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My mother’s step-cousin was born in this house in Indian Hill in 1911. He lived in this house, built in 1752, until he died. He was quite a guy. He was a master at building things and he could fix absolutely anything. Over the years he added on to the family homestead, and when there wasn’t anymore he could do there he turned his sights to –
— the one room school house up the road where he’d gone to school. He purchased the school house and set about renovating it.
When his daughter got married she and her husband moved into it. I had the pleasure of going there for dinner and I was in awe. The original wooden floors had been beautifully restored, but more than that, you could see clearly the marks where the desks had once been. A couple of the desks had been salvaged and were part of the living room. The closet was, of course the former cloak room with, the original coat hooks. And to top things off the school bell was once again working. I hardly ever enjoyed being in a classroom quite as much as I did that night at dinner many years ago.
# 1 -Oak Bluffs Post Office sign
(a Chinese Huai tree- Sophorica Japonica), brought from China in a flower pot in 1837, by Captain Thomas Milton to grace his new home then being built. This is believed to be the largest of it kind on this continent.
How’d you do ?
Recent articles in Vineyard papers about the possible permanent closing of these three movie theatres has made me think of my movie memories on the Vineyard.
Movies have been a big part of Island entertainment since the early 1900′s.
The Island Theatre (Eagle Theatre) circa 1910.
In 1927 the Island Theatre in Oak Bluffs was showing the talkie ‘Wings’ starring the ‘It girl’, Clara Bow. The price of admission was 50 cents on a Saturday night, 30 cents if you sat in the balcony.
At one time there were as many as 8 theatres down-Island… of those only the Island, The Strand and The Capawock remain.
The Island Theatre – Oak Bluffs
The Strand (2009) – Oak Bluffs
The Capawock (1996) – Vineyard Haven
For me, as a summer kid on the Vineyard in the 1950′s, a night at the movies was a very big deal. The movies I remember the clearest are the musicals, like “Summer Stock” with Judy Garland, and “Showboat” with Howard Keel.
But before even getting to the theatre there was a stop at …
…Darling’s on Circuit Ave for popcorn. A bag would be fine for an afternoon treat but for going to the movies the choice was always a popcorn bar in such flavors as chocolate, strawberry,vanilla, caramel, and butterscotch.
After the ‘show’ a stop at the Frosty Cottage on Circuit Ave for a pistachio ice cream cone finished off the evening.
Many nights on the way home I morphed into a singing, dancing movie star…at least in my head :)
Few years ago I put up this post:
I was in New York City and visited Grand Central Station, mostly to take photos of this magnificently restored building. I thought I had never been there before…but in looking around something clicked in my brain !
When my mother and I would go to MV every summer we would take a train from Pennsylvania Station in Newark, NJ to, as it turns out, Grand Central Station in NYC where we would change trains.
We would have to run from one end of the station to the other to board the New York/New Haven & Hartford’s train on the Old Colony line called the Day Cape Codder, which would take us all the way from New York City to Woods Hole, MA. That’s right, all the way to Woods Hole.
The train stopped at what is now the staging area for cars waiting to get onto the ferries. The tracks ran under the overpass in the left corner of this photograph. It was literally only steps from train to boat. A comfortable and luxurious way to travel in the days when lots of people didn’t have cars and the road system left a lot to be desired anyway. The trains had dining cars with each table dressed in fancy tablecloths and crisply ironed napkins. The waiters and conductors were always the same and seemed to remember me from year to year… made me feel special and grown up. Train service to Woods Hole ended in the 1960′s.
The ferry, the Nobska/Nantucket would take us to MV.
We’d land here in Oak Bluffs and our relatives would be there to greet us, and three glorious months on the Vineyard would begin.
Well it turns out I was wrong !!!! I don’t like being wrong, even worse I don’t like admitting it… but I have to set the record straight because I know at least one person who did these trips as well and he’ll spot the mistake.
Recently I was watching the PBS program The American Experience about the ‘The Rise and Fall of Penn Station’ and I realized it wasn’t Grand Central Station we had taken the train to Woods Hole from…. it was Penn Station !!
Pennsylvania Station was built in 1910, covered nearly 8 acres, extended 2 city blocks and was one of the largest public spaces in the world. Its 3 year demolition began in October 1963. It was replace with another Penn Station which Madison Sq Garden sits atop.
Functional but not beautiful :)
The person I mentioned above is my life long friend Will Jones. His parents Bill and Bertha owned the bowling alley in Oak Bluffs which was across from the Flying Horses.
You might enjoy reading about our moms who grew up on Martha’s Vineyard and our dads who grew up in Newark, NJ …
My friend Will Jones and I were always looking for things to keep us busy and out of trouble during our summers on MV. Someone showed me how to make little flowers by using yarn and forks… I immediately showed Will. We set about our tasks, me at my house, he at his.
The next morning Will’s mom called my mom asking if he was at my house ? Seems she went looking for a fork and couldn’t find any !!! A few moment later Will was at my door, and yes, he had all his mother’s forks with him and they were filled with yarn. Seems I had neglected to show him how to get the yarn off the forks to make the little flowers…
Will had carried those forks from his house way on the other side of Oak Bluffs …
up Circuit Ave …
(Will’s mom – my mom)
Our moms were childhood friends, as were Will and I. Our moms graduated from Oak Bluffs High School together (long before the regional high school was built). Our moms moved to Newark, NJ after graduation and it was there that they met their future husbands, our dads, who were also childhood friends. (In 1907 Will’s mom, Bertha Carter, was the first girl baby born in Oak Bluffs after its name change from Cottage City.)
(my dad – Will’s dad)
Will and I spent every day of the summer together. We went swimming, rode the Flying Horses, read, drove our parents crazy and were inseparable. For many years his parents owned a bowling alley in Oak Bluffs across from the Flying Horses. Long before automation the pins had to be set by hand, I even did it from time to time myself.
Being a summer kid on the Vineyard was the best thing in the world… it still is.
Will and I live near each other in NJ and when we see each other we do a lot of talking about the Vineyard.
Ahh, memories… whether they’re right or wrong I’m not telling :)
In honor of Presidents Day I thought I’d write about our first president.
I don’t know if George Washington ever slept on Martha’s Vineyard but he certainly slept his way around New Jersey.
He arrived at Ford Mansion in Morristown, NJ in Dec of 1779 and stayed until June of 1780. His troops of 10,000 men were encamped at nearby Jockey Hollow during the harshest winter of the war.
Morristown, New Jersey
This description of the mansion is from Wikipedia:
‘The Ford Mansion has a Georgian style exterior, but the interior kitchen and framing shows evidence of Dutch influence. The mansion was made with palladian window above the door and a stylish cornice. The fancy architecture was not created to look appealing, but to showcase the wealth of the family who owned the building.’
Built between 1772 and 1774 it was the home of Jacob and Theodosia Ford. The following description is from Wikipeida:
‘The headmaster’s section of the house was built with symmetrical rooms on both side of the foyer. The office is across from the library and the parlor is across from the dining room. On the second floor there are symmetrical bedrooms for each side of the hallway. The servant’s section of the house was near the kitchen and the pantry on the east side. The grand hall and the parlor are what categorized the house as a mansion. Unlike most mansions at the time, the Ford Mansion did not use bricks for the exterior, but painted flush board and clapboards.’
Front door of main part of house
Door to servant’s quarters
Fireplace and back of house
Across the road is this statue of George Washington by Frederick Roth (1927-28)
Sometimes it’s fun to play tourist in and around where you live. Morristown in particular is rich in American Revolutionary War history and Morris County is known as The Military Capital of the American Revolution.
It’s been snowy, rainy, icy, grey, cold, snowy, sleety just icky a lot lately… so why go visiting then? Well for one thing we’re not leaving the comfort of our homes or even our keyboards.
We’re going to visit my other blog …
That’s only 8 of the many categories you can visit if you choose to come on over and spend awhile at ‘Through Jersey Eyes’.
Just CLICK HERE walk right in and make yourself comfy.
Desk calendar …
Among The Flowers flowers – house – Flying Horses