89 William Street
Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts 02568


Hall Organ Company, New Haven, Connecticut, before 1929
Two manuals and pedal

On July 12, 1921, the First Quarterly Conference adopted the official name, "Christ Methodist Episcopal Church of Vineyard Haven." On Sunday morning, December 31, 1922, the church building was practically destroyed by a fire that started about 6 A.M., probably due to an overheated furnace. During the 1-1/2 years of reconstruction worship services were held at the Masonic Hall. Woodbury and Stuart Construction under the direction of Herbert Hancock began construction of the new church on June 1, 1923. On June 8, 1924, the new building was used for morning worship and Bishop Edwin Hughes conducted the dedicatory service on July 20, 1924. Cost of the new building as of December 13, 1925 was $58,367.34.

24 Church Street
Vineyard Haven (Tisbury), Massachusetts 02568

Winter Dawn at The Vineyard Playhouse, Artist - Thomas P. Smith (Courtesy of The Vineyard Playhouse Company, Inc.;  The Vineyard Playhouse Company, Inc.)

The society was formed and incorporated March 7, 1833, as the First Methodist Episcopal Society. They building was completed at a cost of nearly $2000 and erected on Church street (pasture land donated by Captain William Daggett). It was dedicated on July 11, 1833 as the Methodist Meeting House and used as such until 1854. The second meeting house was built in 1845 costing $6,600, larger in the colonial tradition. It stood across the street where the present Methodist Church stands. It was destroyed by fire December 31, 1922, and the present one was built of stone 'so it couldn't bum down'. Meantime, the former Methodist Church building was used for concerts, lectures, balls and other secular affairs. In 1895, it was bought by the Masonic Lodge. In 1855, the former Methodist Church building was bought by Captains Richard Luce and Charles Smith for use as a public meeting house named Capawock Hall. At this time, the structure was raised from one to two stories in order to accommodate a market on the first floor. The first Episcopal church service on Martha's Vineyard was held there on December 24, 1862. The hall was also utilized for weddings and community suppers. A pipe organ, costing $1,200, was installed in 1865, to replace a small instrument worked by hand. The "great fire" which happened on Saturday night, August 11, 1883, was the worst disaster that ever occurred in the history of the town. The Masons lost their own building in that fire and bought Capawock Hall in 1895 at the request of Captains Daniel Worth and Gilbert Smith. The building was purchased for "a considerable sum" and the two captains were instrumental in having it remodeled. Upstairs, the lodgeroom was enlarged and the balcony, star and valance lights were installed. Downstairs, the banquet room had a kitchen, toilet, coatroom and smoking room added. A quote from that time said, "The interior is finished throughout with southern yellow pine bead board and with its ample heating - make it one of the best suburban lodges in the state." The building was used as a Masonic Lodge until 1982, when Eileen Wilson and Isabella Blake bought it and turned it into a theatre. Since the theatre was founded, it has been home to the Vineyard Playhouse Company Inc., a non-profit theatre company. Thanks to a successful capital fundraising campaign and donations by hundreds of enthusiastic supporters, the Company was able to purchase its home in March of 1993. Since purchasing the building, new handicapped accessible bathrooms, a vertical platform lift and new mainstage seating have been added to this historic building.

Source: Historical Records of Tisbury, Massachusetts
           Organs of the United States and Canada Database (OUSCDB), Seattle, Washington
           The Vineyard Playhouse Company, Inc.
           United Methodist Society of Martha's Vineyard Haven