The American countryside was once dotted with communities that offered escape from summer heat and urban temptation in a rural setting that recalled the origins of their religious community. Like Oak Bluffs on Martha's Vineyard and New Jersey's Ocean Grove, this Methodist camp meeting is organized around shared open spaces that are focused on settings for religious services. Community identity is asserted by the tiny streets that are named for the founders and promulgators of the denomination, Francis Asbury, John Wesley, and so on. Most remarkable is the open auditorium stage, called the “Tabernacle,” that faces a lawn for seating. Its pilastered facade and shallow pediment recall the porches of the Stockton Hotel in Cape May, designed by Stephen Button, and suggest connections to the recreation architecture of the period. An octagonal open pavilion for youth services built in 1909 to replace an earlier structure is the center of a second open space. Both greens are framed by tiny wooden Victorian cottages, some little more than a single room and no larger than a boxcar. Embellished with front porches and bits of scroll-sawn ornament, they offered the row-housed masses their chance at the rising suburban aesthetic and contemporary taste.
You are here
Chester Heights Camp Meeting
If SAH Archipedia has been useful to you, please consider supporting it.
SAH Archipedia tells the story of the United States through its buildings, landscapes, and cities. This freely available resource empowers the public with authoritative knowledge that deepens their understanding and appreciation of the built environment. But the Society of Architectural Historians, which created SAH Archipedia with University of Virginia Press, needs your support to maintain the high-caliber research, writing, photography, cartography, editing, design, and programming that make SAH Archipedia a trusted online resource available to all who value the history of place, heritage tourism, and learning.