley Hotel is the last of the grand hotels which were built in Oak Bluffs during the late 1800's. The Wesley has been in continuous operation as a destination for travelers since 1879. According to the Best Read Guide the Wesley was built by Mr. A.G. Wesley for the sum of $18,000.00. Over the years, the hotel has undergone many changes. At its largest, there were 105 rooms, including those in the Arms building which was built around 1924. Currently the hotel has a total of 95 rooms.
The Wesley occupies a highly visible location across from the Oak Bluffs harbor. It is one of the first buildings seen by travellers coming by land or by sea. The hotel personifies the Victorian atmosphere which can be seen throughout the town. The majority of the hotels were not yet in existence when the Wesley House opened in the spring of 1879 in Vineyard Grove (Cottage City from 1880-1907 and now Oak Bluffs). Today it is a splendid tribute to those who have assumed its care and defied a nearly universal fate.

The ideal location of the hotel, between the Methodist Camp Ground and the harbor, also undoubtedly contributed to its longevity. Initially the hotel fronted Commonwealth Square and the Camp Ground - its business related very much to that source. A transformation in 1906 established its main entrance and expansive verandas on the harbor side. By the 1920s its waterfront orientation had become its principal asset.
The Wesley was the first hotel outside Boston to be wired for electricity. During the first half of this century, virtually every Governor of Massachusetts visited the hotel, which enjoyed a repeat business of nearly 75 percent.

The Wesley's founder, French Canadian cook Augusten Goupee, changed his name to Augustus G. Wesley. This change was part of a business plan to make a subliminal connection with John Wesley, the founder of Methodism. Twenty years of professional operation by the Wesley family was greatly tainted by Gus' arson conviction and subsequent jail term for setting an insurance fire in the hotel in November of 1894.
Joseph Fullerton Hilton eventually assumed ownership in 1899 and his son-in-law, attorney Herbert M. Chase, came to manage the hotel in 1902. Its most glorious days ensued. Chase continued to run the hotel through World War II, before passing it to his son, George. It appears that as late as the early 1950s the Wesley Hotel was the largest hotel on Martha's Vineyard with 92 rooms of which 25 rooms were in the arms building and 67 rooms in the main building with a dining room seating 200 people.

TabernacleInitially part of Edgartown, Oak Bluffs was once known as the Cottage City of America. Soon church folk from all over the country gathered here for the Martha's Vineyard Camp Meeting. They came to preach, pray, reflect and repent in a spirit of religious fervor. As stores, hotels and larger homes sprang up around Cottage City, it developed into a seaside resort. Oak Bluffs is a relatively young town, by Island standards, and since its economy had more to do with recreation than with the time-honored whaling or shipping trades of Edgartown and Vineyard Haven, it evolved with a much more frivolous, light-hearted air. Instead of serviceable, weather-hardy salt-boxes or dignified captains' houses, Oak Bluffs filled with frilly, even gaudy, multicolored gingerbread cottages, unwinterized "wooden tents" erected to replace the earlier Methodists' canvas ones. Oak Bluffs businesses also leaned toward pure entertainment; there were theaters, a giant roller skating rink, hotels, and a carousel (still in operation).

Before the turn of the century, townsfolk were feeling their own needs, separate from Edgartown so community leaders began agitating for separation. In 1880, they broke away and named the town Cottage City. In 1907 they renamed it as Oak Bluffs. As the Vineyard's first summer resort, Oak Bluffs fostered a vacation economy that soon spread throughout the Island to replace the disappearing whaling economy.

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70 Lake Avenue, P.O Box 2370, Oak Bluffs, MA 02557, Martha's Vineyard
Phone: 508.693.6611 - Toll Free: 1.800.638.9027 - Fax: 508.693.5389

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