This was then: Oak Bluffs, early summer

Photos of long ago Martha’s Vineyard.

Courtesy Chris Baer

Fred Metell

An unidentified (but quite dapper) couple poses in front of their automobile on Circuit Avenue, Oak Bluffs about 1920. Fred Metell, whose sign appears in the background, was a popular Oak Bluffs plumber who later sold the Island’s first electric refrigerators. His father, José Pimental, arrived on the Vineyard in the 1870s from Flores Island in the Azores; his name was corrupted to “Joseph P. Metell” and he became the progenitor of the Island’s Metell family. The sign beyond reads “The Monohansett – Furnished Rooms,” a hotel or boarding house presumably named after the Island’s storied 19th-century steamer of the same name. The building on the left was the post office.

Chris Baer teaches photography and graphic design at Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School. He’s been collecting vintage photographs for many years.