Five Corners on Martha’s Vineyard sprouts new sign, old design

Highway crew foreman Tom Mello, center, and his assistant Bob Blanchard of Tisbury's Department of Public Works replaced the staid green and white signage at Five Corners with the new, more attractive one at right, made by Mr. Mello. — Photo by Rick Mello

Highway crew foreman Tom Mello and his assistant Bob Blanchard of Tisbury’s Department of Public Works (DPW) installed a new directional sign to Island towns at Five Corners in Vineyard Haven on Wednesday.

For many, it will be a welcome sight. Mr. Mello created and painted the new sign to replicate the Island’s unique signage that features a bunch of grapes motif at the top. A stickler for details, he mounted it on an old-style black post and added an acorn finial at the top to match those used in Tisbury’s historic district.

Mr. Mello also plans to paint the silver brackets that hold the sign to the post black. “I take a lot of pride in my work,” he said.

There used to be two Island-style signs at Five Corners, pointing the direction to up- and down-Island towns. White Brothers-Lynch Corporation removed them in September 2007 while reconstructing the post office parking lot. When asked to replace the signs on the state-owned Beach Road by MassHighway, the contractor provided two utilitarian green and white substitutes.

Mr. Mello said he learned how to make signs from his brother, Rick Mello, owner of MV Screenprinting in Oak Bluffs. He plans to make more Island-style signs for other Tisbury locations, including one for the intersection of State Road and Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road.

“We’re working hard to get the town looking nice,” Mr. Mello said. “There are 3,900 taxpayers here, and I think of all of them as my bosses. I want to keep them happy.”