From the Vineyard Gazette edition of May 9, 1905:

The Heart of West Tisbury by Haig Adadourian:

By the heart of West Tisbury I do not mean the geographical center of the little town, but the starting-point or points of its social, intellectual, educational, moral and spiritual forces. If you start from the beautiful residence of Squire and Mrs. Everett Allen Davis on the state macadamized road, which is the Main Street of the town, past the Parsonage and the delightful old Whiting manse, past “Brandy brow” and S.M. Mayhew & Co.’s store, the graceful old church with its steeple and town clock will confront you. The long and honorable career of this historic Congregational church, dating back to the year 1673, will at once appeal to you and you will feel like standing bare-headed before this sacred edifice, which stands for righteousness, purity, morality, law and order. On the same side as the church and only a few yards from it, but separated by a road leading to Chilmark and Gay Head, stands a three-story school house, once the home of the far-famed Dukes County Academy but now the headquarters of West Tisbury’s public schools, where Miss Susan Murdock and Miss Effie Littlefield, two excellent teachers, are training our boys and girls and imparting to them the rudiments of knowledge and a foretaste of higher education.

A step or two beyond the school house is the capacious hall of the Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society — a worthy institution which has for many years past been an educational force in the county and community in agricultural, horticultural, bucolic, culinary and domestic arts. This large hall where, besides the annual agricultural county fair and occasional agricultural lectures, are held the social functions of a public nature and the social gatherings of the various organizations of the church. Its commodious stage of fine curtains, also its large piano, render the hall a desirable place for any social occasion.

Returning from the hall and leaving the village smithy just behind you, you come to the street dividing the church from the school house. Past the residence of Mr. and Mrs. Eben Raymond, which was once the home of M.C. Mitchell’s school for boys, you will find yourself before a cozy little building, right above the door of which you will see a large-sized gilt sign — PUBLIC LIBRARY. The library is within a stone’s throw of the church, the school house and the agricultural hall. There is an inviting air about this little temple of books, and you are irresistibly drawn towards it. The time is a Saturday afternoon. You go in, not because others are doing so, but because you feel like doing so irrespective of others. The first thing that meets your eye is a large lithograph picture of President Roosevelt, in front of which is a sizable mounted eagle almost ready to fly. On the wall is a handsome clock and right above the door is the head of a fine-looking caribou.

Before the official desk is sitting a cheerful-looking, bright-eyed and intelligent-faced young lady ready to serve you if you want to take out books. At the center of this cozy little library is a table laden with some choice periodicals and books of reference. Around the table and on the settees are seen several light-hearted young men and young women reading or talking sotto voice — in an undertone — or waiting for their turn to take out books. It is winter outside, but the large heater near the entrance and the high pile of seasoned oak are equal to the occasion, to say nothing of the glow in the hearts of the inmates of the room, and once within the four walls of the library, goodbye winter, adieu bleak winds, and soon you will feel the sweet homeyness and the genial, warm atmosphere of the place. You examine the shelves of the library stocked with public documents and fictional and referential literature.

Your inspection is over and you retrace your steps toward the door, when your eyes catch a printed sign near the entrance. It reads thus: “The Martha’s Vineyard Historical Society room in the public library building at West Tisbury is open on Tuesday and Saturday afternoons and evenings. Many valuable antique and historical articles on exhibition. Admission 10 cents.” You have perhaps seen many a famous historical, ethnological and art museum. Yet surely there is a room for one more museum in the storehouse of your head, which compels you to go and see this one also. You push the door open, go up one flight, pay your dime and commence to examine the antique contents of the room. A casual glance around you will convince you that they are well worth your examination.

After thus inspecting the contents of this small but creditable museum and admiring those who established it and blessing them in behalf of the rising and future (yet unborn) generations of Islanders who will be benefitted by this historic collection, you take your departure, feeling sure that you never spent your dime or your time to better advantage anywhere in your travels.

Compiled by Alison Mead