From the Vineyard Gazette editions of June 1932:

Dropping the Hedge Fence lightship and the substitution of a buoy, and the removal of the keeper at Cape Pogue Light, making this an automatic light station without a tender, are two of the measures being considered by the United States Bureau of Lighthouses. The changes would be made in the interest of the economy, under pressure from the government’s retrenchment program. At Cape Pogue Light there would be an automatic flash, similar to the blinking buoys, but there would be no keeper present to set signals, sound fog warnings, and handle the emergencies of bad weather. In past years, Cape Pogue was a two-man station. It is a vital light to the fishing fleet, and also for the steamboat line which depends upon it. Hedge Fence is the lightship most familiar to summer residents, since it is most easily seen from Oak Bluffs and from the down-Island roads and vantage points. It is one of a series of light vessels designed to guide vessels across the shoals.

The call of the times is so urgently in favor of retrenchment that one hesitates to raise a voice in opposition to any part of a program of curtailment. Yet the lighthouse service is so vital to all mariners that other considerations than economy should prevail. The business of lightships and lighthouses is to safeguard the lives and property of all who go to sea, for travel, for commerce, for fishing. This is no new activity of the government, no mushroom growth springing up since the days of lush prosperity. It is an old established, invaluable part of a duty and a service which only government can perform. Some of the lighthouses in the district date back to 1716. For many generations these torches of the coast have performed their purpose, saving and safeguarding all traffic by sea. Once the keeper is removed from the Cape Pogue Lighthouse, the brain of the station is gone and no device of science can fill the same role or keep the same vigil. As for changing Hedge Fence to a buoy, the way across the shoals is a difficult dangerous way. To save dollars is good, especially in this crisis, but to save lives is better, and we hope Cape Pogue and Hedge Fence will continue as they have been these many years.

Three members of the crew of the Merchants and Miners steamship Grecian were landed at Vineyard Haven on Friday afternoon by the patrol boat CG-280. One was suffering with a fractured arm, another with fractured ribs and the third, a fractured chest, barely conscious. The Grecian was sunk in a collision with the Savannah liner City of Chattanooga, five miles south of Block Island, about 3 o’clock Friday morning. The survivors told of a dense fog, through which the ship was sailing, and of the suddenness with which each came within sight of the other, too late to avoid a collision. The towering bow of the great passenger liner crashed into the side of the freighter, inflicting fatal damage through which the sea poured.

Capt. C.P. Borum of the City of Chattanooga, called for extra steam and, holding the bow of his ship in the gaping hole in the Grecian’s side, actually held up the stricken freighter until 24 men, including Capt. H.C. Callis, had climbed over the bow to the liner’s deck and safety. By that time the Grecian had settled so low that she menaced the safety of the Chattanooga, and the latter backing clear, the freighter sank almost immediately. While the tragedy was occurring, the Coast Guard cutter Upsure, lying at anchor twelve miles away, picked up the S.O.S call, and rushed to the scene. The cutter stood by searching for four others of the crew who were missing. Two were found, while the other two were believed to have drowned.

An alleged rum runner, his left arm shattered and lacerated by machine gun bullets, was landed at Vineyard Haven early Thursday morning by coast guard boats and taken to the U.S. Marine Hospital. The man was identified by coastguardsmen as Sammy Smith of Philadelphia, a notorious smuggler who is said to have been operating off the coast for fifteen years. The wounded man was arraigned in the hospital and formally released under bond. While the arraignment was taking place in the hospital, the New Bedford speedboat Hobo arrived at Vineyard Haven, and immediately after the man’s release he was taken aboard the boat and to New Bedford where he was entered in St. Luke’s Hospital. Smith, according to the Coast Guard, was engineer on the powerful speedboat Auf Wiederachen of New Bedford. This boat was raised off Cuttyhunk early yesterday morning by the coast guard patrol. As she was running without lights, she was hailed but refused to stop. A burst of machine gun fire sprayed her decks, wounding Smith, and the speedboat hove to. It was then found she carried 350 cases of liquor. The boat and the uninjured members of the crew were taken to Woods Hole.

Compiled by Alison Mead