Monday, March 03, 2008

Cottage City/Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts

This is a very interesting and fun place. It is still very much intact.

The camp meeting movement in the United States began in Kentucky and Appalachia before the 1820s as religious vehicles that were also important as social gatherings. They were held annually in a particular district where participants would travel 50-100 miles to attend. Camp meetings were first introduced by Presbyterians but soon after included Baptists and Methodists newly converted by the teachings of John Wesley. In no time at all Methodists of New England began to hold their own camp meetings. The first camp meeting in Cottage City
was held in 1835 and the gatherings grew as steamboats brought companies from New Bedford and Fall River, Massachusetts and Providence, Rhode Island. The development of Cottage City is credited to its success as having the largest Methodist Camp Meeting Association in the world. For that one week in August of 1835, nine men from nearby Edgartown decided to separate themselves from the comforts of the town to head into the woods to find a place where they could pray. This place, the headland of East Chop, full of tall oak trees and overlooking Nantucket Sound, is where they pitched their tents. They found that the event was so "invigorating" to the spirit that they returned the next year. Soon a few mainlanders joined them, and some fell in love with the beauty of the land and water, and the healthful saltiness of the air. They too began to come back year after year.

Within a generation, the annual Martha's Vineyard Camp Meeting was the most famous Methodist revival meeting in the country, and gingerbread cottages were rising up on the wooden platforms where the participants first used tents during the meetings. Visitors arrived by the thousands from all over New England to watch the religious spectacle in what was coming to be known as the 'Cottage City' of America. In the summer of 1863, it was still possible to wander through this wilderness of oak and meadow on the old Camp Ground and see not a single permanent building. Ten years later the oak and meadow were gone and soon, a village would have to be built in order to house the faithful.

Around 1872 the town today known as Oak Bluffs was built. The town encircled the original Camp Ground where the cottages now stood as the main street around the grounds was called Circuit Avenue. Contrary to the spiritual pursuits of the original members, the town around the Camp Grounds was quickly becoming a bustling, commercial place. The participants of the Camp Ground attempted to separate themselves by building a picket fence between them and the expanding town, and the interior remains today a place of peace and tranquility.

Before the town of Cottage City was incorporated in 1880, it was still considered a part of Edgartown but the inhabitants were trying to separate themselves legally from Edgartown, which it felt was taking tax money and offering little or nothing in the way of services in return. Finally, in 1880, Cottage City became official but eventually, the name would be changed again, this time to Oak Bluffs in 1907.

Obama, Muslims & Ohio

Ohio Muslims unite behind Obama
As Ohio prepares to vote on Tuesday for the candidates it would like to see running for the US presidency, Matthew Wells talks to Muslims in Cleveland who are impressed by Barack Obama.

A large majority of Muslim-Americans voted for George W Bush on the road to the White House eight years ago.

But now their support seems to be coalescing around an African-American senator, whose first name derives from the Arabic word for blessing.

Among them are the 60,000 Muslims of the economically depressed Cleveland area.
They are mostly middle-class naturalised citizens, disappointed with the Bush administration's record and with a powerful sense that their religion has been misrepresented in the years since 9/11.

The city boasts Ohio's largest mosque, based around a large prayer hall that would sit comfortably in the capitals of the Middle East.

A group of men from the mosque, led by the centre's president, Faud Hamed, spoke to BBC News after evening prayers.

There was exasperation at the on-going war, and a sense that social justice - a central tenet of Islam - is being ignored: "We all know that in the US Constitution it calls for peace and justice, but if we look around the world do we see any peace and justice?"

I would think that a majestic mosque, the right to practice your religion without fear and not having ethnic and religious violence swirling through your life is a step toward peace and justice. More so than in the countries you fled to come here. I would also suggest that your "religion has been misrepresented in the years since 9/11" because you have allowed extremists to use your religion for evil purposes with no repercussions from you.

America welcomes those who wish to join in the American dream. We are a nation of immigrants. Because of that we wish to bring freedom and peace to all nations, not bring the problems of our ancestral homes here to America.

Strickland Loves Hillary & Hillary Loves Me

My Gov Ted must be in DC measuring for drapes because he just called me from Northern Virginia (703 637-9323) to urge me to do what's right for Ohio and vote for Hillary tomorrow. That man, he just cares so much, but I worry that if joins the Hillary Administration he will get to see his wife even less.