One of the most alluring names of Martha’s Vineyard is that of Lake Tashmoo. Islanders and visitors alike enjoy the feeling of Tashmoo on their tongues - it has euphony and dignity and is like no other usual word. The lake itself, which might be called a great pond like other bodies of fresh water on the Vineyard but for its beauty and the beauty of its setting, is situated in the township of Tisbury near Vineyard Sound.
The Indian name was longer; it may be spelled Kuttashimmoo, and perhaps it meant “here there is a great spring of water”; or perhaps it meant, “at this place the heart is lifted up”. In either case the expression was appropriate to Tashmoo, a glimmering blue symbol of what lakes should be.
In earlier years, oddly enough, what is now Tashmoo was sometimes called Chappaquansett Pond. That would be all right, too, in a way. A former mayor of the city of Detroit, John Pridgeon, who visited the Vineyard had built a summer home at Eastville, was fond of Tashmoo and transplanted the name to Michigan. Through his interest, an island on the St. Clair River was named Tashmoo, and a white excursion boat which plied back and forth on the Detroit and St. Clair River was likewise christened Tashmoo. The steamer finally sank in 1936.

Farm Dates Far Back

The farm overlooking Tashmoo lake on the Vineyard dates far, far back into Island history; the farmhouse itself was built by Samuel Look in 1769 and remains essentially as it was in his day.
As early as 1856, there were plans for the bringing of Tashmoo spring water from the head of the pond to the houses of Holmes Hole - now Vineyard Haven - for drinking and home use. No concrete steps were taken, however, until many years later when a land development had been undertaken at West Chop.
It seemed to O. G. Stanley, an engineer who was vacationing at Vineyard Haven, that a lack of water was the principal drawback to the success of West Chop colonization. Mr. Stanley had recently installed a water system at Canyon City, Col. He attempted to interest the Boston capitalists as well. But the financial panic of 1873 caused delay.
Eventually investors raised some $30,000, and a new company was named, with grand inclusiveness, West Chop Land and Water Co. A pumping station was built near the head of Tashmoo, and mains led to a new standpipe which stood across the road from the present location of the Vineyard Haven school.
In December, 1887, a grand celebration was held to commemorate the completion of the first public water supply system on Martha’s Vineyard. Streams from a hydrant were thrown high in the air, and at a jubilation banquet which followed, a gold watch and chain were presented to Mr. Stanley. The pure water of Tashmoo was harnessed and served up for the advantage of Vineyard Haven, and so it is today.