Pasque for Sale

From the Gazette editions of December, 1933:

Pasque Island is for sale. After many years as one of the finest striped bass fishing resorts in the world, and many more years as the beloved summer home of James Crosby Brown, wealthy sportsman, Pasque has been brought to a day of sadness. Mr. Brown died a year or two ago, the depression has been scourging the country, and the incredible idea of one of the gems of the Elizabeth Islands being for sale has come true. Transfers of any of these Islands have been rare. Naushon, largest of the group, has been owned in only three families since its discovery by Bartholomew Gosnold, and hence has been preserved in its original beauty to a degree probably unequalled by any other accessible spots in the nation. Naushon is now owned by the Forbes family which also purchased the second largest island, Nashawena some years after the state of Massachusetts had considered putting a prison colony on it. Pasque lies between Naushon and Nashawena.

During the ownership of Mr. Brown the Island was the scene of countless good times. At times, it is said, when he desired a game of baseball, a team would be made up of his guests and another of the men employed on Pasque. Baseball would reign supreme for a whole day, and the employees would be paid their usual wages just the same. Mr. and Mrs. Richard Norton have been caretakers, living on the Island for fourteen years. Mr. Norton is a native Vineyarder and his wife is a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Edward T. Vincent of Edgartown.

A swimming rabbit has been reported this week. It was being pursued by an energetic hound, and two hunters lay in wait for the animal to break cover. When they saw a creature swimming a wide cove they watched it with interest, failing to identify the animal until it reached the bank and elevated its ears. And when it shook out its wet coat and lipper-ty-lipped into the bushes, they gave a few cheers for the hardihood of the little rabbit, and did not shoot.

That the Vineyard Grove Company has disposed of its entire holdings of real estate in Oak Bluffs, including the commercial bathing beach, the land occupied and leased by the East Chop Beach Association, some 700 undeveloped lots on Vineyard Highlands, and all other buildings, has been definitely established. The purchase, which from a monetary standpoint exceeds by far any other transaction of its kind in the history of the Island, has been made by a group identified with the East Chop Beach Association, with a view to civic betterment and the utter elimination of a half-dozen controversies which have vexed the town of Oak Bluffs for years, to the detriment of development and hindrance of normal increases in taxes. The group which has assumed the responsibility for the purchase is made up of George B. Dowley, Ernest H. Cook, A.E. Vondermuhll, Andrew E. Highlands, and S.C. Luce Jr. The public attitude in the matter may be summed up in the words uttered spontaneously by an Oak Bluffs selectman, Norman L. Pratt: “This is the greatest thing that ever happened for Oak Bluffs and the entire county!”

More money and more work for the Island unemployed is the order of the day. Additional gangs of men started work on new projects today following an order received by local welfare boards. The order advised the boards to disregard all previous limitations of men and money, and to present new and additional projects for civil work. Among the new projects to be submitted in Vineyard Haven are the grading of the schoolhouse lot, building sidewalks and two tennis courts, and work to control starfish and crabs. In Oak Bluffs the principal project to be submitted is one for draining Circuit avenue for its entire length, which involves the employment of fifty men. In Edgartown the new projects constituted a rounding out of the ones already approved, work on the dirt streets in the west part of the town.

The launching of projects on the Vineyard under federal sponsorship is bringing relief from some of the effects of the still potent depression. Relief — that is a word much used these days. But how far will the relief go? Will it be relief for the shopkeepers and businessmen of the Island, the interests which, in normal times, are responsible for most of our employment and, even in abnormal times, do no more than any other single group to keep our communities running? We hope that it will, but everything depends upon the men who receive these emergency funds now being paid out.

We are turning the corner into 1934. Actually the beginning of a new year is not much different from the beginning of a new day or a new hour. The very next moment may be the one which will prove significant, a slow mending of the disordered world.

Compiled by Cynthia Meisner