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Prior to the arrival of European settlers, the Wampanoag Indians inhabited the island today known as Martha’s Vineyard. English colonists settled it in the early 17th century, and the town of Oak Bluffs was first established in 1642, and it was officially incorporated in the 1880s as Cottage City, becoming Oak Bluffs after the turn of the century in 1907.
For more than 150 years it had been the center of tourism on Martha’s Vineyard, and today much of the Victorian seaside community that was so popular in the latter half of the 19th century remains. Some of the original attractions, such as the Methodist Campground area, and the Flying Horses Carousel, which was brought to the island in the 1880s and is the oldest platform carousel in operation, still draw visitors from far and near.In 2005 the Campgrounds, with the colorful Gingerbread style cottages around the area, were designated a National Historic Landmark by the Secretary of the Interior. Today Oak Bluffs remains one of the premier tourist destinations on Martha’s Vineyard.