This was then: Blind Nathan

Photos of long-ago Martha’s Vineyard.

A pair of tricyclists in front of Waban Park around 1890s. – Photo courtesy 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.Blind Nathan

A pair of tricyclists pause in front of Waban Park around 1890, as “Blind Nathan” Athearn of West Tisbury stands nearby with his baskets. Blind from birth, Athearn was a well-known and well-loved figure around Oak Bluffs for decades, selling candy, popcorn, chewing gum, and chocolate across the streets and beaches of Cottage City. In his later years he stuck to the Arcade, where he sat on a small camp stool in front of Perry’s cigar store, calling out his wares to passersby.