You Are Invited to Craigville’s 150th Birthday Celebration!

Cape Cod Life  /  July 2022 /

Writer: Emily Baxter

Photos courtesy of the Archives at Sturgis Library and the Nickerson Archives The story behind the first vacation community on Cape Cod. The summer of 2022 marks the 150th anniversary of the founding of the Christian Camp Meeting Association (CCMA): a group that paved the way for the establishment of the Craigville Beach Association. In 1871, the New England Convention of Christian Churches purchased and established a camp meeting ground on the 160-acre Perry Farm in Centerville, where the CCMA held its first ten-day camp the following year. The first families who attended the camp lived in tents. The success of the first year allowed the camp to expand, and by the time the second camp rolled around, campers had built 31 cottages on the old tent sites. Throughout the 1870s, the CCMA continued its successful summer camps. As popularity increased, various prominent regional clergymen and clergywomen began to participate, too. In 1881, J. Austin Craig, President of the Christian Biblical Institute in Stanfordville, NY, gave lectures which gained widespread interest and fame. Craig was scheduled to provide lectures later that year in Boston, but passed away shortly after camp ended. The village took the name ‘Craigville’ in honor of his work. The CCMA then purchased 800 feet of beach directly across from the camp, thus creating Craigville Beach. The village summer meetings continued and remained successful for many years. The village became a year-round destination in 1960, when the Craigville Conference Center was founded as a religious retreat. Today, this cottage community houses 115 families, about 20 of which live there year-round. The village remains as closely knit as it was during its very first camps. Many homes are passed down through families. The cottages and homes remain similar, too; the architecture of the post office, the Craigville Inn, and…

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