The town of Edgartown borrowed $15,000 from two off-island banks and no time was wasted before the nine-mile track was completed. It ran along the beach from Cottage City to Edgartown towards Main Street where a depot was built before skirting the cemetery heading to Katama.
Five months later and despite several problems, the train finally arrived in Katama on August 27, 1874, coinciding with a visit from President Ulysses S. Grant. Although Grant didn’t show much interest in the Vineyard or its people, the island was dressed up in grand fashion in his honor.
As the business boom in Cottage City grew, so did their taxes. Suddenly, it seemed that the new taxpayers in Cottage City were paying 60% of all of the tax money collected by Edgartown where the spending power resided with their year-round population. Much of Oak Bluffs was vacant except during the busy summer months, so those taxpayers began to revolt, threatening secession.
Martha's Vineyard Museum