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Chris Baer

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This Was Then: Donkey rides

Of donkeys, Equus africanus asinus, there are few early records on the Vineyard. It’s not until the late 1800s that references can be found....

This Was Then: Donkey rides

Of donkeys, Equus africanus asinus, there are few early records on the Vineyard. It’s not until the late 1800s that references can be found....

This Was Then: Goat carts and patriarchs

While not native to the Island, goats have been here for an awfully long time. They are first mentioned in island records in the...

This Was Then: Bumpus

Lester “Jack” Bumpus never knew his parents. His father, a harnessmaker at the factory in Vineyard Haven, died of pneumonia at the age of...

This Was Then: Whaleboat races

Whaling declined precipitously in the second half of the 19th century, leaving our Island with a lot of men with specific, well-honed, but obsolete...

This Was Then: Straw rides

Straw rides, popular on the Vineyard in the late 1800s, were not the hayrides we are familiar with today, carting small children slowly around...

This Was Then: Kennebec

This photograph — originally half of a stereo card — was made on the corner of Kennebec and Park Avenue in Oak Bluffs, looking...

This was then: Mayor Blood

Oak Bluffs connects historically with a couple of surprising places. Brooklyn, N.Y., is one. Nearly a thousand Brooklynites came to town in the summer...

This Was Then: James Lee’s speedboat

James Lee was only 10 years old when his father Cornelius was lost at sea. Commodore of the Seawanhaka Yacht Club on Long Island,...

This was then: The Oklahoma Causeway

When you cross over the bridge into Vineyard Haven and face the line of traffic stretching into the sunset, you might fantasize about a...

This Was Then: Baseball

Many sports have come and mostly gone from the Island — roque, polo, whaleboat racing, fox hunts, tricycling, and sulky racing among them. But...

This Was Then: An explosion in Cottage City

An unkempt field lies across Uncas Avenue from the bowling alley today, crowned with a grim, decommissioned electrical substation and picturesque trees, surrounded by...

This Was Then: Vineyard Haven Brass Band

The 16-piece Vineyard Haven Brass Band stands at the corner of Circuit and Kennebec Avenues, Oak Bluffs, in front of what is today the...

This Was Then: Tricycle girl vs. the runaway

The Vineyard correspondent for the Boston Globe reported in 1886, “Cottage City has the crookedest streets in the world. They lead nowhere, and are...

This Was Then: ‘Rich Devils’

From 1908 until 1922 (or perhaps a few years later), Professor Edwin Treat ran a prep school for boys in Eastville. It was open...

This Was Then: The Perth Amboy

One hundred years ago this week, one day after the first (and only) German attack on U.S. soil in World War I, wounded survivors...

This Was Then: On bathing, bells, and birthday suits

The Vineyard correspondent of the New York Weekly Press reported in 1892 about a visitor from Boston wearing a tightly-clinging, unusually colored garment: “A...

This Was Then: Skipping the bathhouse

“There is bathing at all hours,” wrote a Cottage City correspondent for the Hartford Courant in 1873, “but at about eleven o’clock is the...

This Was Then: The Edgartown–Chappaquiddick Bridge

Our beloved Edgartown–Chappaquiddick Bridge was built in 1925, the same year that the Vineyard’s esteemed regional secondary school, Union High School, was finally erected...

This Was Then: Hinckley and Renear

Hinckley and Renear’s Vineyard Haven undertaking business was established in 1896 by Walter Renear, sheriff of Dukes County, and building contractor Herbert Hinckley. From...