Sunday, Jan. 25, marks the 108th anniversary of changing the town’s name from Cottage City to Oak Bluffs. The town website says, “Originally incorporated in 1880 as Cottage City, in 1907 the town’s name was changed because of the growth in the year-round population and the changing face of the resort required an acknowledgement the town was not just ‘Cottage City’ anymore.”

In the years before the founding of the Camp Ground in 1835 and development by the Oak Bluffs Land and Wharf Company in 1867, the few records available indicate there were only 150 of us. Our population of 672 persons in 1880 grew to 1,245 by 1915. It must have been foreseeable to town leaders that inevitably people would choose to stay here and expand into today’s 36 some disparate neighborhoods, official and unofficial areas. We became a vibrant town of 4,527 persons and the most popular on the Island. Ironically – semantically speaking — we were more akin to a town in the late 1800s than today, when we’ve become more like a city.

Growth and popularity bring change, perhaps not always wanted but always needed to accommodate one, another or both. In acknowledging change we’re wise to plan for the future and the reinstituted Oak Bluffs planning board seems ready. Coupled with its Downtown Streetscape Master Plan Committee, we have a welcome display of coordination and cooperation rarely seen in a town most would have called contentious not too long ago.

Newly added to this era of positive planning for change, this week Oak Bluffs conservation agent Elizabeth Durkee presented a thorough and comprehensive Open Space Plan to the board of selectmen that over successive years will guide the town in stewardship of our natural resources. The wide-ranging plan, in development since 2012, includes a 100-page Open Space and Recreation Inventory and Needs Analysis, including exhibits that highlight the conditions of about 20 of our 46 (by my count) parks, beaches and open spaces. Mrs. Durkee’s detailed plan “qualifies the town for state funding, names three main goals: address the threat of climate change, reduce nitrogen in salt ponds, and improve parks and recreational activities,” according to Olivia Hull’s story in the Gazette. The story includes the efforts contributing to achieving the goals, suggests ways to fund them and points to recent successes like the public/private restoration of Niantic Park. One day plans like this might be available on the town website. Planning. Another reason to be proud to be from OB, and a thoughtful present on the eve of the anniversary of our name change.

Warm congratulations to the Niantic Park Playground Project for raising $45,090 of the $46,000 needed to add the finishing touches to the upcoming Niantic Park renovation. Last week’s extravaganza at Dreamland contributed $6,600 to the heroic just-about-30-day effort. I love this town!

Saturday, stop by the Oak Bluffs library for a hot cocoa party for kids from 10 a.m. to noon — face painting, mug craft and more children’s activities and all ages are welcome. Also, the library kicks off Fit in ‘15, a yearlong program of mind, body and spiritual fitness from 1 to 2:30 p.m.. See a demonstration, get more information and sign up for a commitment to better health all year. Congratulations to our recent children’s librarian, mom Zoe Pechter Thompson and welcome to Nell Marjorie Thompson born in Oak Bluffs on Jan. 13.

For the sake of posterity, the Vineyard Gazette is looking for old film of the Vineyard. If you have any in any format (8 or 16mm, VHS, DVD, super8), please do not try to see if it works. Contact Tom Dunlop ( who will make arrangements to obtain your film, reproduce it for you digitally and return it safely. View movie clips at – yours should be there too.

Evidenced by the felled trees around the Bradley Memorial Church, it appears more change is coming to the Arts District. There was a lot of attention paid to the Bradley Memorial Church in the past, and efforts to repurpose it seem to have failed. It will be interesting to see what replaces it, absent public announcement thus far.

Congratulations to me: daughter #2 Kristin Finley Brown and husband Timothy delivered our fourth grandchild, Tabitha R. Brown, Wednesday, Jan. 21 — the first of our Finleys born on the Island in 60 years. Get out the tiara . . .

Happy anniversary Oak Bluffs.

Keep your foot on a rock.

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