From the Vineyard Gazette editions of November 1955:
In the 27 years that one Edgartown family has watched Sheriff’s Meadow Pond morning, noon and night, storm and calm, summer and winter, they have never witnessed the phenomenon of a November freeze-up of that two-acre body of water. But that was what happened during the night of Tuesday, Nov. 22, 1955. Every square inch of the Pond was covered with ice, approximately half an inch thick, and the utter calm of the night and morning had turned the surface into a glassy mirror.
Mrs. Grace Pease Ward, who spent her childhood, youth and many of her mature years even closer to the pond and first watched her father, the late Louis H. Pease, harvest the pond, has never seen it frozen in November. In many winters the pond has remained open all winter long, but not this winter. The temperature had been well below freezing on several nights and on the freeze-up night it plunged to 21 degrees in Edgartown.
Scallopers’ prospects are not too rosy, with fewer than average turning out — except in Edgartown. Pickings are hard. Oak Bluffs, where the number has sometimes gone above a hundred, issued 56 commercial licenses. Tisbury issued 63, and there again the record has been more than 120. In Edgartown 95 licenses were issued, which is 7 less than last year. The town has granted as many as 200 licenses.
For the fourth time this season polio has struck in Edgartown, and as in the previous cases, the victim is an adult. This time it is John O’Neil, aged 36, and father of six children. His case was diagnosed last Friday after he had been ill for about a week with a sore throat, fever and other evidences of what could have been an ordinary case of grippe. By Thursday he had a backache, and the next morning signs of paralysis had set in. His physician, Dr. Donald R. Mills, who as it happens has attended all the other cases in the town, rushed him to the hospital for tests which were positive. He was kept in isolation there until he was taken to the Barnstable County Sanatorium the same day. Although he is a paralytic case, he is reported as improving.
Bids are once more being asked on the old Marine Hospital building at Vineyard Haven. The General Services Administration has set Dec. 19 as the date for opening sealed bids at the Federal Building in Boston. In 1954 an offer of $16,000 was submitted by the Union Heights Oil Co., of Boston, and it was rejected. Again bids were asked and the figure of $7,762 by William A. Colby of Vineyard Haven was the highest. This also has been rejected. The town of Tisbury learned that it could obtain the building for educational or health purposes for a dollar, but investigation indicated its unsuitability as a school, even with extensive alterations, and the town has not taken action in respect to any other use. Officials of the federal government have said that no bid of less than $36,000 will be acceptable for sale to private interests.
The Steamship Authority voted 3-2 for the winter closing of New Bedford effective Nov. 14, at a meeting held at the Shawmut National Bank in Boston on Monday afternoon, opening the way for modernization of water transportation for the two islands. The closing will continue until April 28. The New Bedford winter closing had been long sought both by the Vineyard and Nantucket. A case was fought through to a decision of the state supreme court upholding the right of the Authority to close New Bedford for as long as from September to April. When a vote to close New Bedford was taken in December, 1953, Governor Herter intervened and the vote was rescinded. In 1954 the Authority again voted to close New Bedford, but a switch by James E. Lowey, then the Falmouth member, again reversed the decision. This week there appeared to be no prospect of another defeat and disappointment for the islands.
A Vineyard tragedy of 1935 was brought into court again as Harold C. Look, now 73 years old, went to trial in Fall River on Tuesday on a charge of the murder of 43-year-old Knight B. Owen, grandson of Capt. Leander C. Owen of Vineyard Haven, one of the noted sea captains of his day. In January 1935, Look was adjudged mentally incompetent, on the testimony of state alienists, and was ordered committed to the State Hospital for the Criminally Insane at Bridgewater, for life. Last August, Look was pronounced sane and was released from the Bridgewater hospital with the concurrence of the state Department of Mental Health. Since that time he has been held for trial on the 1935 indictment. District Attorney Maurice M. Lyons told the Gazette that he would have in mind the welfare of Look himself, as well as other factors in conducting the case.
Compiled by Alison Mead