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Chris Baer

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This Was Then: The Japanese stores

Martha’s Vineyard has a uniquely deep-rooted relationship with the Far East, particularly Japan. Island whaling families still adorn their homes with Japanese treasures brought...

This Was Then: West Tisbury Time

Daylight Saving Time was instituted in Massachusetts in 1920 under Governor (later President) Calvin Coolidge. Everywhere except West Tisbury, that is.“In a spirit of...

This Was Then: Walter and Dorothy

Walter Jenney, a New Bedford blacksmith’s son, came to the Vineyard just after the turn of the 20th century, and clerked for the Vineyard...

This Was Then: The fair, September 1889

Kids from all over the Island pose together at the Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society’s fair in West Tisbury in September 1889. They’re identified here...

This Was Then: The artist mystic

Hanging in the staff room of the Edgartown Library is a 10” by 16” oil painting titled “Scene at Cuttyhunk” signed by the artist,...

This Was Then: The marble works of Indian Hill

Established in 1888, Henry H. Norton’s granite and marble works stood near the top of Indian Hill in North Tisbury. While clay, sand, peat,...

This Was Then: The Pawnee House

The Pawnee House is occupied today by Ben & Bill's, Eastaway, and other Circuit Avenue shops, albeit just a stump of its former four-story...

This was then: The wooden leg

William Cunningham of Boston was barely 10 years old when he was sent to reform school in 1870 for “larceny and disobedience.” His parents...

This Was Then: Tony the Scissor Man

Antonio “Tony the Scissor Man” DeCarlo walked the streets of Martha’s Vineyard every summer, mending umbrellas, sharpening knives, and grinding scissors for local customers....

This Was Then: Leonard’s Motor Service

Leonard’s Motor Service, known in its earliest days as “Lake Avenue Garage,” was located in downtown Oak Bluffs where Jim’s Package Store stands today....

This was then: Jump Spark Jim

James “Jump Spark Jim” West (1859-1948) presided over a Vineyard Haven antique shop known as "The Shop of Unusual Things." His specialty was Vineyard...

This Was Then: Art and Edna

Groceryman Art Smith (1867-1952) put the first “S” in S.B.S.: Smith, Bodfish & Swift, still Vineyard Haven’s revered grain store. Or half of an...

This Was Then: Pearson’s Drug Store

Pearson’s Drug Store was located in the part of the Arcade building occupied today by Sharky’s Cantina on Circuit Avenue in Oak Bluffs. Druggist...

This Was Then: Gifford's Boatyard

Ship’s carpenter and boatbuilder Charles Gifford was born on Penikese Island — then known as Pune Island, and still technically part of Chilmark — where...

This Was Then: Cottage City snoozes

“What a place Martha’s Vineyard would have been to the late Sancho Panza for his morning snoozes,” remarked a cigar-smoking Cottage City visitor, sitting...

This Was Then: Chick’s Vineyard Haven News

When Edson Chick arrived on the Vineyard in the summer of 1887, Islanders found him to be charismatic, well-spoken, impeccably dressed, and extremely outgoing....

This Was Then: The Naumkeag

With a capacity of 200 guests, the Hotel Naumkeag was among the largest in Cottage City, and at $3 a night, it was among...

This Was Then: Mayhew’s hardware store

Willie Mayhew’s parents had left Edgartown for California seeking gold just a year before he was born in 1859 in San Francisco. When his...

This Was Then: The Horse Fountain

That cast iron planter between the Green Room and the bank in Vineyard Haven was never intended for geraniums. Known by old-timers as the...

This Was Then: Alexander Graham Bell's “extraordinary phenomenon”

Alexander Graham Bell, known best for the invention of the telephone, wrote a letter in 1885 to his wife Mabel about an investigation he...