Town Column : Tisbury
Welcome to little Jack Baer. He is gently instructing Chris and Janice in their new parenting roles.
I hate to say it, but we need more practice coping with snowstorms. Nearly a week later, the sidewalks were still treacherous, especially in front of some shops on Main Street. A reminder to business owners: Clearing the walks is your responsibility.
Thanks to Chris Baer, Alan Davey, Doris Billings, and Judith McConnell, I can tell you more about Owen Farms. Owen Farms was started by William Barry Owen when he retired to Martha's Vineyard. William Barry Owen was the talking machine entrepreneur who cofounded the Victor Talking Machine Co. (Victrola) and organized the Gramophone Company in England in 1897. The famous ad of the little dog listening to his master's voice on the Victrola was actually Owen's dog. The property now called Owen Park was opposite his home on Main Street and was given to the town by his widow.
In the 1907 directory for Tisbury, Owen was listed with residences on Main Street and on William Street. Chris Baer noted he was listed in West Tisbury as a poultry raiser on a farm on Lambert's Cove Road the same year. (The town directory was similar to today's telephone book, minus the phone numbers.)
Back to Owen Farms. One section, called the Tashmoo division, was on the land between West Spring Street and Lake Street. Owen equipped the farms for the raising of fancy poultry, importing prize-winning breeding fowl from England. He soon hired Maurice Delano, a man with expertise in fine poultry breeding. They won many prizes at the country's leading poultry shows. With Owen suffering from ill health in April of 1913, Delano took over Owen Farms, which had 300 acres at that time. Owen died a year later. Much later, Percy Burt ran the farms.
One Owen Farms farmhouse, now much enlarged, is at the Tashmoo property next to the Waterworks. A daughter of the current owner of the farmhouse has gathered information on Owen Farms, which I look forward to reading when she returns. Right now she is serving with the Peace Corps in Morocco.
The poultry farm on the Edgartown Road was a turkey farm. Owned by Mrs. Oscar Burke of Edgartown, and run by Joseph Bettencourt, there were at first some chickens along with the turkeys. Bettencourt's daughter, now Doris Billings, remembers their move to the farm when she first began school, entering the Tisbury School over 70 years ago. Her father later bought the property.
A side note on Maurice Delano. While his residence was given as Crocker Terrace in the 1907 directory, his home was the first house on the right off the State Road on what is now called Delano Road. Who knew chickens could be so interesting?
Blythe Reed from Henniker, N.H., arrived on New Year's Eve on the last boat. It got in just before 9 pm. Her trip started 11 hours earlier in New Hampshire. The bus trip from Boston took at least four hours in the stormy weather. She came to visit her friend, Rosemary Blair, for a few days.
You missed an elegant Christmas dinner served at Grace Church, with white table linens and lovely china. There was lots of food and friendly conversation. You can enjoy more fine food and conversation at Grace Church at the weekly community suppers, which begin Friday and run through the winter months.
Anna Marie D'Addarie says her holiday visit with her toddler grandsons, Thomas and Charlie Creighton, in Lancaster, Penn., was exhilarating and exhausting. Now she's home and eager to get back to her knitting. She invites you to the Fiber Folks annual yarn, book, and supplies exchange at the monthly meeting on Sunday from 1 to 4 pm at the Ag Hall in West Tisbury. The exchange continues the second Sunday of each month through May.
Tisbury children have a day off from school next week on Friday. The library will show a movie for ages four and up at 1 pm. I understand the movie is about the adventures of a big brown dog. There will also be popcorn.
We send belated birthday greetings to Ron Druett who partied in New Zealand on December 30 and to Roberta Kirn, who celebrated here on our Island last Monday.
Big bunches of birthday balloon wishes go out today to Allyson Wajda and Ned Orleans. Saturday belongs to David Burt. Gay Nelson parties on Monday. Lots of candles will be lit on Tuesday for Bob Reinhart, Allan Davey, and Donna Paulson. Then on Wednesday, wish the best to Tyler Paulson and Harry B. Jones.
Heard on Main Street: Why don't they just make mouse-flavored cat food?