Wednesday, September 30, 2020
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Chris Baer

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This Was Then: Salvaging the Port Hunter

At 1:48 am on the moonless early morning of Nov. 2, 1918, the 4,000-ton British steamship Port Hunter collided with the ocean tug Covington...

This Was Then: Five mothers, five babies

Five Vineyard Haven moms pose with their kids about 1890. From left: Mrs. Margaret (Soule) Hough and her daughter, Doris Hough; Mrs. Juliet (Crocker)...

This was then: George Alley’s Edgartown Market, about 1929

When we think of “Alley’s store” today, there’s only one that comes to mind — the old S.M. Mayhew Co. general store in West...

This Was Then: Darling’s

Darling’s, Circuit Avenue, about 1929: In addition to salt water taffy and “Cottage City Pop Corn,” Darling’s also sold potato chips, peanuts, ”log cabin...

This Was Then: George Salvadore

Updated Thursday, April 21, 1 pm* George Washington Salvadore of Edgartown was the world’s third-ranking welterweight boxer. Described as “rugged” and a “hoofer” measuring less...

This was then: Bunker’s Ice Cream Parlor

This photograph of Bunker’s Ice Cream Parlor in Edgartown was taken around the turn of the 20th century. A sign behind the gentleman on...

100 years ago, a Tivoli girl

This week, we expand Chris Baer’s “This was Then” column. “Come! Come! Tivoli Girl, dance the hours away — Come! Come! Tivoli Girl, don’t you hear...

This was then: The Ice Yachts

Before the 1938 hurricane (and the subsequent dredging of a wide, permanent channel into Vineyard Sound), Tashmoo was mostly fresh water and prone to...

This was then: The Tea House

The Betty Benz Tea House served lunch and afternoon tea at the Lagoon Bridge until its destruction by hurricane. “For ‘Tea’ we serve a...

This was then: George Fred

Captain George Fred Tilton of Chilmark, like his brother Zeb, is a Vineyarder of such legend that it’s not even necessary to use his...

This was then: The fut path

In 1685 Ponit, son of Cheesehahchamuk and sachem of Nobnocket, stated in a court record that the bounds of his sachemship had been defined...

This was then: The Neptune Club

The Neptune Club of Norwalk, Conn., poses on the steps of their hotel in Oak Bluffs. This yachting club, made up of wealthy businessmen...

This was then: Fancy poultry

When new millionaire William Barry Owen retired from the gramophone business in London and headed back to his native Vineyard Haven in 1904, he...

This was then: Professional development

The Martha’s Vineyard Summer Institute, located in the Highlands section of Oak Bluffs, offered summer courses for teachers for almost 30 years during the...

This was then: The Cigar Smoking Machine

In 1904, Edgartown inventor Elmer Bliss was issued patent 768,892 for a life-size automaton designed to advertise tobacco products. It smoked real cigars by...

This Was Then: The Hospital

The Martha’s Vineyard Hospital opened in 1922 on Eastville Avenue in the former home of Capt. Hiram and Charlotte Daggett. But this was not...

This Was Then: The Duke

“Pitted with small-pox, and with a hesitation in his speech which at moments of excitement made him difficult to understand, there was nothing in...

This was then: Professor Gough

Wheelmen pose in front of a turn-of-the-century Oak Bluffs bike shop, where the Martha’s Vineyard Savings Bank stands today. The signs read “Repairing &...

Dexter's Barber Shop

Edgartown barber Clarence Dexter (1865–1925) shaves a customer at his shop on North Water Street, in the building now occupied by Skinny’s Fat Sandwiches....

This Was Then: The Courthouse

The Dukes County Courthouse, built in 1858 from local brick, is by no means our first courthouse. The first trial on record on Martha’s...