In a moment of reflection, credit is due for our storied town of Oak Bluffs. What is today’s Cottage City Historic District was sold by Robert Seaton, an original person who placed his “X” on the deed he sold to Samuel Norton for 10 pounds in January 1790. His descendant, Shubael Lyman Norton, was one of Edgartown’s esteemed whaling captains, who in June 1870, sold the land for $1,613.40 to the six partners of the Oak Bluffs Land and Wharf Company — one of whom was himself. Henry Beetle Hough called him the “father of Oak Bluffs.” The investment of $300,000 wasn’t as successful as planned, and although they wound up selling most of the assets for $32,000 in 1885, their contribution to our town with an assessed value today of about $2.4 billion dollars is remarkable. That notwithstanding, peculiarly enough it was the nonsecular community of Oak Bluffs, our Camp Ground, that drew the Oak Bluffs Land and Wharf Company and everyone else here in the first place. The man most closely associated with finding the place was Jeremiah Pease, and in 1835 he did just that: of Martha’s Vineyard Island’s 110 square miles and the 8.5 square miles encompassing Oak Bluffs, Pease was the one to select the place for pilgrims to pray in a welcoming climate, amidst a forest of oak. Thank you, sir.
Tomorrow and Sunday the Island Community Chorus performs a concert at the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School featuring Mendelssohn’s oratorio, St. Paul, with a chorus and orchestra directed by Peter Boak and accompanied by Garrett Brown. The suggested contribution is $15 and the show starts at 7:30 p.m. both evenings.
Monday, Sen. Dan Wolf will be entertaining constituents at Martha’s Vineyard Chowder Company from 5 to 7 p.m., if you’d like to stop by.
Save the date, Saturday, April 12, for the Martha’s Vineyard Community Services’ electronic disposal day. If it plugs in, is battery-powered and doesn’t work, get it ready to go this weekend and drop it off next weekend across from the regional high school.
Next Saturday evening, April 12, the Portuguese-American Club is hosting a fundraising dinner with music and a silent auction for Lena Araujo Vanderhoop to assist with recent medical costs. Tickets are $15 and if you’d like to contribute more or find ways to help, contact Trish Moreis-Stiles at firstname.lastname@example.org or 703-451-2812.
Town meeting is Tuesday. As mentioned last December, the Oak Bluffs School’s cost of $12.9 million then, would cost $18.5 million today. Articles on Tuesday’s warrant include construction of a new town hall and public safety building. Town hall is apparently too broken to fix and the trailer adjacent to the fire station proves it has surpassed capacity. It seems an easy conclusion to draw that the question is not if, but when, replacements are needed. In a way, accepting the burden to build the elementary school when we did saved the town $6 million. I hope we invest our way to success Tuesday once again.
I had a nice call from Craig Dripps, president of the East Chop Association — which, as it turns out, is a public charitable group looking out for the welfare of East Chop that has nothing to do with the privately owned East Chop Beach Club. Craig wants everyone to know the association should not be confused with the beach club. His interest is in the creative solution to restore East Chop Drive by gifting it to the town, and he wants us to vote for that at town meeting — and I will, now that it’s clear not voting for Article 27 won’t help make that beach available to the town. Article 27 needs a two-thirds vote, and standing up for it helps Oak Bluffs remain the only Island town one can drive with a water view from end to end. I think I’ll honk my horn every time I drive by the beach club in a less-than-silent protest — and I hope you will too.
Roger and Jennifer Schilling’s C’est La Vie opens for the season today. It’s great to see their gift shop side by side with Renee and John Molinari’s new Beetlebung coffee lounge (opening in May), both family-owned and operated businesses. A warm welcome to the Molinari family, who with the Schillings, we hope will enjoy the same longevity of the Phillipps, Reliable Markets Pacheco family, the DaRosa’s, and the Iacoviello/Tuccelli family, owners of Mary’s Linen on Circuit avenue.
Happy birthday tomorrow to East Chop’s Walter Vail, chairman of our board of selectmen.
Keep your foot on a rock.