Thursday, January 27, 2022

This Was Then

This was then: The Cigar Smoking Machine

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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 alternately drawing in and distending lifelike human cheeks with a...

This Was Then: The Hospital

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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 the first hospital on Martha’s Vineyard, nor were the series...

This Was Then: The Duke

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“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 the appearance of the Prince to touch a young maid’s...

This was then: Professor Gough

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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 & Vulcanizing, Renting and Riding Instruction” and “Prof. Chas. F. Gough,...

Dexter's Barber Shop

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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. He was the son of former whaler and police officer...

This Was Then: The Courthouse

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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 Vineyard was likely held in the home of Governor Mayhew...

This Was Then: The pirates of Lake Tashmoo

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The Christian Science Monitor reported, “Most of the 190 persons taking part were lineal descendants of characters whose parts they were taking.” Many of the props were authentic relics, like a powder horn from...

This was then: The Standpipe

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Horace Tilton, Dr. Orland Mayhew, Carey Luce, Frank Bodfish, and horses Domion and Dick pose near the site of the new Tisbury School in the spring of 1929. Looming across Spring Street is a...

This was then: Chief Chadwick

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Blacksmiths Ed Colleton (1876–1964; left) and Elmer Chadwick (1868–1953; right) stand in Chadwick's workshop in Vineyard Haven, located roughly where Tisbury Market Place is today, at the bend in Beach Road. Chadwick the blacksmith was...

This was then: Zeppelin over Gay Head

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An airship floats past the Gay Head Cliffs in the late 1920s or early 1930s, to the delight of chilly onlookers. Dan Grossman of Airships.net identifies this vessel as the U.S. Navy’s ZR-3, the U.S.S....

This was then: Ole Borgen

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Norwegian-born Ole Borgen operated a general store and gas station out of the old post office building in North Tisbury, where "Bananas" is today. Borgen's store is mostly remembered for its ice cream, penny...

This was then: The men who built “Hedge Lee.”

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Overlooking Vineyard Haven Harbor stands "Hedge Lee" — an enormous Italian villa with a red tiled roof and white stucco façade, associated in recent memory with the family of writer John Hersey. You know...

This was then: Fred James

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Fred James Charles "Fred" James (1868-1924), left, and friend share drinks on the Tivoli platform in Oak Bluffs. Mr. James was a very familiar figure on Circuit Avenue at the turn of the 20th century....

This was then: The hydroplane

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The Hydroplane In July 1919, this Curtiss NC-3 hydroplane landed with great fanfare in Oak Bluffs after a bumpy two-and-one-half-hour flight from New York. Aboard were Melvin Fuller and Myron Brown, New York businessmen and...

This was then: Timothy Shugrue

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Chris Baer teaches photography and graphic design at Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School. He’s been collecting vintage photographs for many years. Shugrue Timothy Shugrue of Newburyport was only 8 years old when he was committed to...

This was then: Captain Ivory

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Chris Baer teaches photography and graphic design at Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School. He’s been collecting vintage photographs for many years.Captain Ivory Capt. John J. Ivory, artist, sits at his home, the permanently beached vessel...

This was then: Drinking, smoking, lodging, and fish

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Chris Baer teaches photography and graphic design at Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School. He’s been collecting vintage photographs for many years. Drinking, smoking, lodging, and fishA quiet moment on the stretch of Circuit Avenue between...

This was then: Nomans church

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Chris Baer teaches photography and graphic design at Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School. He’s been collecting vintage photographs for many years.Nomans ChurchThe small building on the left served as both church and schoolhouse for...

This was then: Ferry Boat Island

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Chris Baer teaches photography and graphic design at Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School. He’s been collecting vintage photographs for many years.Ferry Boat IslandBefore the Great Gale of 1815 — one of the most powerful...

This was then: Tashmoo golf links

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Chris Baer teaches photography and graphic design at Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School. He’s been collecting vintage photographs for many years.Tashmoo Golf Links The Tashmoo Golf Links were located on State Road, right behind the...