From the July 29, 1966 edition of the Vineyard Gazette: A succession of northerly days, two or three at a time; the stalks of sky blue chicory along our informal lanes, the butterfly bush in bright orange fullness, the fresh scent of sweet pepperbush, and an outward bound human tide: by these signs one must know that July has joined its sun-bright lineage in the past and August is coming on. The July vacationers are going — here come the August vacationers, and may their luck in weather and enjoyment be fine!

The crossroads of summer is here, the intersection of the vacation courses of destiny. The exchange of the outgoing and incoming is by no means as marked as it used to be, for the daily in and out tours of excursionists tend to obscure the grander pattern. And no more do we have the drays or trucks heaped with trunks and other baggage, or the press at a baggage room on Oak Bluffs wharf. Indeed, the baggage room exists no longer, and the checking of trunks would be an esoteric mystery to rising generations.

Oak Bluffs wharf, appointed once again to become a thoroughfare of arrival and embarkation — even more than in the past, since ferries will have a slip there — basks in sunlight and idleness. What goes on there is hardly perceptible to the eye of the casual passerby. Not here in 1966 will the July and August tides meet the pass, though vacationers and others with long memories may recall what has been and imagine what is to come.

At Vineyard Haven the tryst must be fulfilled, and in the next few days that port will be the end of uncounted vacations and the beginning of uncounted others. Welcome August, farewell July.


Before the days of fishing boats with engines and wells, Vineyard fishermen used what were called “tow cars” — dory shaped cars, well perforated, which were towed behind the Noman’s Land and other fishing boats. These cars were so shaped as to offer as little water resistance as possible, and they floated with decks awash.

No matter how long the slow fishing boats might be out for a day’s fishing, the floating car would keep the catch alive. The tow car could also be used on the trip to market fish.

The tow car owned by George A. Rogers of North Tisbury, who fished off Noman’s for twenty-five autumns or more, and much longer from the north shore of the Vineyard, has been presented to the Dukes County Historical Society by Henry B. Hough, past president and historian of the society.

It may well be that this ancient object is the last of the tow cars of the nineteenth century.


Dr. Daniel Fisher of Edgartown, one of the tycoons of the whaling era, owned a mill in North Tisbury. His six-horse wagons used a road across the Great Plain to take flour from the mill to Edgartown, where it was made into hardtack for the whaleship trade.

Later the mill was bought by Rodolphus Crocker. Within the memory of some Vineyarders, it was still used for grinding grain. Some of the old machinery may be seen today. At present the mill is owned by the Seven Gates Farm Corporation.

On the State Road near the ford is the home of Mr. and Mrs. Giles Anderson. This was once the property of Simon Athearn, one of the first settlers. Here, also, a mill was in operation before 1792. Various members of the Athearn family owned it until it passed to Davis Look.

In 1922 the place was bought by Godfrey Priester. Mr. Priester installed a fine organ, said to have come from the Black Forest region of Germany. He used to give concerts, inviting all of North Tisbury. People sat on benches on the lawn to listen.


The new community organization in Gay Head seems to be well grounded and gaining an excellent start. A general meeting in July is to be followed by a general meeting in August, and meantime committees are at work, with a pooling of interests which are really mutual between all year and summer residents. As a matter of fact, there has always seemed to be a close attachment at Gay Head between those who live there year round and those who come to summer.

In part this is because Gay Head is both town and neighborhood with relationships such as once existed also in down-Island towns when they were smaller, life was simpler, and pursuits of summer were pretty much shared. And in part this is because Gay Head, after more than three thousand years, remains as unique as it was when Gosnold christened the headland Dover Cliffs in 1602.

No one is in any doubt as to the value of Gay Head to the whole Island because of its scenic marvels and Indian community, and the new community organization should have help wherever help may be asked. The aims make it clear that this is basically another effort in conservation, and an important one. Since conservation is indivisible, one thinks of all sorts of things that may be accomplished either as an outgrowth of this initial venture or of parallel efforts that may come later. Nowhere can any measure of conservation justify itself any more completely than at Gay Head.

Compiled by Hilary Wall