The Asbury Grove Methodist Camp Meeting on Asbury St. in Hamilton is listed in the National Register of Historic Districts, and has a collection of historic buildings that were built between 1870 and 1960. The land is owned by the Association, while the houses owned individually by the residents.
Founded by the Methodist church in 1857, twelve thousand people, primarily from the Boston and Lynn area, attended the first camp meeting in 1859. A pulpit and wooden benches were erected in a pine grove and guests slept in large tents on platforms, but these gave way to over 300 cottages constructed by the beginning of the 20th Century. The site included a chapel, library, dining hall, hotel, bakery, post office and even its own jail. At its height in the late 1800s, trains and trolleys arrived with visitors up to a dozen times a day. Society moved away from the religious fervency of the 18th and 19th centuries, and the camp meeting declined.
Sources and further reading:
- Asbury Grove Meeting Association Wikipedia
- Asbury Grove Methodist Camp Meeting website
- New England Historical Society
- Nomination papers and documentation for the Asbury Grove Historic District in the National Register of Historic Places
- Photos courtesy of the Hamilton Historical Society at Digital Commonwealth
- Asbury Grove by Jack A. Hauck (Hamilton-Wenham Library)
- Asbury Grove Historical Society (Facebook)