Home Authors Posts by Chris Baer

Chris Baer

159 POSTS 0 COMMENTS

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...

This Was Then: Salvaging the Port Hunter

At 1:48 am on the moonless early morning of Nov. 2, 1918, the 4,000-ton British steamship Port Hunter collided with the ocean tug Covington...

This Was Then: Five mothers, five babies

Five Vineyard Haven moms pose with their kids about 1890. From left: Mrs. Margaret (Soule) Hough and her daughter, Doris Hough; Mrs. Juliet (Crocker)...

This was then: George Alley’s Edgartown Market, about 1929

When we think of “Alley’s store” today, there’s only one that comes to mind — the old S.M. Mayhew Co. general store in West...

This Was Then: Darling’s

Darling’s, Circuit Avenue, about 1929: In addition to salt water taffy and “Cottage City Pop Corn,” Darling’s also sold potato chips, peanuts, ”log cabin...

This Was Then: George Salvadore

Updated Thursday, April 21, 1 pm*George Washington Salvadore of Edgartown was the world’s third-ranking welterweight boxer. Described as “rugged” and a “hoofer” measuring less...

This was then: Bunker’s Ice Cream Parlor

This photograph of Bunker’s Ice Cream Parlor in Edgartown was taken around the turn of the 20th century. A sign behind the gentleman on...

100 years ago, a Tivoli girl

This week, we expand Chris Baer’s “This was Then” column.“Come! Come! Tivoli Girl, dance the hours away —Come! Come! Tivoli Girl, don’t you hear...