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Chris Baer

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This Was Then: Island school history

The public school system in Tisbury has a long and rich history, with records dating back to at least 1669.During the mid-1700s, school came...

This Was Then: Welcome to Glenwood

Martha’s Vineyard has long been known for its beaches and cliffs, its harbors and bluffs, its ocean views and stony shorelines. The Island’s interior,...

This Was Then: Love and Unity

The Island has hosted many foreign visitors over the years, but there are some who have arrived on our shores purely by accident.The Canadian...

This Was Then: Release the hounds

Unlike cats, horses, or alpacas, domesticated dogs have lived on Martha’s Vineyard for many thousands of years — even, quite possibly, since before the...

This Was Then: Razors, shotguns, and brass knuckles

Islanders have long been frighteningly well-armed. General Charles Grey seized 388 guns from Vineyarders in the British raid of the Island in 1778, but...

This Was Then: Missing persons

Body discoveredIt was 1:20 am on a Sunday morning in November 1937. Twenty-eight-year-old Manuel Phillips of Wing Road was walking along the beach, south...

This Was Then: Ole, Frank, and Manny

State Road, that river of wide, smooth pavement stretching more than 18 miles from Vineyard Haven to Gay Head, wasn’t always so. Up until...

This Was Then: Roger Amidon, ‘radiophan’

“Roger Amidon's radio repair shop,” recalled the late John Canha of Vineyard Haven. “Amidon repaired my RCA Victor and GE radios. He was very...

This Was Then: Sleeping in

An old Edgartown record noted something unusual about Mrs. Anna (Pease) Arey (1755-1807) of Chappaquiddick: "She had been confined to her Bed for about...

This Was Then: Cold case

In late July 1810, a body was discovered buried near South Beach. The newly dead man had a straw hat on, lined with green...

This Was Then: The Cottage City Carnival of 1882

Please enjoy this encore “This Was Then” column. Illumination Night in the late 19th century was very different from the laid-back traditions we enjoy...

This Was Then: Money digging

In 1833, newspapers around the country reprinted a story from the New Bedford Gazette titled “Money Digging”:“A few days since, three young men...

This Was Then: The Tashmoo

Before the great fire of 1883 burned down all of Vineyard Haven, there were two homes on the corner of Main and Church streets...

This Was Then: Names, Wood, and dynamite

It was not uncommon in the 19th century for Vineyard whaling captains to bring home boys from abroad, sometimes informally adopting them, all the...

This Was Then: Shark!

About 1840, a Dr. Gale of Holmes Hole found several oversized shark teeth in a roadside excavation in the north part of Chilmark, on...

This Was Then: Tut Chase

Tristram “Tut” Chase (1854–1928) was the last village blacksmith of North Tisbury. Born in Chilmark, his mother died of typhoid fever when he was...

This Was Then: Electrifying

Gay Head, today known as Aquinnah, was the last town in the commonwealth of Massachusetts to receive electricity. Up until 1951, there had been...

This Was Then: Mr. Meara and Mr. Davis

On the southwest corner of Main and Spring streets in Vineyard Haven stands the old Meara building. It has tales to tell.Sherman Meara, an...

This Was Then: Cash and counterfeit

The Coinage Act of 1792 established the U.S. dollar as our country’s official currency, based upon the Spanish milled dollar. But the old system...

This Was Then: The linden tree

The Great Fire of 1883 burned down all of downtown Vineyard Haven — both sides of Main Street and part of Beech Street, more...