Saturday, April 4, 2020
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Chris Baer

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This Was Then: Mother Stafford’s flag

Falmouth, as its sign declares, may have been the birthplace of “America the Beautiful” author Katharine Lee Bates. But Oak Bluffs (then Cottage City)...

This Was Then: Royal Society of Good Fellows

The turn of the twentieth century was an era of fraternal organizations and social societies. The Island had long hosted the Freemasons, of course,...

This Was Then: Wild bikers

In the 1880s, the booming metropolis of Cottage City (today Oak Bluffs) had a growing appetite for live entertainment. A massive roller-skating rink, located...

Fire on the Island

Just after lunch on April 26, 1900, Capt. Benjamin C. Cromwell and his men were burning piles of brush on his farm on the...

This Was Then: ‘The Dishpan Fleet’

Just after midnight on July 9, 1942, steamship officials were notified that they had less than 24 hours to turn over their largest and...

This Was Then: Last of the bumboats

During the 19th and early 20th century, the most recognized ship captains in Vineyard Haven Harbor were not its storied whaling masters, but rather...

This Was Then: Ben Pease, monster

The Pease family is among the oldest and most respected in Edgartown, and the family of Henry Pease (1789-1878) was little exception. Henry was...

This Was Then: Border Patrol

The Rev. Samuel Gould, an abolitionist activist, visited the Vineyard for a few days in the summer of 1837. “Met with a hearty welcome,”...

This Was Then: Iron Mines

French-American writer and cartographer Jean de Crèvecœur, in his popular 1782 book, “Letters from an American Farmer,” described the Island of Martha’s Vineyard to...

This Was Then: The Lime Schooners

On Feb. 7, 1895, a partial wreck drifted ashore at Paul’s Point, near Lambert’s Cove. The hull was completely gone – only the schooner’s...

This Was Then: Island brew

“It is stated,” recorded a writer for the New England Farmer in 1858, “that the first barley sewn in this country, was upon the...

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...