This was then: Dave’s

Photos of long-ago Martha’s Vineyard.

Photo courtesy of Chris Baer

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


Dave’s was the first “city-style” department store in Vineyard Haven, occupying the store next to Cronig’s Market on Main Street from 1924 until 1940, in the building where Cronig’s Real Estate operates today. Owner David Colinsky, a native of Białystok (now in Poland), was husband to Tillie Cronig and brother-in-law to grocers Sam, Ed, and Tebby (who opened their market next door about 1917), and realtor Henry Cronig (pictured here at the car). The Colinskys lived over their store.

Mr. Colinsky was nicknamed “$2.98” for introducing to the town the new trend of attractively pricing goods a cent or two under the whole dollar. His store sold men’s and women’s’ clothing, Kelvinator refrigerators, Philco radios, rugs, tires, kitchenware, beds, screen doors, and a wide variety of other goods and furnishings, and delivered them to all parts of the Island. A restless spirit whose enterprise sometimes trumped good business sense, Colinsky was always looking for new items to sell. His mail-order scallop business, for instance, wound up costing him hundreds of dollars in spoiled shellfish.